By now, most people have Netflix and Hulu or have a generous friend’s log-in, but what are some other useful tips for finding budget-friendly cable alternatives? The average household’s cable package clocks in at a whopping $217.42 per month. It’s easy to understand why so many of us are cutting the cord.
This average cable bill is higher than what the average household spends on all other major utilities combined. In an age where we can track just about anything on an app, there has to be a better way. The good news is that there are plenty of budget-friendly cable alternatives to choose from. The bad news is that there are now so many that it can get a bit confusing.
Rather than spending hours searching, scrolling, and testing, check out our list below:
If you signed up for a premium cable package a few years ago at a special price, chances are good that you never considered how many of those premium channels you need. And after that intro rate expired, your bill went up for a bunch of cable channels that have faded into the background. Sneaky bills like these can throw your whole budget off-track.
If you only watch a few channels, like the ones with the news, sitcom reruns, or sports replays, call your cable provider and ask to switch to a basic package. You may be able to cut your bill in half this way. If you’d rather try to keep these channels first, ask them to extend your promotional pricing or negotiate your current bill by leveraging an offer you saw from a competitor. It never hurts to ask, as long as you do it politely. This applies to other bills, too.
Bundling is another way to save a significant amount of money on your cable bill. If you currently have a different provider for your Wi-Fi and cable, call each one and ask what the price would be to bundle the two. Most cable and internet providers offer significant discounts for bundled packages to keep up with the competition. If you’re not happy with either of their answers, call other providers in your area. You’re bound to find one that fits your budget better.
Some people prefer holding on to at least a basic cable package so they have access to sports or the news. But a growing number of people are opting out of paying for cable altogether. And many others are downsizing to just the few channels they need and finding ways to supplement what’s missing. This is where streaming services come in.
If you haven’t already signed up or found a way to share an account, Hulu and Netflix are incredibly budget-friendly. These are the two most popular streaming services for a reason. Between the two, you can find thousands of popular TV shows and movies, Netflix and Hulu originals, and other fun content. Hulu offers a free trial so you can test it out for 30 days with no obligation. Just remember to cancel before the month is up if you decide not to keep it.
Now that we’ve talked about the two best streaming services, let’s talk about some that are rapidly growing in popularity. Despite what the name might suggest, Disney Plus doesn’t just provide Disney originals and remakes. You can also watch Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic content on Disney Plus. Disney Plus is currently partnering with Hulu and ESPN+ so you can bundle the three and get an even wider variety of options. Amazon Prime is another growing service with a wide selection of popular movies and TV shows, plus Amazon originals. And many of the options that aren’t in the free section can be bought or rented.
If you’re wondering “how can I get cable channels without cable,” these streaming services might not cut it. To get access to a limited number of cable channels without the extra bill, consider a TV streaming service like Sling. They run semi-frequent promotions, and the average is about one-seventh of the average cable package. TV streaming services like this one offer dozens of live channels, including news and sports channels, plus movies and on-demand options, too. AppleTV and YouTube also offer hybrid options.
So, what is the best alternative to cable? Unfortunately, there’s no one answer. Finding the best budget-friendly cable alternative will take a little bit of work. Start by evaluating your needs or preferences, obtaining quotes, and considering whether you’re ready to cut the cord altogether or if you just want to cut back a bit. If one of your financial goals for the new year is to cut your costs, reevaluating your cable bill is a great place to start.