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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!

Join The Discussion

Comments 316

  1. Steve

    I have a gentlemen who has access to Hulu Plus $100 gitcodes for $40 so I save more than half price on my Hulu Plus subscription! If anyone is interested send me an email

  2. JA

    Does anyone without cable/satellite ever have issues with losing signal, lagging or buffering? I just can’t stand when it pixelates or skips. I would rather go without😑.

    • Kelly A.

      What type of device are you streaming through? Roku? DVD player?
      Sometimes that happens with certain devices that you’re streaming to. We had bought a new DVD player that we also use for streaming Netflix, etc. to our TV. We replaced an old one that did not skip/buffer, so we knew that it was the DVD player. We returned it right away and bought another brand and that one was fine.
      Also, we have owned both Roku (regular and stick) and Netgear brand. The Roku has never skipped, whereas the Netgear will skip. So, if anyone is looking to buy a streaming device, I would highly recommend the Roku (even a little older model will do) over the Netgear or Google Chromecast brands. Also, the Sony was the DVD player that skipped, and the Samsung was the 2nd one purchased that did not skip. Good luck and happy savings!

    • Amanda

      We have been using roku for a year and never have had that problem. The only issue we have is the reception from our antenna on really bad weather days.

  3. Eve

    We got Roku and Wii. Both can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Youtube etc. you just have to connect it to the internet. We watch almost everything on Youtube specially kids educational shows! Its so easy to stream with Roku. With movies, it is cheaper to rent movies (at least $1.99+ or free for Amazon Prime) for a day rather than going to cinemas and paying for tickets. You can watch a movie on your preferred time and seat on your comfy sofa at home. Other option is to connect your laptop to your TV through HDMI cable or wireless HDMI. You can search the web and watch anything on your TV. 👌🏼

  4. Heather

    We have Direct TV, so that we can have unlimited data though AT&T on our cellphones. We called to cancel our regular cable, but it’s cheaper through them to get a cable/internet package. W are still saving $ in the long run though, because we can no longer go over data on our cellphones, and our Direct TV package, Internet, & cable are cheaper than we were paying before.

  5. Brittany

    We just got rid of Directv back in December. We use Amazon Prime, Netflix, Youtube, and our dvds for entertainment. We also use the free codes for Redbox. We have saved about $40 a month. We have U-verse internet and it works beautifully. We haven’t missed cable at all and I don’t foresee us ever going back!

    • Brittany

      We stream everything through our X-box 360 and Wii, by the way.

  6. Sherica

    I cut cable now we have just internet for $9.95 with internet essentials from comcast for students who receive free lunch. We use netflix, hulu and other free websites. this is tax free so you only pay $9.95 which you can’t beat!

    • William

      Most people won’t qualify for this entitlement program. We pay taxes so that you can enjoy cheap access. You’re welcome!!!

      • Jennifer

        A lot of us that do have children that qualify for free lunch do pay taxes. Being a mother that works 40+ hours a week with 2 associates degrees and working towards a bachelors, and that qualifies for government assistance, I find that comment very offensive. Don’t judge a situation you don’t know anything about. Thank you Sherica for sharing. I knew nothing about that program and will definately look into it.

      • Allison

        This program also includes children who receive reduced lunch. The parents income can not exceed almost $45000 in my state for a household of 4. There are many parents that I know that work, PAY TAXES, and do not make over that amount! Please do not judge others until you “walk in their shoes”!

  7. Tiffany P

    Personally we have Roku, Amazon Fire along with Netflix & HuluPLUS…. my honey loves tech stuff, lol! We pay the little extra for Hulu ($2 I think) to have no commercials (except on CBS shows) and overall I like it much better than paying an enormous amount to cable.
    The only downfall is really not getting HGTV but overall I prefer how we have it set up

    • mumm

      Try sling on your streaming device for content like that. We have and we love it.

