A great way to save money is to lower your standard monthly expenses. TV subscriptions can end up costing you upwards of $100 to $200 using traditional cable or satellite services. Here I will show you how we drastically cut our bills by switching from cable to Hulu Live TV and the benefits and struggles we encountered.
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A year and a half ago I gave birth to my second child. And if you are a parent already, you know your life kind of stands still that first year or so. This baby did not sleep, like ever. So my normal budgeting practices kind of fell by the wayside for the temporarily more important things like sleep, coffee and taking care of a baby.
But in 2019, one of my resolutions was to get back on the budgeting train. I despise just wasting money for no reason and I knew I was doing it in several areas of our life. The first thing I did was save $800 on my lunch break by lowering our traditional cable and internet bills.
Saving $800 is definitely nice. That is many trips to the grocery store or a fun weekend trip away for us. It wasn’t a flop but I wanted to save more. The TV streaming services had been interesting to me because of the large savings potential but I was scared. And my sports loving hubby was even more scared. He definitely did not want to be left without being able to see his favorite teams.
I knew friends that had taken the plunge and loved it. But I still had questions and reservations. After thinking about it a while, we just jumped in and tried it. Here is how it went. The things we love and the 2 things that we didn’t anticipate.
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Switching from Cable to Hulu Live TV
If you are drawn to the streaming services but nervous to cut your ties with your traditional tv provider, check out all the details from my experience. There is good and unexpected issues but overall we are so glad that we did it!
*Update* We have now been exclusively streaming with Hulu Live for more than a year and still love it. Not only does it save us lots of money every month, we actually prefer the interface to traditional cable!
Now we just need to get that ugly old satellite off our roof! No need for that anymore.
Here is what you need to know!
Try it Risk Free
You can try Hulu Live for two weeks free. We did the free trial while continuing our cable service. My biggest fear was that I would cancel my current service, pack up all their equipment, send it back and then not end up liking the streaming service with Hulu.
By entering the Hulu Live free trial, we were able to work out any kinks and test out the programming before fully committing. If you don’t like it, just cancel the before the end of the trial and go back to your old school cable.
The Hulu Live TV Experience & Sections
When we were thinking about switching to Hulu, I had questions. Lots of questions. How does the live tv portion work? Could my husband see the sports events that he wanted? Would my kids be able to watch their shows (because Paw Patrol is just as important as LSU football in this house). Grey’s Anatomy would need to be able to be recorded because while I don’t have much time to watch tv live, I do love to keep up with my shows.
The answer was yes, yes, yes and yes. All of the objections that we had were immediately debunked while we were testing out Hulu during the trial period.
If you haven’t used the program before, it is easiest to explain it in sections. There are different sections or folders for the various programming aspects that you are looking for.
The Live TV section will show you everything that is on right now. Just like on your cable subscription, you will see a guide showing you what you can watch right now on live tv. One thing that I really like about Hulu over the traditional cable is that it is “smart” when it comes to your viewing habits.
As an example, I watch the Today Show every morning. So when you pull up the Live TV section in the morning, it puts the Today show up at the top of the list because it knows that I will probably turn that show on. How cool is that? My tv gets me.
You will have a “My Stuff” folder that will act act as your DVR area. Anything that you have recorded will be saved by show in this area.
My favorite feature is that it shows you on the front page of this segment which shows you have to watch and the ones that you are caught up on.
Browse & Search
The browse feature allows you to see different categories of material and find things that you like and want to watch.
The search feature allows you to just type in the name of what you are looking for to easily get right to what you want. I really like the “trending searches” part of the search area. You will find the top 30 or so searches from other people. They include regular network channels, Hulu specific content and cable channels in this listing.
I have found several things that I might not have otherwise watched by looking at this trending area.
Ok, this is not really my area of expertise. I’m a cheerleader. Take me to the tailgate, I will make you some yummy apps and people watch but the actual game, I could probably skip that. So I’m going to give you my husband’s perception for this part of the review.
We had a moderate package before switching from cable to Hulu Live TV. It wasn’t the most expensive but definitely not the cheapest. We had a couple of the standard sports channels (ESPN, ESPN2 etc). However, it seemed like every year I would have to call and add the SEC Network or some other channel for a few of the games.
With Hulu Live, we got multiple sports channels that we did not have with our normal cable package. That made my hubby happy. I saved money so I’m happy too!
When I cancelled my tv with my other provider, they tried to offer me their streaming option. It was similar in cost so I decided that Hulu brought a better value because of the Hulu specific original content that they offer. Like the Handmaid’s Tale. Love it!
You can do all the features in Hulu that you can do on your cable shows. There is no difference. There are some on demand type things that require you to watch their advertisements (usually just around 30 seconds to a minute) but my cable network did not allow fast forwarding on certain on demand items so I find this go be similar.
2 Things I Didn’t Anticipate When Switching From Cable to Hulu Live TV
So far, you have read all the things I really like about Hulu. Of course, there are typically a few little hurdles when you make a big switch like this and I thought I would share the two that stood out to me that I did not really anticipate up front.
Incompatible TV’s for Hulu Live
All of our Tv’s are smart tv’s so I really did not think that compatibility would be an issue. And for the regular Hulu service, it was not. However, most of our tv’s are LG and apparently there are only a few models that readily work with the Live TV portion of the Hulu service.
This is another reason that I was glad to be on the free trial. Had this been a deal breaker for me, I could have cut the service and kept my old cable option.
There is a simple fix if you are in the same boat that we were. Buy an Amazon Fire Stick for your tv and it will be instantly compatible. Even if you have a bunch of tv’s, the cost of the stick is pretty low now.
And the money that we saved when switching from cable to Hulu Live TV made up the difference for the fire sticks that we needed to buy. Our first month was a wash when it came to savings because of the fire stick purchases. But every month after that, we have been raking in the savings!
Increase in Data Usage
We work from home, 2 computers on the internet at least 9 hours a day. My five year old gets some time to play educational games on the iPad every day. We have two teenagers that are here every other weekend that basically eat data for breakfast, lunch and dinner! And let’s be honest, I use a fair amount myself when you calculate in my Pinterest habit.
And then, we added in streaming all of our TV. Since we work at home, we both typically have a news channel on for background noise during the work day. Kids have their shows that they want, and then we watch something at night as a family.
I actually thought that our internet package was unlimited but it was not. I definitely don’t think this is a deal breaker but it is something to consider and watch. Thankfully my service provider gave a two month grace period and then I was able to upgrade to a true unlimited package.
Saving Money With Hulu
We switched from cable to Hulu Live TV about three months ago and haven’t looked back. We love the functionality, the Hulu content, the ability to see EVERYTHING that we were watching on regular cable and of course we really love the price!
Hulu Live TV is roughly about 1/3 the cost that I was paying to our old cable company. And we get more content for less money. I just can’t find a problem with that! What is holding you back from making the plunge to steaming with Hulu?