Originally posted on Every Dollar’s website here.
We Americans love our cable TV. We must, because according to Leichtman Research Group, we pay $103 a month on average for it.¹ That’s over $1,000 a year!
But cable isn’t the only way we can keep up with the news, watch our favorite sports team, or learn which stars are no longer dancing. There are options that cost much less and can free up over $1,000 in your budget to go toward something else—say, a Baby Step?
Check out these seven options for getting the same shows at a lower cost.
1. Netflix and Hulu ($8 per month for basic subscriptions)
Hulu and Netflix have become very popular because they let you see your favorite shows for a fraction of cable prices. The catch? Hulu still has commercials. But the upgraded, commercial-free version will cost you only $12. And if you want to watch Netflix on more than one device, you’ll have to upgrade to a Standard ($10) or Premium ($12) plan. Either way, you can sign up for one of these, pay a few bucks a month, and watch your shows on your schedule.
2. Amazon Prime Video ($9 per month)
Prime Video offers a wide selection of movies, TV series, and their own constantly growing original series. But if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, consider getting Amazon Prime for $99 a year. A membership includes Prime Video and a pretty sweet perk: free two-day shipping on most products you order from Amazon. With the membership, you get Prime Video around $8.25 a month, plus all of the Amazon Prime extras. That can make this an even better deal.
3. Sling TV ($20 a month)
Sling TV costs less than a third of the average monthly American cable bill. For that reduced cost, you get 30 live channels instead of a few hundred. The cable package you have now probably has selections you didn’t even know existed, much less watch. Slimming down your selection while trimming your costs makes a lot of sense.
4. Roku or Chromecast ($30-35)
With one of these devices, an internet connection and a wireless modem, you get access to a huge library of films and video, several streaming movie services, and the ability to stream pro basketball and baseball games. Both Roku and Chromecast offer upgraded devices for a little extra cash. Regardless of which one you choose, there’s bound to be something that suits your fancy—the price certainly will.
5. HBO NOW, Showtime, Starz ($9-15 per month)
Whether you’re in the mood for a Hollywood blockbuster or you want to catch up with Tony Soprano, HBO, Showtime and Starz all have their own streaming services. It’s a stand-alone service, so you don’t need a subscription for it, but you can add them on to your Amazon Prime, Hulu, Roku, Sling, or Netflix accounts for an additional fee.
6. Online Network Channels (free)
Just about all the major networks, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox, allow you to view recently aired episodes of your favorite shows on their websites for a limited amount of time. Sure, you may have to watch ads, but it’s a lot less than the cost of satellite.
7. Library (free)
You may not know it, but you can check out TV shows from your local public library. If you’re willing to drive to the place where you pick them up—like we all used to do when we wanted to rent a movie from the video store—then this is a good alternative to paying for cable.
You can still get your news, sports, or can-you-believe-that-housewife-said-that-thing-about-that-other-housewife fix without spending so much for it. That’s a great way to give a jolt to your Baby Step progress, and it doesn’t stop with the television. There are tons of options to reduce your expenses by taking a closer look at your budget. When you take control of your spending and accomplish your financial goals even quicker than before, it will feel like your money situation will have a Hollywood ending.
That kind of stuff doesn’t happen just on TV.