    • Heidi

      Hey Tiffany, Roku recently added the HGTV channel in just the last week or so. It is a free channel if you have Internet found in the channel store. You can probably find it by just typing HGTV in. You can watch HGTV live anytime or go straight to your favorite shows like Fixer Uppers or House Hunters & choose any episode. I love HGTV too & was so Excited to find this! 🙂

  8. Erin

    Those of you that got rid of cable how do you handle live sports? That is our only hesitation in getting rid of cable TIA

    • Tiffany A.

      Erin, sling has espn channels. It’s a “live” streaming tv. I believe it costs $20/month. Also, if you put up an antenna, you should be able to receive common channels like NBC/CBS/ABC/FOX.

    • Ashley

      We went with Sling TV and added the sports package. We also bought an antenna that hangs on the wall and picks up ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and a few more.

      • Erin

        Thank you Ashley & Tiffany! Hoping to go cable free soon!

  9. Krissy

    I still have cable. My company, Comcast says I get a better deal if have cable and Internet together. What are most people paying for Internet?

    • Ellen

      Im in NY, have internet thru Cablevision, its $55/month, which they say is discounted with the cable.

  10. Amanda

    We paid for an antenna, and roku stock ($45 total). We have amazon prime that we share with my mom, hulu and netflix. We love the library for new release movies and some shows we can’t get. We have more tv to watch now than we did when we has cable. We don’t miss it at all!!

  11. Keri

    Forgive me if anyone asked this, I didn’t read through. I would love to get rid of cable except my husband is a sports fanatic. Any suggestions?

    • Laura

      We buy the MLB. Subscription. Only thing is – the blackouts for your local team

  12. Ellen

    Help please – what are the differences between Hulu and Netflix? Will I be able to watch new episodes on Hulu like I would on cable tv – like walking dead (hubs loves the show). TIA

    • Laura

      Livestream AMC to our Apple TV and my boys watch the walking dead that way

  13. Jess

    I get Hulu gift cards on eBay and get the Showtime add on. I get the gift cards, which are good for $96 for about $20. We also have Netflix for now. I think we’ll get rid of it soon. We watch this on Roku.

  14. Susie

    Wow, flashback to my childhood. We had an antenna to pick up the local ABC, CBS, NBC, & PBS. When satellite and cable were finally available in the rural area we live in, everybody signed up. That was the 1980’s. It looks like many are making the choice to return to that, interesting, it’s free!

  15. chilichant

    I personally made a huge shift years ago. I don’t even own a TV now, (but somehow I seem to catch all the important stuff). I watch Hulu not Hulu plus. My favorite show is SouthPark and a few others, which are free, so I dropped Hulu + years ago. I did Netflix for a while, but found that I binged on shows…and I didn’t like that behavior. Now I live on YouTube and twitter. Love love both to the max. I get 100% of my news from twitter…and various live feeds. I get all of my RedBox current movies for entertainment…but now I actually go to more theater showings than ever before.

    I also ditched the cable company…and for years I have been using my cell data plan as my streaming WiFi. First with RawData (on your post ) for $50 mth using an app called from June Fabrics. Now I have T-Mobile unlimited pre-paid for $80 mth…and it truly is unlimited. You get 7Gs of hotspot data…I watch most things on my phone…so the 7Gs for my laptop/tabbie work great.

    I don’t spend much time vegging anymore and I feel much better. Hope this inspires someone else to look outside the box for entertainment options. I love the money that I save. Collin inspired the switch years ago…❤🐶❤thank you H2S

  16. dre

    Netflix and hulu have tons of shows and movies to stream. For an additional charge you can get Netflix dvds delivered to your house for movies that aren’t streaming… Hulu has the more current shows and you are able to watch them a few days later from the original airdate. I have both but also got Amazon Prime so am now considering cancelling Hulu since we recently bought an antenna and now I can see the current shows. Hope this helps.

  17. pat

    I get my Hulu+ for free every month by doing Bing searches!

