Is it possible to substantially cut cable TV costs?

Across the country, millions of Americans likely get their cable bills each month and marvel at how much they're being charged. Often, these monthly bills cost hundreds of dollars a month because they roll services like phone and internet into the mix, making it hard to divorce one from the other, and potentially save some money. However, for many Americans, getting rid of cable is a non-starter for a lot of reasons, but there may be ways to save with little disruption to their daily or weekly watching routines.

One of the easiest ways to do this, of course, is to stop paying more than $100 for cable, and instead switch to paying $10 or $15 per month for a number of streaming services. For instance, if a cable bill is $100 per month just for the basic package, switching to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and even things like HBO Now, or a mix of any or all of them may benefit consumers considerably on a monthly basis. Consumers might not have access to all the first-run shows they like to watch, but still, many cable shows can be watched in their entirety online, even without a cable subscription in some cases.

Why would this be wise?
The savings here can be substantial, and in a lot of cases, even people who are aggrieved by their big monthly cable bills are paying for those independent streaming services anyway. And even if they miss the first-run shows on occasion, they might want to keep in mind that a number of basic networks - ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, etc. - are still available for free over the air, and all they need is a relatively cheap antenna attachment even for their HD TV.

Further, because Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon all churn out their own independent shows, specials, and even movies on a regular basis, this provides further value for these services. Many of those shows are, in fact, critically acclaimed and quite popular with many audiences, so consumers who dump their cable or satellite providers might actually find new shows they like.

Potential worries
One of the big issues that people often have when they consider dumping cable actually doesn't have much to do with TV shows at all, but rather their access to live sports. But even still, it doesn't take specialized cable packages to access most of these games, and can often, in fact, be accessed via services such as Sling, which strike deals with some cable networks to live-stream broadcasts via a computer or smart device, so that even many sporting events can be accessed with relative ease and at a lower cost.

Consumers who can find the best combination of these new services that work for them will potentially be able to save hundreds of dollars per year. That money can, in turn, be devoted to paying down outstanding debts or building an adequate savings account, and put people on far better financial footing.

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