How To Watch Your Favorite Shows Without Paying for Cable

Couple in living room watching televisionOne surprising cost you’ll find when you move into your first apartment is your cable bill. Usually providers link it with Internet, which is helpful, but you usually end up spending a lot more for TV than anything else.

Here’s your guide to keep up with your favorite shows/encourage your TV habit/stay a couch potato without breaking the bank.

Netflix: $7.99 – $11.99 per month + first month free

The basic package ($7.99) has everything you need. Upgrading allows you to watch in HD and have Netflix running on multiple screens at the same time. Netflix features new movies and keeps up pretty well with TV shows, BUT (it’s a big but) they don’t upload shows until the season is over.

Hulu Plus: $7.99 per month + first week free

Hulu Plus offers every episode of current TV shows plus some movies as well. Check out their TV show offerings before you subscribe to make sure they post what you watch. BUT there are ads when you watch.

Amazon Prime: $99 per year

Amazon Prime offers some TV shows and movies for you to stream for free. These shows generally aren’t mainstream, but would be great for you to get started in something new. The movie offerings are pretty good too. Plus, when you break it down, it only costs $8.25 per month (and you get free 2-day shipping on almost all Amazon purchases).

Broadcast TV: free

Another option that more young people are considering is ditching cable altogether. What some of us don’t know (myself included until recently) is that you don’t need cable to watch TV! There are stations whose broadcasts your TV can receive for free. These channels depend on your location, but usually cover the basic major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS) plus some other fun ones. Check your local listings here.

Network websites: free

Most big network websites (think ABC, CBS, NBC etc.) have a website where they post free content. Granted, these episodes are usually posted a day or two after they air on TV, but if you’re patient this is a free option with an Internet connection.

Most of these suggestions require an Internet connection to make the most of it, but most subscriptions are much less expensive when you get rid of the cable TV portion.

Giving up cable is definitely possible. I’m doing it at school this year and I don’t miss cable (or a big payment) at all. If you really want HBO or some sports offerings, call your cable company and tell them exactly what you want. They may be willing to work with you to get rid of channels that you don’t watch and just keep what you do watch. If they don’t work with you, you can drop it all and use some other options.

Do you use anything else to keep up with TV without a big cable bill? Let us know!

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar Destinee

    Amazon is only $49.99 a year if you have an “.edu” email address, so basically if you’re a college student!

  2. Avatar Falling Water Apartments

    This is GREAT. All of the tenants at our all bills paid apartment complex already have cable but this kind of defeats the whole purpose in a way. It is great because people can choose which option is best for them, and if they do not want all bills paid and still want to watch TV i can show them this article. Perfect, thanks.