Howdy Frugal Friends! Today’s post is about one of my favorite past times, television. TV definitely has its drawbacks, but it has always been a way I can unwind. During the day it is usually turned off until I need to start dinner and the kids are about to wake up, but once the babies are in bed, I grab my load of laundry to fold and binge (Sorry not sorry!).
We cut cable a few years ago as a means to save money and it definitely helped. I didn’t really miss it much. With these suggestions, it is so easy to see your favorite shows without the hefty bill! So here are a few ways to watch your favorite shows without cable!
1. Buy them on DVD
This is by far the easiest and most cost effective way, in my opinion. If you spent most of your cable watching time viewing reruns of older shows, this just makes sense! My favorite show ever is Roseanne! I watched some episodes on Youtube for awhile, but they eventually came down. I got the whole series for $25! That was my “big” gift for Christmas that year, but I still watch this every night in bed before I go to sleep. For my birthday, my husband and parents went in on the Boy Meets World series, another favorite. I also enjoy shows like Golden Girls and Reba. For cost efficency, maybe you could ask for gift cards to purchase them or buy them a season at a time. This is probably more revelvant for older shows, but I know people still watch these on cable because my friends post themselves watching them constantly on social media. If you pay around $80 a month for cable just for these few shows, you are definitely wasting your money!
Hulu and I have a love hate relationship. Hulu has some of my favorite shows on here: 16 and Pregnant (don’t judge), Mindy Project, This is Us. They put up new specials frequently: Hairspray Live, Grease Live, Rocky Horror Picture Show (I love musicals, get over it.) The thing I do not like about Hulu is that I feel like they don’t keep those shows for as long. I know it probably has to do with their contract with networks and all, but it is a tad frustrating sometimes. One minute they have a whole season of a show and then the next minute they only have the last couple of seasons. It drives me a bit bananas. Not enough to cancel my subscription, mind you, but enough to make me feel like I need to watch something right away before it disappears forever!
Most people have Netflix, so this one is nothing new. Unlike Hulu though, Netflix doesn’t seem to have quite as many new shows. The other thing I don’t like is, the new shows they do have usually only get the new episodes added when the next season begins. For example: Supernatural. Season 10 does not stream until Season 11 premieres on CW. We are always a season behind. It’s great that we can watch it from the beginning, but a bit frustrating having to wait a whole season or year. Again, probably about contracts with networks, but depending on your favorite shows and how fast you can wait to watch, this may be a no go for you. I do love many of the Netflix original series though! Fuller House, Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, etc.
4. Network Websites
Another love/hate relationship. Some network websites allow you to watch series online or on their app. This is a great way to see new shows the next day, but it seems almost all have their downfalls. For instance, my husband loves The Flash. While the CW app does not require you to sign in with a network provider, it usually crashes 30 seconds into his show. MTV allows you to watch the new episodes of their shows for free, until the next one comes on, then you must sign in with a provider. So if you miss that episode, it’s gone. Unless you have Hulu where is shows up, what feels like, 10 years later. These are great if they work and you have the time to watch them within a few days of them airing.
While I have never used Sling, it seems to be a good alternative to cable. You can pick and choose packages ranging from $20 to $40. You can add on certain packages for $5-10. Be careful though, you can probably get cable for $80-120 a month with internet, depending on who you choose, which would likely include all the channels sling sells separately. If you have a certain few favorite networks and they are bundled together, it would certainly be worth it.
6. Amazon Video
Another way to watch some of your favorite shows would be Amazon video! If you have prime, some of your shows may be included, although none of mine are that aren’t already on my other subscriptions. I have purchased series from here, that I couldn’t find anywhere else for free and they are usually up the day after they air. This way, you get to keep them and watch them whenever. Here is a tip: purchase the series at the beginning of the season. The more episodes they add, the more the price goes up. So if you purchase season 2 after the first episode is available, you will pay less than if you buy once all that season’s episodes are on there. Make sense?
Most networks have Youtube accounts. You can buy the series on here as well. They are usually also a tad bit cheaper in my experience. They are usually 1.99 an episode, where Amazon charges 2.99 for the HD version.
If your favorite shows are on local channels like ABC, NBC, PBS, etc You may be better off buying an antenna and picking up local channels. We were paying $55 a month for the highest speed internet and basic channels were included. We rarely watched it, unless it was sports, holiday specials, or PBS kids, but an antenna may actually pick up more than that. They are also fairly inexpensive to buy, depending on which one, which is a definite plus!
As with everything, weigh out your options. If you find yourself doing all of the above to watch your favorite shows, buying cable each month might just actually save you money, especially if you are bundling it with other things, like internet and a cell phone. What do you do to watch your favorite shows without cable? Would you consider cutting cable for one of these? Let me know in the comments!
Have a blessed day, you guys!