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How Do YOU Save on Cable TV?!

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Cable TV

Are you looking for a Cable TV alternative that is cheap or better yet, free? Or are you tired of paying an expensive cable bill just so you can watch one or two of your favorite shows or sports channels? If so, you likely relate to Hip2Save reader Katiria who recently sent me the following email…


I am looking to cut my cable and I have been going crazy with all the options. I see Netflix, Roku, Apple TV, Sling, Hulu, Amazon Prime or Fire stick…I am lost. Most of these need internet, so how can I watch it on my TV? We only have 1 laptop. Will it increase my internet charges if I suddenly have all this activity streaming on my laptop? I was wondering if you had any recommendations or a website that I could check out that would explain the benefits/setbacks to each or the differences.


With that being said, how do YOU watch movies or your favorite TV show without breaking the bank? And, if you don’t pay a monthly Cable TV bill, what option do you use? Please share!


Mary is a senior copywriter with 9+ years in frugal tips & deals. She has a Bachelors in Human Resources Interdisciplinary Studies. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn


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Comments 316

  1. Mrita

    TV free since 2012. We use internet for weather, news, etc. My husband listens to sports radio, I like to read. Older kids have game systems, the young one has Dvds and VHS tapes that he’ll watch over and over. He also reads, legos, etc. It works for us. 🙂

  2. Tee

    You need to try freedom pop for Internet, free for 1000 MB.

  3. corina

    Buy a bluray player with apps installed like netflix,hulu etc. Theres also a box a streamer where u can watch everything is out there including the movie theater. Or an xbox with live . u can install lots of apps to watch movies. Hulu for tv shows.

  4. Kim

    We have been cable free for 6 years and I would never go back again! ROKU and a basic antennae really does it all – you can add any channels you want to the device. I was very much against this idea initially, but agreed to try it out once our cable bill hit $199/month. Surprisingly, the kids didn’t even flinch. They watch animal planet, pbs shows, spongebob, chowder etc..the difference is now, instead of mindlessly turning the TV on and channel surfing, they actually think about what they want to watch. The result is less TV time/ higher quality TV time. The same could be said for my husband and I. We watch only high quality tv shows and spend less time watching TV. It was one of the best family decisions we made.

    • T

      Hi Kim..Can you give me some more info on the Roku..there are a few out there, which one is best to get? Is there a monthly fee to use roku? What shows/channels do they have? My problem with cancelling cable is then I have to find a new internet provider, we need wifi and it isnt cheap from other companies I’ve checking into….Can I ask what you do for internet service?

  5. Andrea

    Can anyone explain to me what sling is?? I’m a little confused. Thanks in advance.

    • Kellie Skeen

      Sling is basically a subscription that you can pay for monthly that gives you several channels. There is a basic subscription that gets you a couple of ESPN channels,lifetime, WE, and several others for around $20 and you can add packages for around $5 extra that are things like extra sports channels or homestyle channels like diy and HGTV ect ect. This then comes up on your streaming device as its own channel. We get this for my husband’s sports channels.

      • Andrea

        Oh I see. Thank you

      • Amber

        Sling TV is also a month to month contract like Netflix. So, if you only want it during sports months you can cancel it at any time.

      • rosi

        I also use sling. ..for us canceling cable was a HUGE savings. ..also includes all the disney channels (for the kids)…food network and HGTV (for me) and sports (for husband)

      • sue

        Does this give you access to most sports, esp NBA and NFL games? I have been literally CHAINED to cable b/c of the sports fanatics in my home. We already have roku boxes hooked up to all 4 tvs in the house. TIA

  6. Herni

    If you want to find out how much money you’d really be able to save, you can use “slate.com” which is an online calculator to see how much savings you’ll get after cutting the cord and opting for streaming services instead. Our household is able to save almost $800/yr since we cut the cord in 2014 😀

  7. mel

    We have a PS4 that does everything for us. Where we live cable would cost $150 or more. On the PS4 we are able to watch YouTube and Netflix. It’s all we need, because Netflix has so many movies, and sometimes we get so into a series we watch it all day, like Grey’s Anatomy. Been watching on Netflix for 2 months. I’m able to watch old shows like Friends. Whenever I want to watch something else I’ll browse through YouTube by searching “full HD movies” and you won’t believe what kind of movies come up. It’s amazing. it depends where you’re located but I have at&t. I pay $50/month and I have never, I mean never, went over my limit. In my house we have one PS4, three tablets, two laptops, and six smartphones. All connected to the wifi, and everyone’s usually home. It’s always like this-my parents are watching a movie in the living room, I’m doing an essay online, my sister is catching up on her show(Pretty Little liars), my brother is playing game on his tablet, and my niece is playing the tablet. This all uses wifi, we never go over the limit. It’s better than what we were playing before – $176 + electricity. Now we don’t pay the $176 or more because we don’t need it.

