Hey there! Are you wondering what's a good alternative to cable TV so that you can save money? You've come to the right place! The average consumer spends over $60 per month on basic cable, and well over $100 per month for those who buy premium packages. Are you ready to cut the cord and save?
In this post, I'm going to go over 29 activities you can do instead of watching cable TV. These 29 top alternatives to cable TV will save you money AND get you off the couch! Let's jump right in.
How Much Can You Save Canceling Cable TV?
If you're paying for basic cable, you're likely paying around $60 per month, depending on where you live and who your cable provider is. If you were to cancel cable TV, you'd have $720 every year to allocate elsewhere. You could allocate it to paying off debt, boosting your emergency fund, investing, or even saving for a future purchase.
Considering many people have premium channels, some are paying $100 or more per month for cable TV, and now we're talking about a $1200+ annual savings. I recommend that you cancel cable TV to save money and instead, do other activities.
Doing other low-cost activities will not only save you money; it's also better than sitting around on the couch all day. Here are some of my best alternatives to cable TV.
Fun Activities To Do as an Alternative To Cable TV
The next sections are divided up into categories. Some activities could certainly be placed in multiple categories. For argument's sake, I placed them where I felt they best belonged. You'll find them separated by:
- Streaming services you can buy instead of cable
- Healthy activities to promote better health
- Activities with family that you can spend your days doing
- Activities to do at home alone for when you need a breather
Streaming Alternatives to Cable TV
The first category I'm going to talk about is streaming services. These are direct alternatives to cable TV that will also save you a ton of money. I personally use Netflix and Amazon Prime. My wife and I haven't had cable TV in over eight years and have saved over $8000 since. Get your favorite streaming device and start watching original content on these streaming services instead of watching TV.
You can get Disney+ for just $6.99 per month or $69.99/year. That's right. For about the price of one month of cable, you can get an entire year of Disney+. For a list of the 100+ shows and movies you can find on Disney+ right now, check out this site.
Netflix is my favorite streaming service, and my wife and I watch movies a couple of days a week. We are huge on romantic comedies and love actors such as Paul Rudd and Jason Segal.
If you're thinking of picking up Netflix, you can start with a Basic package for $8.99 per month. There's also the Standard package for $12.99 per month and Premium for $15.99 per month.
Whichever package you choose, you'll still save tons of money versus having cable TV, and if you're a movie buff, there's few other places better to look than Netflix.
Similar to Netflix and Disney+, Hulu has thousands of shows and movies available for you to watch. Hulu has less expensive plans if you don't mind watching ads, which is an interesting way for them to make money without charging more to their customers.
You can pay $5.99/mo for Hulu with ads or $11.99/mo for Hulu without ads. There's also a special going on right now where you can get 30 days of Hulu for free so that you can try it out to see if you like it.
Hulu is an amazing alternative to cable TV that I definitely recommend.
Amazon Prime isn't just great for getting free shipping at Amazon.com. It also comes with several added benefits. One such benefit of Amazon Prime Video is access to tens of thousands of movies and shows, including Amazon original series.
You'll also get access to music and eBooks, all for one low price of $13 per month or $119 per year. When it comes down to it, if you're using many or all of the perks of Amazon Prime, you are getting an amazing deal.
Why not watch the countless number of YouTube videos out there for free? YouTube is the ultimate spot to watch just about anything you can think of without spending a penny.
That said, you can pay $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium, and you won't have to listen to ads, plus you'll get access to a number of additional shows.
I tried out a month of YouTube premium, and personally, with everything available on YouTube, I decided to stick with the free version. But, that's just me! You may find some excellent reasons to pick up YouTube Premium if you love surfing YouTube in your spare time.
We've talked about some couch potato activities as alternatives to cable TV so in light of that, let's talk about some healthy activities that you can do instead of watching cable TV.
Doing moderate to intense cardio five or more days per week will help you stay healthy. When it comes to aerobics, I personally used to watch YouTube videos. I recently joined a gym, and they offer dozens of group classes for various skill levels of endurance and strength.
Whether you join a gym or you do aerobics at home, aerobics is a great healthy activity you can do instead of sitting on the couch watching cable TV all day.
My wife loves yoga. Yoga combines physical exercise with meditation and breathing techniques to help you get stronger and relieve stress. Why sit around watching cable TV all day when you can push away your stress through yoga?
Yoga can be done in a class or by yourself, though if you're starting off, a yoga instructor will best guide you so that you have good form and don't risk an injury. Will you do yoga as an alternative to cable TV?
