In one sense, cable or satellite TV is one of the easiest things to cut from your budget. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to argue that live TV is a ‘need’ in any way. Yet, it provides hours of entertainment and distraction from real life as well as a 24/7 news cycle that has us hooked. For most of us, TV is such a big part of our lives that we can’t imagine tearing it away. However, if you have trouble covering all your expenses and meeting your goals, strongly consider sacrificing cable.
If your budget is in real trouble, you may decide to completely ditch all paid TV. There are countless free alternatives to cable. You can still get over-the-air TV. Also check out the DVD collection at your local library- you might be surprised by their collection. There are free streaming services such as Crackle. YouTube is notorious for hours worth of binge-watching. And you might have a collection of DVDs that you’ve been meaning to watch for the last 5 years.
Alternatively, spend less time watching TV. Develop hobbies that build a skill. Read. Pick up a side hustle. Enjoy the great outdoors! A certain satellite TV company doesn’t want you to live like a settler. But maybe you should give it a try (and not by settling for cable).
Paid Streaming Services
Maybe you aren’t quite ready to go bare-bones, and your budget doesn’t require you to completely eliminate your TV bill. Paid streaming services offer a huge selection of content for a fraction of your cable bill. Different streaming services offer different combinations of current live TV, already been aired TV shows, movies.
If you mainly want live TV, Sling TV or Hulu are your best bets. Although one of the more expensive streaming services, Sling is probably the best single replacement for regular paid TV. It offers a wide assortment of popular channels, starting at $20/month. Hulu tries to have a foot in both live TV and past content and is more in line with the price of other streaming services in the $10/month range.
If you primarily watch TV shows and movies, Netflix and Amazon Prime (free trial here) are both great options with similar prices. If you are strictly interested in the TV content, you may prefer Netflix’s selection. However, the Prime membership also gives you access to Amazon’s massive music and e-book library in addition to free 2-day shipping with Amazon.
Whichever streaming service you choose, you’ll save bundles over traditional paid TV. Arguably streaming’s on-demand access is even worth more than subjecting yourself to the schedule of traditional TV.
Negotiating your Bill
If you just can’t get yourself to give up cable, you can always try to renegotiate your bill. Cable companies know that they are losing customers in droves to streaming services. Call up and threaten to ditch them for streaming services. You may come across as more convincing if you are indeed ready to switch if they don’t lower your bill. Also, be aware of how much your termination fee is, and be ready to pay it if you are going to switch.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.