  8. Casey Meyers

    Mostly watch TLC and AMC. Who offers these networks and how much does it cost. Don’t want to give up watching The Walking Dead, Fear of the Dead, & Bates Motel.

    • Tammy

      Sling offers AMC. I’m not sure about TLC

    • Laura

      Live stream AMC from your computer and watch the walking dead for free. We do.

  9. Chrissy

    I’m confused – if you have only internet and NOT cable tv through your cable provider can you still watch basic networks (cbs, NBC, abc. Fox) through Internet , just maybe not all the live shows (like the Grammys, oscars, etc?)

    • Diane

      You can purchase an antenna to pick up all your local channels. They are required to broadcast over the air for free. They should include at least ABC,NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, CW. Then purchase a streaming device to connect your internet to whichever streaming service you want. We have a Wii and a Chromecast. A Chromecast shouldn’t cost more than $35.00. We stream through Amazon Prime and Netflix. Although I bought Amazon Prime for the free shipping. We pay $57.00/month for 100 mbs for internet and $10.00/month for Netflix.

  10. Chits

    Keep switching account holders as promotions expire so that you always get new customer discount.

    We’ve had xfinity double play (105mbps internet and cable) for over 4yrs and never have paid over $50+tax. We get 12 month promo pricing and when that expires we switch account in my hubby’s name and get those for a year. Then switch back to me….

    • sue

      Don’t you have to cancel your current subscription and then sign up for the other account as in turning the equipment in to get credit on that account etc?

  11. Ebro

    Please don’t get suckered into buying Amazon Firesticks that are (hacked) loaded with Kodi.
    1. You can do it yourself very easily.
    2. They are not designed to run that program while it works….eventually it will stop.
    3. Kodi is a great way to cut cable but it is very very time consuming even if you know what your doing.

    Stream Smart is a box designed to run Kodi. It updates much like your cell phone. they have a team of techs that do this daily.
    Want to learn more about StreamSmart email me @
    STREAMSMARTBROTHERS@gmail.com
    Never have to pay for Cable,Netflix, or Hulu ever again.
    Any Sports event all streamed for free.

  12. Maribel

    I have time warner internet and home phone bundled. I pay for Netflix basic only 2 screens at a time. I do my daily searches on bing then I chose my free hulu reward from month to month. Have not had to pay in over a year.

  13. doconnell864

    The elephant in the room is the cost of internet. I just subscribed to direct Tv and tat internet for 60 a month….. The tv part is only 10 a month more then cable. Unless you can get public WiFi etc… Your stuck…. These ppl paying 20I per month how the Heck is that even possible.

  14. Heather

    DroidTV is great. Must have an android device. Amazon used to have it but it may be gone…Google it. 14 day free trial. I think pricing is around $12.99/3 months. I bought a lifetime subscription for $120 will never have to pay again. Has tons of old shows and almost every new show. Used to have HBO but they had to get rid of it…still has Showtime. You get your own personal DVR and can record anything you like on there. It’ll stay on your device for viewing even when offline. You can even cast it to your tv with a casting app and a smart tv or roku/chromecast/fire device. Plus is that they have AMAZING customer service and community that will help with ANY issues.

  15. Christina

    Cbs, abc, nbc, fox, and cw can be watched online for free. You do have to wait 1 week for some before can watch the latest episodes of each show and most do only 5 episodes of ea show then they are locked for paying subscribers only. Some devices don’t support apps from these providers and others do. I can get all the above except nbc & abc on my phone & cheap tablet. Laptop just go to website of each. I also check out movies from the library or watch my own library of movies. I just have basic internet & modem cost through centurylink & a prepaid phone through straighttalk.

