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Is the Convenience of Cable Being Replaced by Subscription Chaos?

IAM-photography / Getty Images/iStockphoto
IAM-photography / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cutting the cord on cable used to be sound financial advice, akin to giving up that latte-a-day habit at your favorite specialty coffeehouse. But does cord-cutting still save money? Recent research suggests it may not.

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If you were to subscribe to the entire collection of top services, you’d spend $87 a month, according to a MNTN Research study. In 2022, those same services would only set you back $73. The average cable plan costs just $83 a month.

Five dollars a month may not seem like a lot. It’s roughly the same price as the aforementioned small specialty coffee. But when we cut the cord, we also abandon a level of convenience that comes with TV viewing: Use the remote and scroll until you find the show you want to watch.

Of course, streaming offers flexibility cable doesn’t deliver — unless you also pay for On Demand services. Streaming allows you to watch your favorite shows on-the-go, too, from any mobile device. Some cable companies now offer that capability as well, however.

In spite of the rising costs, most customers aren’t running back to cable, according to MNTN Research. But they are looking for other ways to reduce their in-home entertainment costs. Nearly half of the U.S. population, or 158.5 million customers, will choose to stream ad-supported content rather than pay a premium for ad-free viewing this year, according to the study. For instance, if you choose Netflix with ads, you can pay as little as $6.99 per month, versus $15.49 per month for the lowest tier ad-free plan.

Besides switching to ad-supported services, here are some other ways to reduce subscription chaos and save money on streaming in 2024.

Read: 13 Things To Stop Buying in 2024

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Frequently Review Your Subscription Choices

First, write down all the services you have and how much you pay. Then, write down your “must-see” shows on each service. Have other family members do the same. Decide which services you can cancel without missing your favorite content.

Remember, it’s easy to unsubscribe from a service and pick it back up with a click if they release a new show you want to see. Reviewing your viewing habits every few months can keep you from paying too much.

Look For Special Offers, Bundles and Free Trials

If there’s a service you want to try, take advantage of free trials for new customers. Also, keep an eye out for bundles and special offers. Verizon Wireless customers, for instance, may qualify for a free Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN bundle right now.

Purchase a Digital Antenna for Basic Cable and Local Channels

Pick up an affordable digital TV antenna to watch network television like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and others, as well as local TV stations. With the programming on these channels, you may find you can cancel a few streaming services without missing out.

Subscription creep occurs when we lose track of our monthly spending on subscription services, from software and apps to entertainment. Review these costs regularly to keep your household budget in check.

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This article originally appeared on Is the Convenience of Cable Being Replaced by Subscription Chaos?