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Cutting the Cord: Money Saver's Guide

Cutting the Cord: Money Saver's Guide

If you haven't thought about changing the way you watch TV, maybe it's time to consider other alternatives. After all, cable TV can easily cost upwards of $70 per month. In fact, I know some people who spend $100 or more each month just to watch TV!

With some of the best alternatives to cable TV, you can spend far less and still watch your favorite shows. There are lots of ways to cut the cord and save money while watching the TV shows you love. What's more, making a change to save money could help you pay other bills, lower debt, or even invest.

Streaming Options to Cut the Cord

Streaming has become a popular way to watch TV without cable. Here are some of the most popular streaming options.

1. DirectTV Now

DirecTV Now is one alternative that lets you cut the cord and save money over watching cable. They also offer free trials from time to time, which is a great way to try it out.

Their packages begin at around $35 and give you 60 or more channels. You can also add HBO or Cinemax for an additional monthly fee.

One feature that's great for families is that you can stream on multiple devices at the same time. Keep in mind that you'll need a smartphone, tablet, iPad, or another streaming device to watch.

2. Hulu

Another alternative to cable or satellite TV is to sign up for Hulu. The lowest plan with Hulu starts at $8 per month, which is far less than cable.

Commercials are limited with Hulu, which means you can watch more TV in less time.

Hulu also has additional packages with no commercials, or with other options and channels. These do come at an additional cost.

A drawback to Hulu is that local sports and news are not available in every city. Also, you won't be able to watch some shows until 24 hours after they've aired on live TV. So, make sure your friends who still have cable don't reveal any cliffhangers!

There are tons of devices you can use to stream Hulu. Some of the most popular are Roku, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.

3. Sling TV

You could also try Sling TV as an alternative to your pricey cable bill.

Sling TV offers a couple of advantages over some of the other television choices in this article. For instance, they provide a cloud-based DVR and the option to make your own viewing guide.

Plans start at a low $20 for 30 channels, $25 for 45 channels, or $40 for over 50 channels. They also have some special packages you can add on to your plan. Streaming is possible from several different devices including Roku, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, and more.

4. Netflix

One more of my favorite alternatives to cable is Netflix.

Yes, most of us have heard of this option. Still, it's worth mentioning because the rates are super reasonable, starting at $8 per month. This is significant savings over what you would pay with cable each month.

Netflix offers original content, in addition to movies and TV, making it a great way to cut the cord on cable.

The biggest drawback I've noticed, as a long-time Netflix user, is that there are frequent changes to what movies and TV shows are available. I've even started watching a movie one day only to come back the next and find that it's no longer available!

The good news is that you can try Netflix for free with a month-long trial.

5. Amazon Video

Amazon Video is another way to watch TV without cable. If you already have Amazon Prime there is no additional charge to use Amazon Video.

But, if you don't have Amazon Prime, this streaming service is $8.99 per month.

Like Netflix, Prime Video has original content, as well as movies and TV with which you may already be familiar. I like that they also have some older movies and shows too.

If you've thought about becoming an Amazon Prime member, it's probably smarter to just buy the annual membership and get Amazon Video included. There are a lot of other benefits to being an Amazon Prime member that can help you save money. Whatever you decide, you are going to save money ditching your cable subscription for Amazon Prime.

6. PlayStation VUE

PlayStation VUE is another way to cut the cord and still watch TV. Although it starts at $40 for the lowest level plan, you'll still save vs. paying for cable.

There is a free five-day trial you can use to try PlayStation VUE. If you sign up afterward, there is no contract, so you can cancel at any time.

Even though it's a PlayStation product, you don't need a PlayStation game console to use PlayStation VUE.

You can stream from more than one device at a time with PlayStation VUE. This is a nice feature if you live with other people who'll be using it too. So is the fact that each person can set up a profile for viewing. Some of the devices you can use to stream are Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Other Ways to Cut the Cord

If you truly want to cut the cord on cable and save money, here are a few more ways you can do it.

7. Set up an Antenna

It's easy to set an antenna up so you can watch TV. You can get one on Amazon for well under $100.

Antennas do have to be purchased for each TV you wish to watch. Yet, they let you offer an advantage of allowing you to watch local TV without cable. They're also easy to install.

8. Use Your Computer

You can also watch TV with a simple HDMI cable hooking your TV up to your computer. With this method, you'll be able to watch your shows on a larger screen than if you just tried to use your computer.

9. Simply Shut it Off

Even though this may seem like a drastic option to shut off your cable without a replacement, it will help you save money.

In addition to saving money, there are a few other reasons why you might want to completely shut off your TV services too.

First, turning off your TV service lets you reconnect with nature or rediscover old hobbies. You may also find more time for family, friends, and pets. You may find more time to exercise when you don't have TV distracting you during your free time.

Are you thinking about cutting the cord on cable altogether? What's holding you back?

Kayla Sloan is a blogger, freelance writer and contributor to Frugal Rules. Having gone from working a full-time job to becoming self-employed, she focuses on sharing personal finance tools and information that encourage readers to take control of their lives and finances.

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