From catching the big game to watching the jaw-dropping season finale of your favorite show, you may rely on your TV cable service to stay caught up on everything that’s happening
But with the ever increasing prices, confusing packages and the irrelevance of cable, you may be considering making a change – a change that can save you thousands of dollars a year.
Yes, it is actually possible.
Many people have made this realization and acted on it. Which is no surprise when cable TV often costs more than $100 per month – that’s $1200 a year spent just on the opportunity to watch your favorite shows when they’re airing.
Jennifer Carno from Boardwalk Savers mentions that that price tag of between $100-200 per month is just for the introductory price. After they sweeten you with a deal, you’ll face higher prices later on for the same service.
That’s quite the price to pay for staying up to date on all your entertainment.
But some consumers have said goodbye to cable and are still enjoying their favorite entertainment. In fact, according to an article by Todd Spangler from Variety, in 2017, about 22.2 million U.S. adults cut their cable, satellite or telco TV service. This loss of cable also points to fewer people joining in on cable. Spangler notes in his article that by 2021, the number of U.S. adults with traditional pay TV will decrease 10% from 2016.
It seems that data has continued to show that consumers are looking for other alternatives to pricey cable bundles. As a result, the popularity of streaming services as another option to cable has grown immensely by both previous cable users and new consumers.
Here, we walk through how you can get rid of cable and end up saving thousands of dollars a year – all without sacrificing your favorite things to watch.
Is cutting cable right for me?
Before you call up your cable provider and cancel your longtime subscription, there are a few things to consider before deciding that cutting cable is actually going to end up saving you money based on your lifestyle. If you act too soon without looking at all the factors, you could be faced with additional fees in restarting your cable subscription should you change your mind.
Your first step in deciding if the cord cutting process is right for you is to find out exactly how much you’re spending on your television entertainment per month. Stacy Fisher in an article from The Balance notes that knowing exactly how much you’re currently spending will help you in comparing costs when selecting the right service for you.
Also while glancing at your monthly statement in finding your costs, you might want to look into other bundle options that can save you money and keep your current subscription plan.
Another thing Fisher notes in her article is the importance of trusting your Internet speed to handle any additional streaming services you may opt into in your separation from cable. If your current Internet speed can’t handle an increase in streaming times, it may be worth considering looking into a different Internet provider or just staying with cable.
If you’ve reviewed your options and are confident in your decision, it’s time to break up with your cable service and discover the variety of streaming services that can start saving you money.
Your Guide to Cutting Cable
To be an effective cable-cord-cutter, you’ll need to do a little bit of work. But the payoff is certainly worth the effort. Here, we share key things you should know about cutting cable and saving money.
Step 1: Pick Your Streaming Device ($30-200)
After you cancel your subscription to cable, you’ll have to decide on which streaming device or devices you’ll opt into to get the same access to your favorite entertainment.
To pick the streaming devices that will best fit your lifestyle, you first want to understand what kind of TV viewer you are. If you’re someone who wants anything and everything – movies, news and politics, family entertainment, sports, reality tv – you name it, it might just be worth it to keep your current cable package. An article from Noel Murray from the New York Times notes that trying to get everything from several services, or “piecemeal,” will probably end up being expensive.
However, if you have particular interests, you can find a streaming service that caters to your exact preferences.
You’ll also want to select a streaming service that caters to how you prefer to view movies and TV. If you don’t have a compatible device to watch your shows and movies on, you may need to look into purchasing another device. Several services offer a variety of apps that you can use to take your shows and movies on the go. Additionally, devices like a Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV can complement your unique subscriptions.
And, if you have a SmartTV, you may already have these apps available and ready to go to download. If you’re really in need of a compatible device, you can also connect your laptop to your TV using an HDMI cord and navigate your streaming services that way.
Step 2: Choose Your Core Streaming Service ($10-20/mo)
While there are many streaming services available, the three services that tend to be the most popular are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
One of the more popular streaming services that has evolved is Netflix. While they began by simply renting physical DVDs through the mail, the service has transformed into a hub for all things TV shows and movies. They’ve even created their own original shows and movies to add interest. You can get Netflix for about $11-$14 per month with different plans to fit your show and movie watching preferences.
While Netflix carries both movies and TV shows, Hulu has a greater focus on TV shows. In addition to their own original series, Hulu offers the opportunity to watch shows from cable networks, including the most popular shows that are on right now. A basic Hulu package that includes commercials is just about $8 per month, with an extra $4 a month to go commercial-free.
