Whenever you read articles or blog posts about budgeting and saving money there is always, always a tip to disconnect your cable and save $80-100+ a month. While I cannot dispute that this is a great tip and great way to save money, I was always firmly in the heck no camp. I don’t watch a huge amount of TV but I do have some shows I like to watch…Property Brothers, Outlander, Grimm, Supernatural, etc. Some of those I could watch on my computer but honestly I don’t enjoy watching that way. Therefore getting rid of cable was not going to happen.
A funny thing happened when we moved last year though. We were basically forced to get rid of cable because our preferred provider (and the one we got for a very discounted rate) was not available in our new neighborhood. We had to decide if paying full price with a new provider was worth it and for me, it wasn’t. Well, I was willing to go without for a couple months and see how we managed. It has been over six months now and we have managed just fine. In fact, I cannot even believe I waited this long to make the leap. I wasted some serious money on cable for YEARS!
Cable TV Alternatives
In general cable service costs about $80-$100 per month. For much less you can subscribe to streaming services and/or buy a couple devices and still manage to watch most or all of your favorite shows.
Streaming Services or Software:
We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Kodi. Netflix is kid friendly and my son loves it. It has a collection of TV shows and movies. The movies and shows are all older (already aired) with the exception of their original shows, which are pretty good if you ask me.
Amazon Prime has a collection VERY similar to Netflix so it may seem redundant to have both but I use their two day shipping often and I also use Prime Music. Amazon prime also offers subscriptions to Starz and Showtime for $7.99 a month I think. This is a great way to get premium cable channels without having to pay for the basic channels. This feature will allow me to watch my fave show, Outlander, without paying for cable and I only need to subscribe while the show is in season.
Hulu is a streaming service that allows you to watch current shows from several major networks. You can usually watch your favorite TV shows within a day or two of them airing.
Kodi is free software that you can install on a laptop computer or even a Firestick (though it must be jailbroken first). With this software you can stream just about anything….from TV shows that just aired (including cable ones) to movies that are still in theatres. I don’t say this to enter into a debate about ethical streaming I am just pointing out that Kodi provides it all. With Kodi I can watch just about every single TV show I want and any movie I want, new or old. To watch it on an actual TV and not a computer you just plug the laptop into your TV (HDMI). The Firestick attaches in the same way.
You will need a device to use streaming services, unless you have a smart TV.
We have all of the above. Rokus are the most user friendly way to stream Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. You just plug a Roku in using an RCA connection (like you would a DVD player). You can also get one with an HDMI connection. Streaming can be set up in minutes as long as you already have the accounts with the streaming services, like Netflix.
Gaming consoles can also stream the popular subscription channels but you may need to pay a membership fee to the game manufacturer…xBox for instance requires an xBox Live membership and PS4 requires Playstation Plus which average $55-$60 a year.
Our monthly for streaming services is only $22. If you add in game console memberships (x3) that brings it to $33 a month. $33 a month and the whole family can watch whatever we want to watch…from local channels to cable shows to movies. That is about $800 a year in savings.
Are you willing to try it?