  16. Gayla Wilson Patterson

    My husband only watches Golf Channel and Fox News. I love the channel Destination America. I guess will cut the cord when those are available on Sling. 🙁

  17. Bekah

    Our challenge is the ability to watch our beloved Orioles. The station that carries them, MASN, is only available through a cable subscription of one of the higher cost tiers. The MLB subscription through Roku has blackout on the local games, or they are available 90 minutes after the end of the game. I guess we could get used to watching a game the next day, but there is just something about watching it live! At this point, after baseball season, I downgrade to the basic cable for $20, then during the season, go back up to paying $80. That is very painful, though! Any tips you’ve run across for this? I also have to say our local radio affiliate stopped carrying the games, so we can get it from Baltimore, but it has some static. I am also wondering about the summer Olympics. We love to watch the continuous coverage during the day of some of the less-popular events. If we are without cable channels, I wonder how much we will get to watch.

    Thanks for the post on this topic. It has been helpful to see what everyone is doing!

  18. Rich

    There is a pretty neat app for android devices called mobdro. You wont find it in the play store. Go to https://www.mobdro.com to download it. It seems to be supported by adds but they dont appear on the programming it just forces you to watch one every now and then before you start warching a channel.

  19. TwinMama9

    For us, we would love to figure out how to get internet cheaper than $40/month. At&t U-verse isn’t in our area and neither is Google Fiber. Satellite internet is an option but it’s not cheaper than $40/month. We don’t have cable in order to keep the cost low. Cell phones are pre-paid and “non-smart.”

  20. Kaluria

    Cable free since we bought our home in 2007. Netflix streaming + dvds by mail, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube is plenty for us.

  21. Sam

    Get a MOHU LEAF! If you live in a city you get basic cable 30 plus channels for free! its 70 but well worth it!!

  22. Liz

    I cancelled Comcast Cable but kept Comcast internet. I use a Mohu antenna and get about 10 free channels. I use a Roku 2 where I also have Sling (LOVE), Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. We also have a Chromecast and PS4. I was nervous about cancelling cable but I’ve never regretted it for even one minute. Year, it’s a pain when you can’t see “your” show live but I watch so much less TV now and I love it!

  23. Carrie

    We cut cable years ago and haven’t looked back. We have Hulu, and Netflix and basic antenna. We stream to our TV using a Chromecast. We pay a bit more for better internet but not near as much as cable. We also have Amazon Prime so we get access to their TV library too. There are also great free apps out there for local stations like PBS Kids, or NBC, CW etc. We use those too. Honestly, I will never pay for cable again.

  24. Rachel

    We get Internet through xfinity and it’s only $10/mo because we have school age kids. It’s a nice program they have. We cut cable and pay $7.99 for Netflix (1 tv at a time, you can watch on 2 tv’s for $9.99), and $7.99 for Hulu. We paid $60 for 3mo of Slingtv which sent us a free Roku stick. I couldn’t be happier cutting cable. We save a ton!! We only pay $46/mo.!

    • Andrea

      How do you get the internet that cheap. Mine is much more and I have school age children. Is it a regional deal?

      • Rachel

        Check out internetessentials.com. Not sure if it’s available everywhere but doesn’t hurt to check it out. They sent me a modem with wifi and it’s a great service. No problems what so ever.

        • Andrea

          Great!! I will definitely check that out. Thanks

  25. Erin

    Can I just say that I hate Comcast. We have tried everything else and Comcast is the only option we have for Internet. We currently have the lowest cable and Internet at $100 and it kills me. But since I’ve been a costumer for years they will not offer me anything else. I even did the whole call up to cancel if I can’t get a lower price and they just said “ok”, so we canceled and tried att and frontier and Verizon. Non of which service our area. We used to get just Internet for $29.99 when we first signed up but Comcast ups your bill every 6 months to a year.

  26. Michelle

    We have Netflix and Amazon prime. We used to have an Apple TV. Over time it stopped working so we switched to using our laptop and plugging it right in to the tv with an HDMI cable which isn’t expensive. Most newer TVs and laptops have this input. We have found that this works best and usually don’t have trouble with buffering or an Internet connection that speeds up and slows down like we did with the Apple TV. I’ve found that we watch more of what we want instead of mindlessly watching cable and whatever comes on next. It is easy to binge watch a whole season though! I like Netflix because it is really cheap for what you get. After a while it seems like it’s hard to find something new and they add new things every few weeks/month. Netflix also had some really amazing series that are only Netflix originals. Amazon prime doesn’t have as good of selection but I think they are getting better. It’s worth it if you order a lot from Amazon. I haven’t had a Hulu subscription in a long time but from what I remember it was great for keeping up with what is actually on TV now. You can save so much money by using these services vs satellite. We’ve been doing this for the past 5 years and don’t regret it at all.

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