Do you have an Amazon Prime membership for shopping? If so, you’ve already got Amazon’s video service included. While not all available videos, shows and movies are free for Prime members, there are many titles ready to watch instantly. And, an Amazon Prime membership is just about $99 a year – which gets you a variety of benefits in addition to Amazon Video.
Other services that are worth looking into in transitioning from cable to on-demand streaming include Sling and Youtube TV. You can also get entertainment through your Playstation Vue. Such services are available in convenient packages so you know you’re getting what only you want. There are also a variety of subscription plans that cater to your exact needs.
Step 3: Consider a “Skinny” Cable Subscription To Get Your Can’t Miss Shows ($10-20/mo)
If you’re not ready to full cut the cable out of your life, there are ways you can modify your bundle and get streaming services. These so-called “skinny” cable packages are slimmed down cable bundles that offer only a select number of channels that are catered to your preferences. You choose what channels you want and forget the rest, all while still keeping your relationship with the cable company.
While each cable company’s “skinny” packages will vary on its offers, the purpose is to allow subscribers to keep their cable subscription while also join in on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Check with your cable provider to see what options you may have in getting a slimmed down cable package. They want to keep you as a customer and may be willing to cut some costs down in order to keep you in their cable family.
Whether you choose to opt into a “skinny” cable package or start new, there are numerous network subscriptions where you can find your favorite shows.
While you can often get your shows through streaming services like Netfilx, Hulu and Amazon, there are also additional individual network subscriptions you can find to get those shows you can’t find elsewhere.
If HBO is your obsession, you can get their network subscription to get access to all their shows you crave. HBO Now is just $15 a month and offers commercial-free HBO shows you can’t get enough of. You can get one month free as a trial.
Can’t get enough of sports? Cutting cable may seem like a troublesome action when you’re all about those local games on area networks. However, there are great alternatives to cable where you can still catch those sports you love.
There are on-demand streaming services available so you never have to miss the big game. If you’re just into one sport or two, you can choose a streaming subscription that offers just what you want. Packages like MLB.TV, NFL Live and NBA League Pass are great sources to catch the games that matter to you. However, these packages can get expensive quite quickly, so choose your sports wisely.
Another option is to get an antenna to get access to those local games through your TV. See below for more on how you can use a TV antenna to get access to the local shows and games you want.
If you don’t have cable, you can still watch all your favorite network shows. Check out their websites for access to free TV shows. Networks like FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, The CW and PBS have a range of popular TV shows you can watch for free, with commercials.
Even with cable channels, you can still get access to those shows. Services like Showtime streaming or Starz streaming allows you to watch those shows you love without having to pay for the whole expensive cable package.
Just watch out for all those subscriptions to add up. While you may think picking and choosing which channels you want is better than paying for the whole cable package, if you’re into every show and movie, those individual services can add up fast.
Pro Tip: If you have a family who loves watching shows and movies, sharing is caring. Let others in on your subscription to let others get in on the savings, too.
Step 4: Get a TV antenna for local stations in HD
If local stations are on your regular watching routine, an easy way to still catch your shows and news updates is with a TV antenna.
While antennas were once thought things of the past, they’ve begun making a comeback in this season of cable cord cutting.
For example, Mohu makes it easy to get an antenna and watch your shows for cheap. With their antenna devices, you can save a lot on bills and still get the television you love. They also offer a variety of products so you can get the antenna and package that best fits you and your lifestyle.
TV antennas provide you the opportunity to watch those local programs that you’re used to without paying the big bucks of cable. If you live in a more urban area, a non-amplified antenna can pick up signals from about 20 miles away, according to an article by Marshall Honorof from Tom’s Guide. However, if you live in a more suburban or rural area, you may need an amplified antenna, which can pick up signals from about 50 miles away, notes Honorof. These amplified antennas cost more but will give you a greater chance of getting the channels you want.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Shows To Save Money
Relaxing with family and friends with a TV show or movie doesn’t have to be expensive. With these easy steps, you can cut or reduce your cable bill dramatically.
The plethora of streaming services and network subscriptions allow you to get the shows and movies that you want without having to pay for those that you don’t. With more options of plans and subscriptions, you can get the shows you and your family want without paying between $100-$200 a month on channels you barely even watch.
Discover how cutting the cord to cable can start saving you money today.