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Buy this, not that!

The little fee from your cable company that adds up

Cable bills are the one monthly cost that continues to drive people crazy with high prices. We've previously gone over how to trim some fat from your bill but there is one section we'd like to call out even more: your cable modem fee. That seemingly small fee can add up, and for some cable customers, it's shooting up even higher.

Just a little less than a year ago, Time Warner Cable began charging their customers a rental fee for their cable modem. The charge was only $3.95, which seems cheap compared to Comcast's cable rental fee of $7. But on July 29th Reuters reported that Time Warner Cable will start charging customers $5.99 a month on their next billing cycle.

These numbers may not seem very large, add them up over the course of 12 months or more, and you can see just how much money you spend on something you could just outright own. If you consider what Time Warner Cable and Comcast charge for modems per month, it really adds up over time.

Compare this to what it would cost to buy what Wirecutter considers the best cable modem you can own (Motorola SB6141, $90) , and it's clear you will recoup those costs in just over a year. It's understandable to question the longevity of an electronic device, and ten years is pretty long for one, but even if you needed to buy three modems over that time frame you still come out ahead.

If you decide to go out and purchase a modem of your own make sure you check with your cable provider to find out which modems you can use. Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox provide online resources for identifying which modems can work.

Photo: Paul Boxley