    • W

      @Pat, can you share with us how to get Hulu + by doing Bing searches???

    • Laura

      I do the same! 😀

  18. Amelia

    We have an Amazon Prime and stream it, along with Sling and Netflix through our Firebox. The cost is $129 per year for Amazon services. It is hard to break down which component is for TV because we use Amazon Music and free Prime shipping often, in addition to it for movies and TV shows. Sling is $25 per month, as we pay an extra $5 per month for the kids package. We will also spring for the extra $15 per month for HBO through Sling when Game of Thrones begins. We have Netflix for $10 per month. With our internet, this totalso roughly $80 per month. This seems like a lot, but it was the best combo I could come up with which allowed access to AMC, ESPN, and Disney.

  19. Mary

    We cut the cord to cable and watch our internet usage. When we get close to our internet limit, we stop watching and do other things. Amazon Prime has been our go to as we buy many items from them and the free shipping is amazing. For other stations, we watch on our tablet or phone. PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN all have apps that stream shows. It is really nice to watch when you want to watch.

  20. Amber

    I purchased a Roku and use Sling TV. It is so worth it because Sling is $20 per month and you get free channels/apps from the Roku. The deal I got was if you paid 3 months in advance for Sling, you got the Roku stick for free! I also went old school for local channels….I bought a flat indoor antenna that picks up stations 50 miles away! It was $40, but that is a one time purchase and I get a lot of local channels.

  21. stacy

    I sell jailbroken firesticks. I charge 150. As long as you have an hdmi port and wifi you can stream any movie, TV show or live TV shows. You never pay any other fees. If it streams anywhere on the Internet you can watch it. It is extremely easy to use. You can search through genera or date released or even search actors or titles. That is all we use now. If anyone is interested email me at I can even email back a video of me using it to show how user friendly it is.

    • Lelee

      FYI, that is an outrageous price for a jail broken firestick. We bought ours for $70.

      • Jen

        how does this work? isnt this kinda illegal?

    • bob

      They sell loaded on Ebay for $60. Your price is embarrassing.

  22. carnini31

    Roku is an internet device, you can use it to connect to the internet and use apps to wathc stuff. If you pay for netflix or amazon or the likes you can use the roku to watch them on the roku.

  23. minify


  24. CarolH

    As an additional source of movies we also use Hoopla. It’s available through a lot of library systems and free.

  25. Lori

    Can you get AMC on roku ?

    • Laura

      We live stream AMC from our computer so they can watch their walking dead

  26. Lelee

    We just got rid of cable last week! I’m having a rough time adjusting, but it’s getting better 😂 we have antennas for regular channels, Amazon prime and firestick, Hulu and sling. I think we’re going to cut Hulu though, we don’t get enough use out of it. Still trying to figure out how to watch E! ( I’m having withdrawals 😭)

    • kellyfornia

      I tried Hulu a year and a half ago and just couldn’t adjust so I went back to cable. Well, my bill is going up almost $50 because my promotional contract is up. So I’m going to get a Firestick/Sling and try it again. I’m hoping my kids will be able to watch their favorite Nickelodeon and Disney shows. I like the Real Housewives of (everywhere) and lots of HGTV shows. Hoping it all works out!

  27. Jenn

    Web don’t have cable, but we have a slingbox on a cable box at my parents house. We can log online or use the slingbox app on our Roku to log in, and then we can control the cable box at their house on the TV at our house. There is a slight delay when changing channels with the on screen remote, but otherwise we can watch anything on their cable. We got it so my parents could watch TV while babysitting at our house, but we definitely use it other times too! We most often use Hulu, and also Netflix and Amazon prime.

  28. Jen

    You can get a hulu gift card on amazon for a year of service. I got mine on there for $25!! Netflicks is good for movies. Anyone got a free option using roku?

