Cutting the Cord: 3 Ways to Save on Monthly Cable Bills

By Cherie

The average American spends about 141 hours per month watching TV, according to data compiled by Nielsen. To put that number in perspective, there are 168 total hours in one week; thus, many Americans spend close to one week per month consuming media on television.

Consumer Reports states the average cable or satellite bill is $123 per month, or nearly $1,500 per year. Those who already pay for broadband or unlimited Internet access from their smartphones are unnecessarily throwing away money because most of the shows, movies and sports you watch can be seen without paying for cable or satellite services.

Here are three ways you can cut the cable cord and subsequently your spending:

Sling TV

Sports fans have been forced to have a cable or satellite subscription or go to sports bars when they’re favorite teams are playing. There are only so many games you can attend in person, and only special events like the Super Bowl and NCAA Basketball Tournament are (legally) broadcasted live online. Dish Network now offers a solution to satisfy your sports appetite.

Sling TV allows you to watch several popular cable channels live, including ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and TBS right from your smartphone, tablet, Xbox One or laptop. You also get the Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel. The best part is that the basic package costs only $20 per month with no contract, credit check or long-term commitments. There are also add-on packages (at $5 each) such as “Kids Extra,” which provides access to Disney Jr., Boomerang and Baby TV. Additional news and sports packages will also be available soon.

Netflix

Movie buffs have lauded Netflix since its launch in 1999. The world’s leading Internet television platform currently boasts over 62 million subscribers in 50 countries; and for good reason. You get access to a vast library containing thousands of movie and television show titles that can be streamed online. Most that cannot be instantly accessed can be sent to you via DVD and returned at your convenience.

The best part about Netflix is that there are numerous ways to try it for free before paying for a subscription. For example, those in the market for a new smartphone can purchase a Samsung Galaxy S 6 on the T-Mobile network and get a free one-year subscription to Netflix.

The Basic Package, which includes unlimited movies and shows, is $7.99 per month whereas the Standard Package, providew high-definition streaming of your movies and shows for $8.99.

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PlayStation Vue

Sony also has decided to provide a service for cable cutters through its PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 devices. PlayStation Vue is an online service that offers around 50 to 80 channels, including Comedy Central, FX, MTV, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Syfy and TLC. Although it does have some news and sports channels, the service does not include ABC or ESPN.

PlayStation Vue works as a cloud-based DVR, which allows you to save shows and search for new ones based on your tastes or what is popular. This service’s packages run between $50 and $80.


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11 Comments

  1. Very nice article Cherie. My family and I started with Cable and in an attempt to save money switched to Satellite. After the promotional period ended with that we found it was only marginally less expensive. We decided to lose the dish and then moved to Netflix. After a year with that we found that its options were limited and decided to cut that out too. We find that our kids watch less TV, we are ‘wasting’ much less of our income on trashy TV shows and are able to use that income on more important things like our food / water storage, and gear in case we have to Get Out Of Dodge. I hear more and more people who are cutting the cord all the time.

  2. We recently ‘cut the cord’ for $$ reasons. We watch ‘over the air’ local channels. We bought a Roku and stream all kinds of ‘free’ channels including PBS, and a bunch of ‘free’ movie apps. For our sporting ‘needs’, I found an online site that streams multiple sports channels for free. They also offer a paid service, but the free one serves our ‘need’ just fine.

  3. Our “out in the country” place has no cable or land line phone service. I bought an HD antenna hoping to be able to get “something” to watch news, weather, and the occasional TV show. We’re over 60 miles away from the closest broadcast towers, and…..WOW!!!! The picture quality we get is amazing! 1020P on all the major channels, and it’s not “compressed” like the cable company’s signal we have in town. I use a signal booster and split it 4 ways, with excellent results (which, sadly, is more than I can say about the “programming”, but that’s a different subject…). We get about 14 channels, including all major networks, 3 PBS channels and a couple of old movie channels, which is just fine for our use. Who really needs 167 channels of mostly “junk” anyway? Oh, and did I forget to mention that the over-the-air broadcasts are ABSOLUTELY FREE?!?!? I paid around $100 for the equipment, and that’s it… I highly recommend that anyone interested in “cutting the cable” do some research on todays antennas. Also, although we don’t have regular phone service, our cell phones have “hot spot” ability, so we stream the occasional Netflix movie too!

  4. We literally have only 3 “luxury” bills in our budget… Internet, Netflix, and cellphones. For TV, we either use the internet in some way or another, or use out $5 HD antennae that we get 28 channels on. Movies, news, regular TV, even a “weather channel”.

  5. I bet that these “average” TV viewers are also the ones that are getting a little broad in the beam and can’t figure out why the diet isn’t working. I’ve never had cable and don’t think I have missed much.

  6. Rourke,

    Check out movietube.co yes co not com. It is from Canada to the best of my understanding. I mirror the movies to apple tv. it works very well and has very current content.

    bob

  7. I am slightly offended by Woodcucks comment. My family and I have cable. We are not “average” viewers though. Considering the above numbers the “average” viewer sits at the tube for 4.7 hours a day. I watch about 30 minutes of TV a day and that’s at night while I’m in bed. My kids are extremely active and most days don’t even turn the TV on. We keep our $100.00 a month cable bill for The Walking Dead and ONLY the Walking Dead. I wont wait for full seasons to come out on Netflix. Drives me nuts paying that much but it is what it is. Does anyone know how to get The Walking Dead without waiting for full seasons to be out?

  8. Decades ago I suffered two broken kneecaps. Curtailed the running program but not the eating program. Went an old friend and physician who had been a college roommate. Told him the bigger waist had to be due to a hormonal problem. My pithy old friend commented that I was in the throes of a serious medical malady, an orifice imbalance, you see the one on top was larger than the one on bottom.

    Me, I watch about 30 minutes of old fashioned airwave television a day – mostly what passes for news in my neck of the woods. Just don’t care for the artificial life television presents. I’ve never had a car or a body shoot up into the air upon being shot nor a sword spark when striking another. Most special effects are nothing but low class junk. And when it comes to comedy, I am incapable of understanding how canned audience laughter makes something funny. But that’s me – we are all different and all have our own unique, uh well opinions.

    PR

  9. The mass addiction of cell phones and internet still exists to an even greater extent but the justification always peeps through.

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