Living room with large screen television.

Reducing Your Monthly Cable or Satellite Television Expense

Home entertainment costs are a big portion of the monthly budget for many familites. People are often reluctant to "cut the cord" on cable or satellite television because, all in all, it's a relatively affordable form of entertainment. Here are some ideas on how to lower your monthly television bill.

Shop around and compare.  Call your current cable or satellite company and see if you can get a better price on your services. Don’t be shy to let them know you’re shopping around. This may make them more inclined to offer you a deal. Be prepared for a long telephone conversation.

Consider cancelling unnecessary services.  Do you really need premium movie channels?  Or premium sports packages that allow you to watch all the games?  If your budget is tight, these premium channels are luxuries that you can probably do without for awhile.  At least until you have more room in your budget .

Explore other options such as Netflix, Roku, Apple TV or similar services.  Do you have to see your favorite shows or movies right away?  List your favorite TV chanlels and the shows you watch regularly.  Then do a little online research to find out whether those shows appear on the channel’s streaming sites (such as,, etc.) or on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon or YouTube.  You may be able to watch what you want for less money than you're paying today.

A digital antenna allows you to watch local channels without cable or satellite.  There are challenges with a digital antenna.  It's hard to choose the right antenna and, as in real estate, it’s location, location, location that affects reception. A great website for more information is, which is sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Broadcasters.

One drawback to most of the above options is that you need wireless Internet. Though this may add a new expense to your budget, it is generally cheaper than most extended cable or satellite packages. Don’t let that be a hindrance in your motivation to cut the cord – just compare the costs. It may not take long to see the savings.

Still skeptical that these small changes won’t make that much a difference to your budget? Here’s a great example of a writer who is saving almost $1,000 a year!

Another idea is to turn off the TV.  Go for a walk, sit on the deck, visit your neighbors, do a jigsaw puzzle, play cards or just get out of the house. All free and good for you, but often very difficult to put into action, especially in cold weather months.