According to Liechtman Research Group the average cable bill is $99.10. That’s a whopping $1,200/year so it’s no wonder you might be looking for ways to save money on your cable bill.
After getting tired of spending $125/month on cable TV ($1,500 per year) we had enough and got rid of it. Before we cut the cord, we made sure to have some options so we could watch some TV but at a fraction of the cost.
Why get rid of cable?
Getting your favorite shows without the massive cable bill – a.k.a. cord cutting – is extremely popular. The reason is due to the many options available for watching shows online. Chances are you can find ways to watch what you want without paying a premium for cable TV.
We currently subscribe to two services (Amazon Prime and Netflix) which cost us $18 per month, plus our Internet which is $40 per month. That’s a savings of $750 per year!
You might have access to 500 channels. But how many do you watch? How many shows do you care about watching as soon as the shows come out?
If you’re trying to get out of debt, save more, or are just sick of paying outrageous cable bills, it’s easier than ever to fire the cable company. Most people enjoy the savings more than they miss a few TV shows.
1. Watch the major networks online for free
Most networks include streaming directly from their websites of current episodes. You will have to sit through the commercials just like with cable.
CBS All Access is $6 per month and will be the only way to watch the new Star Trek series.
2. YouTube/Vimeo (free)
Documentaries? Concerts? Educational programs? Besides dancing bears and crazy car chases, YouTube has a lot of longer content to entertain and educate.
Scott’s pick: Metal guitar lessons
Katie’s pick: Sargon of Akkad
3. Check out DVDs from the library (free)
The library is a great place to not only get books but audio books and DVDs. Many libraries have a lending program where if you can’t find what you’re looking for you can have it transferred from a different branch (as long as they are in the same network/community).
When we first got married I would drive my scooter to the library and check out DVDs. We didn’t have cable. Katie was going to school at night, and we didn’t watch much TV back then.
4. Hulu ($8 per month)
Hulu offers hundreds of thousands of hours of the best of current season programming, premium original content, films and full seasons of hit series to subscribers with limited commercials for $7.99 per month or commercial free for $11.99 per month.
Scott’s pick: Seinfeld
Katie’s pick: Project Runway
5. Amazon Prime ($99 per year)
Amazon Prime started out as a way to get free 2-day shipping. Now it’s grown into a business that includes, streaming movies, shows, and music.
If you can’t find what you want to watch for free, a little patience will pay off (Ok, a lot of patience). New seasons of current T.V. programming will often cost $20-$30 to watch. But if you wait for 12-months they get added to Amazon Prime for free.
My tip is to wait until a popular series has finished its final episode and binge watch all 2,3, or 7 seasons in a couple of weeks.
Scott’s pick: Sons of Anarchy
Katie’s pick: The Originals
6. Netflix ($8 per month)
If you can’t find something on Amazon Prime, often you can find it on Netflix.
Netflix doesn’t have any commercials. Most devices you have in your house (blue-ray players, gaming consoles, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome Stick) probably have the Netflix app pre-loaded.
Scott’s pick: Star Trek TNG
Katie’s pick: The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Guaranteed to calm you down and put you in a happy place.
7. Redbox ($2 per movie)
Redbox is available at any WalMart, CVS, Walgreens, and many other places as outdoor vending machines. For $2 you can watch recent movies.
8. Sling TV ($20 per month)
Sling TV is the next best thing to cable TV without the price. Stream your favorite live shows, sports, news and hit movies instantly on ESPN, AMC, CNN, HGTV, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, History, Disney and more.
If sports are important to you or your significant other, Sling Blue for $25 month includes local sports as well.
9. Get an HD antenna
Your one worry of canceling cable may be not being able to watch your favorite sports teams live. Enter the HD antenna which will pick up local stations. You’ll even be able to watch the local news, soap operas in the afternoon, and Wheel of Fortune.
HD antennas have come a long way since they being introduced. Some are powered to provide an additional boost to incoming signals.
We have one mounted on our wall, and it picks up the local stations (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox) just fine. We also get about thirty other random stations that have older programming, movies, shopping channels – the list goes on.
Don’t expect to get any of the common network shows you’ll find on cable, though. You won’t find Food Network or HGTV on the antenna.
What about recording?
HD antennas can be plugged into a TiVo box. You can also get full DVR scheduling and recording on all available over-the-air channels from AntennaWeb.org.
10. HBO NOW ($15 per month)
HBO NOW lets you stream all of HBO’s programming instantly with unlimited access for their popular programs as well as movies.
Sling TV also comes with an option to add HBO programming for an additional $15 per month.
Katie tried out this service when she had hip surgery and needed to watch the current episodes of Tru Blood. Hey, when you’re under doctor’s orders to not walk, T.V. is a good way spend the day.
Scott’s pick: Whatever Katie is watching.
Katies pick: Tru Blood
Not quite ready to commit?
If you still aren’t ready to give up cable, call up your current provider and ask for a lower rate. Tell them you’re thinking of canceling because you’re looking to save money. Once you get transferred to the customer retention department, you’ll be able to get a deal.
When you have decided now is the time – add up the cost of the streaming services and the monthly Internet charges to make sure you aren’t paying more than your current cable bill.
Have you cut the cord yet? What’s your monthly bill for watching T.V.?