Like many people, we’ve seen our cable bill creep up over the past few years. Between cable and internet, we were paying $85 just a few years ago, and all of the sudden it was over $100 per month! Every year I call, and typically that results in a long conversation about how we can get rid of our DVR box to save $10 per month, but we like being able to watch shows later (with kids, this seems like a must), so wasn’t a good option for us.
So we started looking at our options for non-cable tv. We do plenty of Netflix watching, but I kept cable because I watch sports, and Bravo was a must for Lauren.
It’s a good practice to regularly reevaluate your budget and spending to see if there’s places you are spending more than you should. In doing this, many people quickly realize they are spending a lot – maybe even too much – on their cable TV bill.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the average cable bill was just over $100 in 2017. This is a huge jump from what it was 10 years prior in 2007 – an increase of over 50%. A hundred bucks is a pretty serious chunk of change to pay monthly for what essentially boils down to entertainment, and comes out to $1,200 a year for catching your favorite TV shows.
As cable bills keep rising, consumers are on the lookout for more affordable options and ditching their cable contracts for good. As demand for alternative services has risen, so have the number of options available. Many of these options do require a Smart TV or a receiver like an Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV. Making a small investment in one of these devices can save you quite a bit of money on cable long term, so it’s definitely worth considering.
Thinking about cutting the cord and breaking up with your cable TV provider? Here are five alternative options to consider.
Netflix is probably the most popular option for cord-cutters. With literally thousands of options, Netflix users pay a relatively small fee for access to TV shows and movies. Plans currently start as low as $7.99 per month, and they don’t show ads (!!!).
One downfall to Netflix is that you often have to wait awhile before your favorite show is available. This can be a good thing because you’re able to break out the popcorn and wine and binge watch the entire season in one weekend when it’s up, but if you’re worried about spoilers or are just impatient to find out what happens to your favorite character, waiting might not be worth it to you.
The other great thing about Netflix is that they have a lot of Netflix original shows that you can’t get anywhere else.
For those of us who are too impatient to wait for our beloved shows to make it to Netflix, Hulu can be a great option. Hulu offers shows from several networks as soon as the day after they air on network television. There are also a variety of throwback shows and movies available for your viewing pleasure.
Hulu offers monthly plans for $7.99 as well, but they do often show commercials during their shows. If you can stay away from spoilers for 24 hours, this can be a better way to see your favorite shows sooner after they air.
Amazon Prime Video
Are you already paying for that sweet, sweet free 2-day Amazon delivery? Be sure to take advantage of the wide variety of TV shows and movies available to Amazon Prime members – for free via Amazon Prime Video!
There are additional shows and movies available to rent or purchase for a fee, but Amazon does offer quite a few free options. This benefit of Prime membership can easily be forgotten, but is worth remembering!
Want an option to watch live TV? Sling TV works similarly to cable as it allows you to stream live TV over the internet and includes some channels that are otherwise more difficult to watch without cable.
If you’re worried about getting the sports fans in your house on board with cutting the cord, Sling TV is a great option as you’re able to choose channels that stream games live (like ESPN). Plans start at just $25/month, and you can add DVR for $5/month. If you want to add more users (up to 3 streams at a time), you’re looking at $45/month including DVR.
YouTube TV is fairly new, but for $40/month, you get unlimited DVR, and a whole host of channels. Far more than what I was getting with cable. I got in when it was just $35/month, and allows up to 3 simultaneous streams, and 6 users. We’ve been splitting with family, so effectively paying just $11.66 per month! Add in the $45/month for Internet and we’re still paying less than $60, savings of over $480 over the course of the year!
Most of these services have free trials, so if you’re thinking of getting rid of cable, I encourage you to test them out for a week to see if they might be for you before taking the plunge!