    • Laura

      I do bing rewards for our Hulu and pay nothing. We cut cable in November. We AirPlay the local news – so I don’t have to miss anything important. The only out of pocket is Netflix.
      I bought 2 – Apple TV 4s. And 1 Apple TV 3 for our basement.
      Best decision I’ve made in a long time

  29. Jess

    I have been watching some terrific shows free on She has lots of shows including Poldark, Reign, Outlander, Sherlock, the Complete seasons of Downton Abbey. Lots of great BBC and PBS series. I don’t know how it is all free and legal, but after watching for a few years and she is still posting these programs I suppose it is. Go to her website and click on Favorites and the show titles appear.

  30. jim

    After my daughter was born we cut cable for a little while, then I found a deal with the cable company that literally allowed me to add tv to my internet for only $10 more a month. That has run out though so ill be canceling soon.

    We already have Prime and Netflix and i will likely add sling to watch Espn. My biggest previous issue was we did not get CBS where i live over the air. However my local news station just added it so now i get everything. I have to have my football. Go Bills!

  31. Julie

    Don’t forget to check if your local library uses Overdrive! It’s a free app where you can watch movies for free from your library!

  32. stephanie

    Does anyone recommend a certain type/brand of antenna? We are cutting cable at the end of this month!

    • ercin13

      I have a winegard and it works great. There are others I am sure that work just as good

  33. Nickyleey

    LOVE these ideas me it’s such a timely topic for us as we are looking to cut the cord! We have multiple TVs in the house. Is it possible to buy one antenna for multiple TVs? Or does each TV need a separate antenna?

    • Laura

      Each TV needs one

      • ercin13

        You only need one antenna, you will need a splitter that has an outlet for each tv. Usually you can use the splitter and wires that the cable or dish company was using.

  34. Elsa

    I would like to know how to get access to cooking shows on food network cheaper than paying for cable tv. Thanks.

    • mumm

      Sling TV.

  35. Katherine

    We cut out cable and internet last year. We bought an antenna from Wal-Mart for around $13. We have straight talk phones and use the internet that way. We are saving over $150 a month. It was a major adjustment at first but we have learned to live with it and are hooked on shows on cbs.

    • Laurel

      Do you pay for CBS all access?

      • Katherine

        No, we don’t pay for anything. We just watch the regular CBS.

  36. chilichant

    Elsa, have you tried doing a search on❤🐶? Search cooking , and also search your fav chefs.

  37. mrspike

    What do you do for local weather alerts such as sever weather

  38. Sarah

    We cut the cable cord 2.5 years ago when my husband started medical school. We have amazon fire tv stick…it gives us access to hulu, netflix, and prime tv for current tv shows, whole seasons, and movies. We use an hd annteae for live shows/sports. Our subscription/internet costs are $65 a month total, as opposed to the $150 we were paying before.

  39. Maegan

    How good is Sling? I would have dumped cable long ago but we are big sports fans.

  40. Delilah

    We bought an Amazon Fire Stick that plugs into your TV from there you access Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and some free apps like Pluto & Crackle. We only pay for Prime Videos through Amazon and Netflix, away cheaper than TV.

  41. Si

    I don’t really have time for tv but we do have a Roku and an Xbox One we can stream when I do get a chance to watch. I pay for Netflix which is $7.99 a month. We use Vudu if we want to rent a movie. We are big NFL fans so we get the NFL Sunday ticket through our Xbox one and I’m a student so I get a discount on the Sunday Ticket. I’m not sure if cable providers offer a student discount but you could always ask. You need a current student email ending in .edu

    • Sandra

      I did not know you could do the nfl ticket through Xbox!!! Thanks!

  42. Dave D.

    About 3 years ago we installed an antenna to pick up over the air (OTA) TV signal from 30 miles away. With the most basic $35 antenna we get all but one channel reliably.
    To supplement our access to movies we also purchased Hulu Plus. My kids get more than enough cartoons from PBS, Hulu and local library.

    We discovered that we don’t miss the cable. And Hulu Plus gives us access to all OTA programs that we may have missed during the week usually 24 hours after a show airs on TV.

