Cut the cable: Alternatives that save cash

It's been three years since Jason and I cut the cable and I don't think we have once regretted it. Not only has it helped save us a lot of money it also helps us control what our children watch and who markets what to them. (I really hope that sentence made sense!)

Today I wanted to delve into some alternatives to cable and satellite that might save you some cash. 

1. Antenna.

We got this RCA multidirectional antenna  from Amazon for about $25. It sits on our TV stand and we can pick up all of our local channels as well as PBS and a few smaller weather channels. 

My parents use an outdoor antenna with the same results.

Pro: Antennas are VERY inexpensive in the grand scheme at about $25. 

Cons. Not all antennas work for every home. Obviously if you live in the mountains a small antenna that sits on your table ain't gonna cut it. So trial and error, people. Trial and error. 

2. Set top box.

A streaming device like Roku or Amazon Fire stick are perfect for the numerous streaming programs now available. 

Pros: A lot of "free" channels are available on boxes like Roku. Channels like PBS, PBS Kids and Crackle, which shows movies with limited commercials. 

You can also stream YouTube on these devices as well. 

Cons: Each box is different as to what services it will and won't let you use. For example you cannot stream Amazon Prime on Apple TV because it competes with iTunes rentals. 

3. Streaming services

Amazon Prime. For just $99 a year you can get a TON of movies, TV shows and other great features through Amazon. 

If you don't know what all is available through your prime membership you can read a post I wrote about it a few weeks ago

Pro: Lots of bonus features like two day shipping on Amazon orders, free books and unlimited music. 

Cons: You pay $99 all up front. Content seems older and limited. 

Netflix. We all know (and love Netflix). For just $7.99 a month you can watch as many TV shows and movies as you want. And the original content is good too. 

Pros: A great value at just $7.99 a month and totally commercial free. 

Cons: You do have to wait for a season to end it's current run to watch it. 

Hulu. This is another one that runs just $7.99. There are tons of great TV shows you can watch just the day after they air. Plus you can cancel at any time. 

Pros: Near-immediate access to new, hit shows. 

Cons: Commercials. Yup, you are paying $7.99 a month to watch content with commercials. But you can upgrade to commercial free for just $4 more a month. 

Sling. For $20 a month and NO contract you can stream live cable channels. You get access to TNT, ESPN, Disney, Food network. The list goes on. So it's all your favorite channels for a fraction of cable. 

Pros: Again, way cheaper than cable and you can watch LIVE SPORTING EVENTS! This is perfect for Football season. 

Cons: You do watch commercials. And depending on your internet connection it can buffer for long periods of time. 

As you can see there are a LOT of alternatives to pricy cable and satellite plans. 

What about you? Have you cut the cord? 

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