The average American pays somewhere around $100 a month for cable. Per year, that’s $1,200 (which is more than most of us have saved…total). It’s no secret we dish out a lot of money to be entertained. However, more people want to know how to save money on cable because it’s so expensive.
In 2017, 22 million Americans ditched cable. Streaming services have made alternatives easily accessible and significantly less expensive. In fact, so many people are making the mass exodus from cable, #cutthecord (in reference to a cable cord) is now a trend. Americans have also said that of all their “guilty spending pleasures”, streaming services is the one they’re least likely to give up.
Are you looking for ways to save money on cable? The money you save canceling cable can instead be spent:
- Giving generously
- Paying off debt
- Building your emergency savings account
- Increasing long-term savings
- Investing for retirement
Here are 7 alternatives to cable that will help you save money:
Perhaps the most popular alternative, Netflix is a great option if you still want a breadth of TV and movie options for significantly less money. They have monthly options of $7.99, $10.99 or $13.99 (the biggest differences are HD and number of screens that can access an account at a time).
If you were to trade in your cable package for a Premium Netflix subscription of $13.99/month, you’ll save $1,032/year. Add that to your savings account, attack debt, invest for the future or use it to bless someone else.
Similar to Netflix, Hulu has an extensive library of TV shows and movies. Hulu has many current cable TV shows that are available to watch the day after they air on cable TV. Their pricing plans are $7.99 or $11.99 a month, differentiated by limited commercials or no commercials.
A year of Hulu without commercials will cost $1,056 less than a year of cable.
Somewhat newer to the cable-alternative family, Sling actually lets you watch many of the cable channels live by streaming through your wifi* (no rewind, fast-forward, or recording capabilities). Sling’s pricing plans are little more customizable. They have monthly packages for $20, $25, or $40. Each package gets you access to a preset list of channels. You can add other channels, like Kids, Comedy, and Sports for an additional $5/month each.
*One thing to keep in mind with Sling (and any other streaming services) is that since it’s accessed via the internet, you may have to upgrade your current wifi in order to support it and any other devices simultaneous. Sling requires a home internet connection of at least 5 MBps but 25 MBps is recommended.
Not taking your internet costs into consideration, and selecting the $40/month pricing without any extras, Sling will cost you $480/year. Which, compared to cable, saves you $720/year.
For most people, YouTube Red won’t be able to completely replace cable. But it does provide many streaming options, including music, music videos, TV shows, and movies, many of which are originals from YouTube stars.
It costs $9.99/month, which, over the course of a year, will cost you $120. Compared to the average cable package, that’s a savings of $1,080.
If you miss the retro “bunny ears” and only care about local news and a few other channels, a TV antenna may be right for you! According to Consumer Reports, they’re making a comeback, and there are more aesthetically-pleasing options.
There isn’t a monthly cost associated with this option. The average TV antenna runs about $60, with the average cost for installation around $275. In total, you’re looking at $335 outright, which will save you $865 the year you install it…and $1,200 every year after.
An up-and-coming player in the streaming services game, PlayStation Vue offers a bundle of TV channels (including sports and news) and movies and doesn’t require a PlayStation console. Unlike some of its competitors, PlayStation Vue also offers a Cloud-based DVR feature.
Pricing packages range from $39.99 – $79.99 a month. If you pick the most expensive package, you won’t have as great of a cost-savings as with some of the other options, saving just $240 a year.
This is a non-TV alternative to cable. Your taxes pay for a library card, yet few people make good use of it. Most local libraries have many different entertainment options, so instead of plopping down on the couch, go pick out some books, rent a movie for family night, pick up a puzzle, invest some time in one another, and steward your money, time, and attention wisely.
God deeply cares about how we spend both our time and money, so canceling cable may be a step towards stewardship. In order to manage your finances wisely, a budget is a critical first step. It will help you see how much you’re spending now and compare to how much you save later on. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, download Crown’s Easy Guide to a Budget You Love.
Do you have tips on how to save money on cable? Share your favorite alternatives or what you’ve done to save money!