Ready to cut the cable cord? Or are you a little afraid that you will regret the decision once you do? If so, here are a few ways to save money on cable without feeling like you’re missing out.
First Thing First: Let’s Save Money On Cable
Realistically, not everyone is willing or ready to get rid of cable. That’s fine. Some of you will never cancel your cable subscription, the rest of you will do so eventually. Until then, let’s try to save a few dollars with your current cable plan.
You can save money on cable if you call to your cable provider to inquire about any specials they’re currently running. Let them know you are considering making a change to your plan or your provider.
If you’re a good customer, the representative may work a little harder to keep you if they think you’re about the jump ship. Companies know it’s cheaper to keep a current customer than attracting a new one.
If that doesn’t work, you might want to compare prices with other companies in your area. As long as you don’t have a contract, you can switch.
We switched from one service to another because their bundle was less than what we paid for cable by itself.
Before you cut the cord, consider deleting services you don’t really need (such as the DVR service or 400+ channels you’re not going to watch anyway). You can probably cut off $50 by dropping premium channels and signing up for basic cable.
If you are adamant that you don’t need cable and believe you’re ready to cut the cord, here are a few options that allow you to make the transition as painless as possible.
Cut the Cable Cord
1. Buy a Digital Antenna
To be honest with you, I know very few people who never watch tv. There are people who watch limited television, but going without access to shows such as the local news can be very difficult for quite a few.
A digital antenna allows you to view channels over the air, where every major network broadcasts. Besides the initial investment of the antenna and possibly an amplifier, watching television is free.
- Free after initial investment
- Access to local channels
- Opportunity to see shows not otherwise television
- There are channels and subchannels (which means more shows for free)
- HD Reception can be stellar at times
- Great for a back-up if satellite or cable goes out
- Not all channels available in your area
- Reception can be blocked by trees and buildings
- Upfront investment may be a little costly if you have to purchase an amplifier or install an outdoor antenna to get reception
Recommended: Mohu Leaf 50 TV Antenna
2. Stream Your Favorite Shows
Though it is possible to connect your computer to your tv to watch your shows, you may prefer to watch it on your television (and for that you will need to purchase a streaming device).
Many networks allow you to watch their shows for free on their website or provide them as a free app on your phone or streaming device.
You can also watch your favorite cable shows for free if you have a generous friend or family member who allow you to use their password, but don’t count on it. It’s simpler (and less lame) to subscribe to a streaming service yourself.
Low- Cost Streaming Services
Most streaming services will cost you a few dollars each month, but subscribing to one or more allow you to have better control over your bill.
There are a lot of good options out there for you to choose from, but the major players in the game are Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and Netflix.
1. Amazon Prime Instant Video – Cost $99/year for Prime Membership
Amazon Prime Instant Video is a great option if you’re already a Prime member (if not, sign up for a year’s membership here). There are plenty of movies and television shows available for free with your membership.
The one downfall is that you may not have immediate access to your current shows. If you want to watch an entire season of your favorite shows, you can purchase a Season TV Pass which gives you access to an episode, usually, the day after the network airs it.
(Tip: Pay for season tv passes with Amazon gift cards you earn from Swagbucks).
2. Hulu Plus – Cost $8+/Month
Hulu is a streaming service that is a good choice for those of you who do not want to miss your favorite shows from major networks such as CBS, NBC, and ABC. Most episodes are available a day after it’s aired.
The cost for a Hulu membership varies depending on if you choose the option of limited commercials. To sign up for Hulu Plus click here.
3. Netflix – Cost $9+/Month
If you like to binge watch your television shows and movies, then Netflix is probably the best option for you. Netflix boasts a larger collection of movies than any other service, which is a no-brainer if you prefer to watch movies and don’t need to watch network shows the day after they air.
The cost of a Netflix membership depends on the package you opt for as well as the number of devices you add. As of today, you can still add a DVD plan which may be necessary if the titles you want aren’t available to stream.
Pros and Cons of Streaming
- Cheaper than cable
- Wide variety of shows available on demand
- Can stream shows and movies from anywhere you have an internet access and streaming device
- Most streaming providers produce their own shows which are usually of high quality, (Can you say, “Orange is the New Black”?)
- Upfront cost of streaming device if you want to watch it on your television
- May need to subscribe to more than one service to meet your viewing needs
- You may have to wait a day after an episode is aired (or longer) in order to stream it
Which Streaming Services Should You Subscribe To?
The streaming service you subscribe to will depend on your viewing desire. Some prefer their favorite shows, whereas others enjoy watching full movies. Just be careful not to subscribe to too many services, because it would just defeat the purpose of not paying for cable.
In my opinion, you could subscribe to most of the streaming services and still pay less than you would have if you had a subscription to cable. In fact, many of the streaming devices on the market have apps or networks that are free for you to watch.
Recommended: Roku Ultra Streaming Media Player, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast
No matter if you decide to drop some of your premium channels or cut the cord, you can still save money on cable without feeling left out.
Some Tools You Could Use
Self Lender – If you’re looking to get your credit right, check out Self Lender. This is a great way to improve your credit score and save money as well. If you have no (or not-so-good) credit and want to increase your score, join Self Lender. They report to all credit reporting agencies and you’ll have money at the end of 12 months. Don’t know your score? Join Self Lender today.
Simple – Bank online and get a debit card with no fees. This is great for people who don’t like traditional checking accounts or need separate places to save for the holidays or an upcoming vacation. Sign up for your free Simple account.
Credible – If you have student loans you may want to consider refinancing them to make them more manageable. Check out Credible to see if they offer options for your situation.
Ebates – If you shop online, why not get cash back on your purchases? You can earn money from doing something you were going to do anyways. Sign up with Ebates for free and earn $10.
Swagbucks – One of my favorite companies to earn additional money each month. You can earn Swagbucks by completing surveys, watching tv, shopping and much more to convert to gift cards to use as you please. Get $5 for signing up for a free account with Swagbucks.
American Consumer Opinion – Earn money with surveys with American Consumer Opinion. One of my favorite companies which are reputable and fun to complete. Sign up with American Consumer Opinion for free here.
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