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As cable bills continue to rise, consumers are looking for better options. Some are looking to bundle services, while others just switch providers. Still, the price can be far from affordable.
If this sounds like your situation, there are other ways to save money on cable. But the first thing you need to do is sit down and figure out which channels you watch on a regular basis, and which channels you're actually paying for.
Once you've made a list, cancel the useless stations and replace some of your favorites with these:
1. Free broadcast television. Broadcast television got infinitely better when it went digital in 2009. If you get good reception, the picture is incredibly clear, and in some areas, you can even pick up more than 60 channels.
2. Free online streaming. The legal kind, that is. You'll still have to pay for a decent Internet connection, but you can save money on cable. Most of the major networks stream new episodes for free on their websites. Some of the pay stations do as well, including channels like Bravo and A&E. Go to a show's official website for information.
3. Hulu Plus and Netflix. Both cost $7.99 a month for streaming and can be accessed via a television if you have the right equipment. Hulu has current TV seasons, while Netflix does not. You can also sign up for a free trial to see which better fits your "I'm bored and nothing is on" needs.
4. Leave the house. Seriously, get out and mingle when there's a sporting event on. If a bar doesn't sound pleasing, share an online sports subscription with a friend and watch together. Or if your friends have cable, show up with some snacks and a smile. The same goes if you want to watch something on a premium channel like HBO.
Replacing just part of your subscription with one of the above options can save you money on cable. But if you're still not convinced it's worth the work, there's one other thing you can try. Call your cable provider and ask them to give you their latest deal -- even if you aren't a new subscriber. Most of them will do it if you ask nicely and threaten to switch providers.