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Talk Talk have announced some price increases this summer, so I’ve started looking for a new, cheaper deal. But it turns out I’m really going to struggle to pay less than I have this year.

I switched from Sky to Talk Talk last July. My deal isn’t too bad. Over the year it averages out as £22.25 a month for line rental, fibre broadband and the basic Freeview plus. That’s a better price than I was offered by Sky when I left them, and cheaper still than Virgin, BT and the others when I was shopping around.

But when you add in the cashback, vouchers and bill credit I’ve received, it works out that I’m actually £11.32 better off after 12 months.

I’ve used deals and freebies to pay the same amount for a year of NOW TV, so that’s a year of phone, TV and internet for free! Plus I’ve got a free £200 Freeview Plus box.

I can’t promise you’ll be able to do the same – in fact I hope you don’t as the bill credit for poor service was a nightmare to get – but if you follow these steps you’ll almost certainly be able to make a saving.

1. I shopped around for the best price

It’s pretty easy to see what deals are out there. I used Broadband Choices to compare the different companies and get an idea of the best rates.

If there’s a discount, make sure you know when the full price kicks in and calculate the total price you’d pay over the contract.

2. I chose NOW TV over a premium TV package

I love Game of Thrones and a lot of the shows on Sky Atlantic, so that was a priority. It’s only available through Sky or their catch up service NOW TV. Luckily the latter is a hell of a lot cheaper with no minimum contract and plenty of cut price passes.

Though you can’t record shows with NOW TV, it’s so easy to use iPlayer and other catch up services that you don’t really miss Sky+. However I knew I’d be able to get a similar Freeview + box with Talk Talk and still spend less than staying with Sky.

This easily halved the monthly price to just £5 for all the TV.

3. I looked for extra offers

Talk Talk, Sky and BT all offer vouchers or freebies most of the year. If you’re looking and they aren’t offering, I’d wait a few weeks. They can be as high as £125!

When I signed up, Talk Talk offered £75 in Love2Shop vouchers on top of their pricing promotions, bringing the price down further.

4. I checked for cashback

I’m a big fan of Topcashback and QuidcoIt’s always worth seeing what cashback you can earn, especially on these big contracts. Though other companies offered more than Talk Talk’s £50, it was valid with the £75 vouchers, meaning I’d be up £125.

I then called Sky to see if they could match or beat my top quote with all the offers factored in. They couldn’t so I switched via Topcashback to Talk Talk!

5. I paid upfront for my line rental

If you can afford it, you’ll pay less if you pay for 12 months of line rental in one go. This cut my annual cost by £50, though price changes mean it’ll be less now.

I also got a discount for paying by direct debit.

6. I complained about poor service

Unfortunately the TV package was poor. We couldn’t receive some boost channels we paid for and iPlayer wouldn’t work. However it took hours and hours of phone calls and live chats, plus a visit from an engineer for Talk Talk to finally agree with me that it didn’t work.

Obviously I wasn’t going to pay for a service I didn’t use, and the customer service had been very poor, so I managed to get credit for both. This was worth a total of £62.

7. I got more cashback for adding to my package

We’d been on normal broadband for the first few months. Then I saw an offer for existing customers to upgrade to high-speed fibre internet for £5 a month for 12 months, and £10 a month for the next six. On top of that I was eligible for another £105 of cashback!

That meant over 18 months I would have souped up my speed for just 83p a month! Possibly one of my best bargains ever!

8. I’m getting out of my contract early

After the initial problems with the TV and customer service, it’s all been ok. But as soon as I saw that Talk Talk were increasing some prices on June 1st, I knew there was a chance I’d be able to leave my contract early and start the process again.

Sky has price rises built into their contract, but Talk Talk don’t. As long as I give a month’s notice after I receive the letter telling me of the increase, I’m free to go!

I’ll get to keep my Freeview + box, meaning my next deal doesn’t even need to include a TV part. I doubt I’ll get a fibre deal as cheap as I have now but I’ll certainly save more overall than I will by staying in contract for the next nine months.

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