Is it time to cheat on your cable provider?
Source: Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Is it time to cheat on your cable provider?

There are some hot options out there… and none of them ask you to be exclusive.

But sometimes deciding between TV subscription options can feel more complicated and stressful than making a McDonald’s drive thru order with a minivan full of elementary school soccer team players. “I’ll take a number Netflix, with a side of HBO Max… add Hulu Live TV, and hold the ads… oh wait, Jimmy says he NEEDS to have at least a couple ads, but Nancy only wants My Little Pony ads.”  And no, our own Paycheck’s didn’t benefit from these suggestions – they’re just our honest opinion!

For the sports fan:

For the avid sports lover who likes to watch basketball, football, soccer, hockey, golf, and even Olympic trials, FuboTV Ultra is a one-stop-shop for all your sports content needs.

You get access to six regional PAC12 channels, seven BEIN sports channels, three Fox college sports channels, NBA TV, NFL Network, and even games in 4K. You won’t miss a local game, a professional game out of network, or all of the sports gossip in between. The Ultra package costs $79 a month and also comes with more than 140 other channels and DVR so you still get access to other news, sitcoms, and movies.   

For the budget-conscious:

For those who like to watch TV but don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars just to get the right channels, there is a FREE option on the market called Pluto TV. The only catch is that you have to watch ads, and most of the TV shows aren’t showing in real-time. Pluto TV offers a pretty great value with content from more than 100 channels, including the NFL Network, MTV, Comedy Central, CNN, Fox Sports, Nickelodeon, and more. 

You won’t see the newest Dancing With The Stars episode as soon as it comes out, but you can still see previous episodes of the shows you love and binge-watch your favorite classic movies.

There’s a western movie channel, a Forensic Files channel, and even one dedicated to Fear Factor reruns. Add Pluto TV to a Netflix subscription and you’ve got just about every TV show or movie you’ll need for less than $10 a month. 

For the whole shebang:

Some of us just want a ton of channels and content. Maybe you like to watch Jeopardy with the kids during the week, enjoy a classic movie on Saturday afternoons, watch sports on the weekends, and binge reality show reruns on sick days.

To get the benefits of a traditional cable package plus all the shows you watch, the best option is likely to subscribe to YouTube TV for your basic needs and add on other subscriptions you really want. 

For $50 a month, you get 63 of the top 100 channels, including all four major networks: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. You also get unlimited DVR storage. Add $9 for Netflix and $15 for HBO, and you’re still paying half the amount of a monthly cable package with the same channels.

For the few:

If you like to binge episodes of Hoarders and watch Game of Thrones reruns, but not much in between, then you should consider buying just the channels you watch for the cheapest option.

The best option for streaming TLC without a cable subscription is called Philo, which gives you 58 channels for $20 a month. The service comes with other favorites like Food Network, DIY, HGTV, Lifetime and the ID channel. That plus an HBO Now subscription would put you at a whopping… $35 a month.

If all your shows happen to be on one network, then you’re in luck and could pay VERY little to watch TV. If all you watch is Survivor, Big Brother, Blue Bloods and The Young in the Restless, then your entirely monthly TV bill would be just $6/month or $9/month for no commercials (CBS All Access).

Why aren’t traditional cable packages on this list?

The benefit of TV subscriptions is that you don’t have to rent a cable box, pay for setup, or deal with all the hidden fees of cable. With a subscription, you can watch TV from pretty much any device, at any time, instantly after signing up. Not to mention, you don’t have to sign a long-term contract and worry about paying a cancellation fee.

Will we see $0 subscriptions?

Pluto TV is the only decent free TV service we could find, but an increase in competition will likely drive down prices from other providers.

Remember when trading stocks online used to cost almost $10 every time you wanted to buy shares? Today, nearly every major online brokerage now offers commission-free trades because of new platforms like Robinhood that let you buy and sell stocks for free. Thanks to marketplace competition, online brokers had to find ways to make money elsewhere.

Could streaming services lower prices and eventually get to $0 as online trading did? Time will tell, but an increase in competition is definitely a good thing and likely to drive down prices. Perhaps there will come a day when cable becomes as obsolete as rabbit ears.

Keep track of it all:

Five dollars here and ten dollars there can really add up when you can’t count all of your TV subscriptions on one hand. As we become more of a subscription-based economy, it’s important to keep a close eye on how much you’re spending each month. helps you keep track of your finances, including subscriptions, their due date, how much you’re saving and investing, and if you’re spending more or less each month. Set a monthly spending limit so you don’t go subscription-happy and overspend just because Disney Plus and Apple TV premiered in the same month. 

Managing your money from a simple app on your phone is a great way to see your finances at a glance. Even better, Truebill also helps you manage subscriptions and cancel ones you forgot about or just don’t use all that much.

We’re committed to helping you navigate the choppy waters of TV subscriptions and much more. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for tips, tricks and a few laughs that always put your Paycheck first.

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