Some would say that walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can get. Here are some very basic benefits to walking regularly:
- Improves your circulation
- Helps with mood
- Aids you losing weight
- Strengthens your muscles
- Improves your sleep
Walking is also a great way to work out something in your head. Got a tough decision to make? Take a walk and think. This is a great tip for impulse decision-makers. Next time you're about to act on an impulse, force yourself to take a walk and think it out.
I started walking five days a week, and it has helped me shrink my waist, sleep better, and feel better overall. Why watch a 30-minute show on cable TV when you can go out and take a 30-minute walk, which will improve your health overall?
Go Swimming or Do Water Activities
Swimming is great for your health, and it can be a lot of fun. Do you have a local pool you can go to or a lake or an ocean? Swimming works out your entire body, plus water activities can be helpful if you have a bad back.
Some physical therapists will use water activities to help their patients strengthen muscles or recuperate from an injury.
Swimming and water activities can also simply be a fun way to spend a few hours.
Activities With Friends and Family
In this section, I'll go over cable alternatives you can do with your friends, spouse, and/or family. This is by far not an exhaustive list, and you can certainly do many other things as well. Here goes!
There are so many board games out there nowadays that you can have hours worth of fun each day playing them. I'm personally an old school board games fan and play games like Chess, Checkers, and Othello, but there are so many games out there that are fun for the whole family.
For those on a budget or aren't all living under the same roof, you can sign up for Board Game Arena for free and play hundreds of board games with friends and family.
Alright, I'm a lifetime diehard computer gamer, so this is my absolute favorite low-cost activities to do with friends and family. I save money on games because I generally only play older games that I can pick up for $20 and which will last me for months.
One such example is a game called Morrowind, which is an open-world game that you can spend hundreds of hours playing, plus there's very high replayability. I have been playing Morrowind on-and-off for over 16 years! All for a total purchase of around $40. That's an amazing deal!
My brother and his friends love to go camping a few times each year. While camping has never been my thing, it is still a great activity to do with friends and family. If you have nearby campsites, grab a tent and some supplies and spend some time outdoors with nature.
Will you go camping for a few days to enjoy the great outdoors and spend time away from the television?
Cooking / BBQ
BBQing is one of my father's favorite things to do with family. During the warmer months, my father tries to have a BBQ as often as he can. Now that they've relocated closer to where my wife and I live, we try to visit every other weekend, and we commonly BBQ food.
BBQs are great social outings – at the time of writing this, we're practicing social distancing while at our BBQs – and you, too, can have a great time BBQing with others.
You can also simply BBQ with your spouse and kids. Cook up some hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken, steak, or grilled veggies!
Speaking of cooking, you can also cook with your spouse and kids. Teaching kids how to cook when they're young will help promote good spending habits when they're in college and as they enter adulthood. It's too easy to burn money on eating out. Learning the cook is the ultimate solution for that.
With gas prices still pretty low due to the pandemic, taking a scenic drive may be perfect for spending a few hours out of your day. My wife and I live about 35 minutes from Lake Winnipesaukee, which has beautiful views as you drive around it. We frequently drive up to the lake and onto the mountain roads to check out the scenery while on our way up north.
If you know of a park on your route, you can take a scenic drive to the park and then spend a day there. Activities could include a picnic, hiking, and more. It's nice to take in the scenery once in a while, and it'll get you outside, which is a great alternative to sitting on the couch watching cable TV.
Chat and Catch Up
When was the last time you sat down and had a good chat with your friends and family? My wife and I try to find time each day to chat about what's going on in life. I also try to find some time with friends to catch up here and there.
With the pandemic going on, the best ways to chat with friends include text messaging, phone calls, and social media platforms like Facebook. I also use Discord and Skype to voice and video chat with some friends and family.
Talking with others is also great for your mental health as having healthy relationships is vital for a good life.
Visit a Museum
Visiting a museum is a great alternative to cable TV, plus you'll get some extra education out of it. Whether you're into history, science, or even trains, there are museums everywhere that focus on so many different things.
Museums are places you can spend an entire day with your family, and you can usually do so on a budget. Check your local listings or Google to find museums near you so that you can plan a day to get out of the house.
I'm a pretty clumsy person, but that said, iceskating is a fun winter activity, or activity to do at an indoor rink. Iceskating is also good exercise as it helps you with your coordination.
If you're looking for a place to iceskate, check out these 20 top places to iceskate at some point in your life.
My mother has had a garden since before I was born. Gardening is an activity you can do alone or with your kids. You can grow fresh vegetables in a vegetable garden, which will help you save money on groceries.