    As far as streaming goes: invest a little bit into a streaming stick: Roku/Amazon ($40)/Google ($30) or bump up to a dedicated equipment. Roku 3 has a very nice remote that will allows on plugging in headphones. This way one of us gets to watch TV without disturbing the other spouse if we wish to do so.

    As far as internet goes: 3Mbps connection in theory suffices. However it may not be as pleasurable or easy to watch. To put it bluntly AT&T’s cheapest internet is not good enough. And it is grossly overpriced for the service offered. If you can – go with a basic cable internet. For example Comcast in my neighborhood offers a basic package at more than 3 times the speed of AT&T’s basic and at the same price. You shouldn’t run afoul of any limitations from cable company if you watch 5 hours of streamed TV daily – just remember to push a stop/home button at the end of watching. (One thing to note – buy a cable modem on eBay to save additional $5 as cable provider will charge you for renting you equipment.)

    Like I said above – we are happy with the current setup and now I just keep telling cable TV companies every month that I just don’t care for cable channels and assault of commercials that these push.

  43. Cece

    We use Netflix and Hulu commercial free through the Amazon Fire stick. I will never pay for cable ever again. Such a waste of money.

  44. patty

    We use the Roku and we get slammed TV and watch free channels from the Roku and we like it and we have Netflix

  45. mmo

    Hulu and Graboid

  46. Crystal

    Hubby and I are both huge MLB baseball fans. (Go Cubbies!)
    Any tips on how to get rid of cable but still watch out sports?!

    • JA

      From what I gather, big sports fans really have no choice. ESPN is available on most platforms if that’s good enough for you. But if you love your hometown teams(and I do too!) You need cable or satellite to watch them on a regular basis. The MLB and NHL subscription packages will black out your local team although you can watch the NHL games the next day. Big whoop when you already know the score. We currently have a Dish package where we get our local teams (Root Sports Pittsburgh in our case) ESPN, ESPN2, MLB, NBA, NHL Network, and NBCSports plus some others, CNN, Weather, Food, A&E and locals for $52 a month plus tax, etc. They don’t advertise the package anywhere but my husband called ready to cancel on the spot and managed to get exactly what we want. I wish it was even cheaper, but I’m so happy that I can watch my teams.

  47. miss.tess

    We cut cable about 6 months ago and have been using Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. I don’t think I could survive without Sling because I’m a cable junkie at heart and this is the next best thing. I added the entertainment package to our Sling membership so we pay $25ish each month, plus the $7.99 for the Netflix, and the $11.99 for Hulu without commercials. Not bad.

  48. Maria

    Netflix. I don’t need anything else. From time to time my friend shares her Amazon prime to be on the same page in shows but I’ll stick to Netflix

  49. Sandra

    I have been inspired to cut the cable tomorrow! Football season is basically over for us anyhow so yay. 🙂

  50. Christopher Wilson

    To answer the questions in the post:

    The device connects to the internet over wifi. If you do not have a wifi router, you will either need to buy one or check with your isp to see if they offer a free router.. You will also want to make sure your connection is fast enough. Netflix recommends 3 mb per second for SD and 5 mbps for HD. You can check your speed at

    Which device to choose is personal choice. If you go with a roku, get the 3 or 4, don’t touch the others, they are slow and outdated. The 4 is most likely overkill for your needs so I would go with the 3.

    If you get an apple tv, don’t cheap out and get the old one as its completely different. The old one does not have an APP store which means you’re stuck only with the included content sources.

    Whichever device you get, make sure it supports the services (like netflix, hulu, amazon prime) you wish to stream before buying.

    Your internet cost shouldn’t increase unless you don’t have a router in which case your isp may charge a rental fee. Some internet providers have a data cap where you get cut off or charged overages after passing that threshold (these charges are pure money grabbing unless you have internet through satellite). Comcast has one in a lot of areas, I think its 300GB.

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