How-to: Watch TV Without Breaking The Bank

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It’s that time of year again. Kids are going  back to school, days are getting shorter, and the temperature is slowly dropping. What are you to do now? That’s easy! Get ready to watch all the great TV you can over the next 9 months. The only problem is that Cable is expensive. Woefully so. It can be tough to justify spending close to $200 a month when you only watch a handful of channels. Here are some workarounds to save some money while still enjoying your favorite shows.

What You Will Need   An Internet connected TV, and/or a tablet, and/or a laptop

Get a Subscription   HuluPlus and Netflix  offer a lot of bang for their buck. Both services have extensive TV libraries accessible on your TV, Tablet, Smartphone, or Computer for only $7.99 per month. While  you generally have to wait a year for Netflix to get current seasons, Hulu Plus lets you watch new episodes the day after they air. What better way to keep up with hit TV shows from Fox, NBC, ABC, and other networks. Some of my favorite shows on Hulu Plus are: New Girl, The Following, Family Guy, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, Modern Family, and Scandal. For a full list of available programming visit Hulu’s Website. hulunetflix

Watch Online   When it comes to the big networks a lot of content is readily available on their website after it airs. If you don’t mind watching your favorite show on your laptop this may be your cheapest option. Some shows that I have regularly watched online in the past are: How I Met Your Mother, Survivor, Modern Family, and The Big Bang Theory.

Share a password with a loved one   So maybe you don’t feel like dishing out the big bucks for an all inclusive cable service, but a family member of yours does. By sharing an account you will have access to a slew of content you wouldn’t otherwise have. If that person has HBO as part of their subscription you will too by using the HBO Go App. If their package includes ESPN you will also have the whole wide world of sports at your fingertips with the WatchESPN app.  Not to mention all of the on demand content that is available via the Comcast Xfinity or Time Warner Cable App. You might be bypassing the system a bit but if you have a generous friend or relative take advantage.

But what if you are a sports fan? Services like NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB.TV, and NHL GameCenter are great options for those who live far away from their favorite teams but if you are inside your local team’s coverage zone you are out of luck. The way I see it you have three undesirable options.

First, you could go to your local bar or restaurant every time you want to see your team play. The problem with this is how expensive it is. To the point where it might be cheaper to just fork over the money to the cable company.

Next, you could try to stream the sporting events online. There are many websites out there that promise to let you watch the game you want. While some may prefer to go this route, quality isn’t guaranteed. Watching less than HD content that may or may not cut out at a pivotal moment isn’t a chance I would be willing to take.

That’s why my recommendation is to get a bare bones TV package from your provider of choice. For example, for the upcoming NFL season I have a $60 per month Comcast plan without a contract. With the vast majority of my favorite team’s games being played on CBS, FOX, and NBC, I can pay a cheap price and have access to 14/16 of my teams games. A bonus to this is that as long as I keep this package I can watch a lot of my favorite shows like The Walking Dead hassle free right through my cable box. I can watch all my favorite programming for the low price of $60 (Comcast bill) + $7.99 (Hulu Plus) = $67.99 per month. Considering I was paying over $140 a month just a year ago these workarounds are not only easy to implement, but they save a lot of money in the process.

Everyone’s TV needs are different and this plan may not work perfectly for you. I am confident that with a little time and effort you can find a solution that fits your needs.

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