Flower gardens make for great social conversation and for pictures online, such as on Instagram. Whether you're gardening for food or fun, taking care of one can be a great way to pass the time as an alternative to cable TV.
Do you have a favorite card game? I'm a fan of Texas Hold'Em, though I'm not much of a gambler. Card games are fun to pass the time, and in recent years, more interesting card games have made their way into the mainstream. I'm talking games like Cards Against Humanity, for example.
Some of us enjoy playing card games by ourselves. Solitaire is probably the most simple option.
Activities To Do Alone at Home
When you're home alone, there's still a lot you can do. When my wife worked out of the house, I spent hours a day home alone, and when I didn't have work to do, I found a number of these helpful.
Take a Nap
Who doesn't love to sleep, right? When in doubt, on a gloomy day where you need to rest for a bit, take a power nap and wake up feeling refreshed. I used to be big on napping, though lately not so much. Napping can certainly get you going again if you didn't sleep well the night before or simply need some downtime.
Listen to Music
Listening to music is both relaxing and can help you concentrate. Plus, some folks love to rock out to their favorite tunes. I listen to music when I'm writing blog posts or getting other work done.
My favorite place to listen to music is YouTube. It's hard to argue with free music, though you can also find music on places like Spotify.
Meditation can be great to help you manage stress as well as increase your imagination and creativity. Some say daily meditation works wonders for them. According to this article at the Mayo Clinic, “Meditation might also be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress.”
Try out meditation if you don't already and see if you can benefit from it.
Earn Money Filling Out Online Surveys
Wouldn't it be cool if you could sit around and earn some extra cash in your spare time? With online surveys, you sure can! Check out websites such as Swagbucks or Survey Junkie to start earning a few dollars every day.
With online survey sites, you can earn between $100 to $200 per month per site. The best part about this is that you can do it in your spare time, such as when you're waiting on something like dinner to be ready, your kids to finish school, or while you're out and about, such as waiting for an appointment to begin.
Is your house a mess? Grab the vacuum cleaner, a duster, and a mop, and clean up. Spending as little as one hour cleaning your house can really make a difference. When we live in a clean home, we feel better overall.
While this might not be the most fun activity to do instead of watching cable TV, it IS a productive activity and one that needs to get done one way or another, right?
Organize and Declutter
Similar to cleaning, organizing, and decluttering your house can help you stay focused. When you have your house and life structured, you are less likely to forget about something. You can save money and be more productive when you organize and declutter your life.
I wish I could stay more organized! I have what feels like a million things going on at once.
Play an Instrument
This is one of my favorite alternatives to cable TV. I've been playing the piano since I was a toddler. Playing a musical instrument uses almost all of your brain and is said to reduce stress, help your memory, and more.
If you compose your own music, then playing a musical instrument will skyrocket your creativity. I started composing music at a young age, and now I use software to create pieces.
Take an Online Class
Why loaf on the couch watching cable TV when you can learn new skills that can help you earn more money? You can take an online class in various places, including my top 3 recommendations, Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy. I'm currently taking a Quickbooks course on Skillshare.
There are so many courses available that will fine-tune your existing skills or teach you new ones. One should never stop learning, and the best way to keep learning is to find new things to learn whenever you have time.
Who knows, you might find something you absolutely love!
Learn to Crochet
My wife is huge on crochet. She crochets every single day and has made some masterpiece blankets. If you're looking for something that can take hours out of your day that isn't cable television, consider taking on a craft like crochet.
There's tons of free guides on YouTube that will get you started. You can start off with simple squares, and before you know it, you'll be making hats and hand warmers, and eventually moving on to bigger and better projects.
Do you like puzzles? This could be crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or anything in between, like a jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles work your brain and get you thinking. They can also be challenging and a lot of fun.
While watching cable TV can be quite mind-numbing, doing puzzles are, on the other hand, great for your mind. If you're looking for puzzles, check out the Google Play store, and you'll find dozens of puzzle apps that will keep you busy for hours.
Take a Long Bath
Kids asleep? Significant other doing something else? Hop in a hot bath and relax for a bit. Why have the stimuli of cable television when you can turn on some soft music and soak?
Not only is a hot bath good comfort, but it's also a great way to unwind after a stressful day.
Wrapping It Up
There are so many alternatives to cable television that will make you ask yourself, “Why am I paying so much for this?” Not only can cable TV be expensive, but it can also stop you from doing so many other amazing things with your time.
What fun activities do you do instead of watching cable TV?