Cable TV is no longer a luxury as much as it is a necessity. Who doesn’t want to keep up with the Kardashians, or watch zombies roaming the Georgia hillsides in “The Walking Dead” or see what kind of terror and misery is waiting inside a “Hoarders” house? The only problem is that if you’re on a budget, it might be hard to justify spending money on something that you don’t actually need. There are a few ways to save money on cable though, you just have to know a thing or two about manipulating the Internet in your favor or just being really good at using search engines.
In the U.S., cable providers are required to offer a basic cable option that is subject to government price control. Normally, this package is less than $20 a month, but since cable providers try to avoid selling a package this cheap, it won’t be found on their website. The packages go up from there and begin to include more and more channels and better options as the price rises. Make sure you search out all the different cable companies in your area, because the more competitive things are, the better the rates will be. Companies have to stay up to speed with each other so they know the best way to keep customers coming their way instead of the competition. If you’re equally knowledgeable about what a direct rival is offering, you’re more likely to come away with a better deal.
Instead of doing the legwork on your own, there are a couple of options out there that will do it for you. Websites like whitefence.com teach people how to seek out the best deal on just about everything, but there is an entire section dedicated solely to TV. There are a number of sites like that all over the Internet, too. Everyone wants to give the best service for the best price, but that’s not always possible.
If you don’t mind being a few seasons behind on things, one option for cheap cable TV is Netflix. For a monthly price that’s much lower than installing cable, you can watch thousands of hours of television shows. There are multiple downsides to that option, though. Netflix doesn’t have everything, they’re generally at least a season behind what’s currently airing, they don’t have new episodes and they’re bound to remove a program without any warning. If you’re in the middle of an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” marathon and they need room for something new, your show may be on the chopping block. Then you’ll be back to square one all over again.
iTunes is another option for cable TV, but it’s mostly the opposite of cheap. Episodes are individually priced somewhere between 99 cents and $1.99 each and full season subscriptions can cost around $20 for each show. Hulu is mostly for network shows, and it’s still about the same monthly fee as Netflix – and it has ads. HBOGo only works if you already have an account with a cable company that includes HBO.
Cable companies will offer different packages for different prices. There’s nothing out there in the vein of a “build your own channel package” yet, but that’s most likely not far off. Keep checking the companies’ sites and calling them. Don’t be afraid to haggle with them either. You never know, it may work in your favor and soon enough everything will be coming up Millhouse.