One of the easiest ways to save money on your monthly budget is to cancel your cable TV subscription. If you have a fully loaded TV channel lineup with a DVR box, you could easily be paying $150 or possibly more to get television. This can be downsized drastically so you’re only paying $20 – $75 per month, but you still get plenty to watch with this plan.
With the invention of internet streaming services, you don’t have to give up watching movies and TV series just to save money. You can simply replace cable with one or a few streaming services. You won’t miss out on much with this strategy and you’ll save a lot of cash each month too. I have more tips that can help you cut the cord and ditch your cable in this guide.
I used to be a big fan of cable TV. I had Charter Communications back in South Carolina and kept a full channel lineup with a DVR for many years. In the last two years that I had it, I only used it three times for about 30-60 minutes each time. A few hours each year simply wasn’t worth the $1800 a year that I was paying.
There are all kind of upgrades available to customers that can inflate your bill. Premium movie channels and sports are some of the most common and expensive of these upgrades. In more recent years, you actually get access to online streaming services from these premium channels when you’re a paying subscriber. I found myself using those more than the actual TV.
Cancel & Replace Cable
If you’re spending $1800 annually on cable, you could easily save $900 per year or more by getting rid of it and using streaming instead. If you only used one service, such as Netflix, you could actually save more than $1600 each year.
Streaming services can be watched on almost any device. Cell phones, tablets and desktop computers are all options to use. However, you can potentially use your normal TV too. You just need a Smart TV that connects to the internet and allows you to add apps for various streaming services. With every hooked up to a TV, it really just feels like a more futuristic version of cable TV that allows you to choose what to watch instead of being forced to watch whatever is on live.
Each streaming service is different and offers different kinds of content or content from varying companies. Try to figure out what type of shows and movies you really want to be able to continue to watch, and then seek out the streaming services that offer these options.
Best Streaming Services
Over the last few years, I have tried out almost every single streaming service that exists minus one or two. After using a lot of them for years, I’ve come to notice that some are much better than others. In particular, I find Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to be the top two services. Netflix is the original king of online streaming services. They release a ton of new content each month, even though you really end up only watching a small portion of it. I’ve found myself watching a lot of movies from the past 30 years here, especially old favorites of mine.
Prime Video is also pretty decent. I’d rank their new content a bit behind Netflix. The quality of some of the content can be questionable, but there are also normal movies and TV shows here. They also have exclusive releases that you won’t find elsewhere, and there have been a handful of these that are really great. My #1 complaint with Netflix and Prime Video is that they have a really bad habit of canceling original series after running them for a season or two. They’ve actually both canceled shows that were really popular and received critical acclaim. Ultimately, these corporations are constantly chasing new subscribers, but I hope they’ll start to focus more on existing subscribers eventually.
HBOMax deserves an honorable mention. My wife and I love the Friends TV series and other HBO classics like Game of Thrones. We actually subscribed to this service specifically for Friends, which I believe they’ve secured for the next few years. Overall, you won’t get as many new movies and shows to watch here, but they do release series on a regular basis and have a new movie every Saturday night. Last year you could watch a movie here the same day it premiered in theaters, which was a great money saver. Even though they don’t do that anymore, you can still see new theater releases by Warner Bros here about a month or two after their theater release.
Other Streaming Options
I’ve also used or still currently use a number of other streaming services. Apple TV, Peacock TV, Hulu, and Disney+ are the other services I’ve tried. My wife and kids love Disney+, but I rarely use it myself. I will sometimes go there to watch Star Wars or Marvel movies, but I’m not into their new series offerings.
I don’t use Apple TV anymore and only did for a month or two to watch a specific original movie and show they released. I couldn’t find much content there that I wanted to watch. Peacock is similar – they seem to lack enough decent content to be a real threat in this industry.
Besides Disney+, Hulu is the other service that is worth a specific mention. The new content here is fairly minimal, but this could potentially be a good option for anyone that wants to replace cable TV. If there are certain series on TV that you love to watch on cable and don’t want to lose them, you may find them on Hulu. They have a standard subscription that costs about the same as other streamers, but they also have a Live TV subscription.
Hulu’s Live TV subscription is designed as a replacement for cable TV. It’s about $70 per month. You’ll get access to roughly 75 TV channels where you can actually watch live or on demand. Disney+ is also included with this option, so you could save a bit with that freebie. For sports fans, this is usually the best option since Live TV also includes ESPN+ access. This can be a cheaper option than subscribing to cable TV and many will find it more convenient too.