Cut your pay TV bill down to as little as £3.33 a month and still get the big channels.
As much as I love going to the cinema, the sheer quality of drama and comedy on TV means given the choice I’d rather watch Game of Thrones, Line of Duty, Big Little Lies or Silicon Valley than most latest movies.
And I get to watch all these shows for a fraction of what you’re probably paying.
Let say you pay around £22 a month for your TV through of Sky (the cost of the basic “original” package). That’s £264 a year. Well, I pay less than £40 a year for all of that.
Plus I get access to hundreds of box sets for that price, which would cost at least another £72. So that’s a saving of £256!
But you could very well be paying even more, especially if you add on sports and movies. The average household spends £31 a month (that’s £372 a year), and could easily be as high as £80 a month.
Then there are the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime on top. I’ve got ways to save on each of these too.
Fancy making this kind of saving? Well, here’s how I cut my TV bills.
Feel the love for free TV
Despite there being hundreds of channels, the most popular programmes watched by Brits are on the BBC or ITV. So it you’re mainly watching free channels, then why pay for more?
It’s worth getting a Freeview or Youview recorder so you can record any shows and catch up when there’s nothing on – we have plenty of series stacked to watch from the main channels. Even if you’re spending £150 on one, it’s still cheaper than subscribing to Sky or Virgin.
On demand such as iPlayer adds a huge amount to watch on top. There’s a really decent archive available on All 4 too.
You can get most Sky channels cheaper via NOW TV
However, I don’t just Freeview channels. I watch a lot of Sky Atlantic and a handful of shows on Sky One and Fox. The difference is I don’t have a contract to view them.
I get these channels through NOW TV, which is owned by Sky. You can’t record but you can watch live or catch up on-demand (like iPlayer). Full price for the entertainment channels is just £6.99 a month – far cheaper than paying for them through Sky or Virgin. In fact, it’s the only way to watch Sky Atlantic other than a Sky contract.
Even better, you can almost always get the package for cheaper. I pay a max of £3.33 a month, often less, thanks to special offers and deals. Plus, since it’s a monthly subscription, you can cancel for months when you’re away or there aren’t any extra shows you want to watch.
>> The latest NOW TV deals to get Sky channels for less
Don’t bother with movie channels
I’ve never been a fan of paying extra for Sky Cinema channels. They cost £18 a month with Sky or £21 with Virgin. How often do you really watch them?
If it’s less than six new releases you’d be better off paying as you go. New SD movie rentals cost £3.50 from the likes of iTunes and Amazon, so you could watch five or six new movies each month the same price. Then there are dozens of classics on Amazon Prime or Netflix, as well as on channels like Film Four, to keep you happy. And I bet you’ve a stack of DVDs too.
Then if you have one or two of Amazon Prime or Netflix, as well as on channels like Film Four, you’ll have plenty of new and old movies to keep you happy. And I bet you’ve a stack of DVDs too.
If you really do want Sky Cinema, NOW TV is again a far cheaper option. All the movies are available on demand, or you can watch the channels live. Full price is £10 a month though you can get deals that would cut it to £5 a month. This would save you £156 a year!
Choose pay as you go for sports
I’m not a regular sports watcher so I get cheap Sky Sports day passes for the occasional matches I do watch. Again these are from NOW TV.
If you do want the monthly subscription, haggle with your broadband supplier to see if you can get a discount.
>> The cheapest ways to watch Sky Sports without a subscription
Spend less on your streaming subscriptions
There are some top quality programmes on Amazon Prime and Netflix, so I do like to have them both in addition to NOW TV. But I don’t pay for them all.
Instead, as I wrote the other week, I share the subscriptions with my family. So my sister pays for Netflix, while I cover NOW TV.
Meanwhile, the NUS card trick means we pay just £40 a year for Amazon Prime rather than the full £79, after a six-month free trial. Plus we get the other extras such as next day delivery.
>> Amazon Prime vs Netflix vs NOW TV
Make the most of your TV Licence
Of course, we all have to pay the TV license too (£12.25 a month). Yes, I know some people think it’s unfair but most of us have to pay it – so you should make the most of it. There are certainly enough quality comedies, dramas and documentaries throughout the year to keep you entertained and informed.
Plus it gives you so much more. Your licence also pays for news, radio, iPlayer, kids channels, the BBC website, the World Service and big sporting events like Wimbledon and the Olympics. It also goes towards funding parts of Channel 4 and some big national campaigns such as the switch to digital TV.
Yes, there are loads of shows I don’t watch, but that’s the same for every TV channel.
Add together everything I do use, and I think it’s great value – better than half the rubbish you’ll find on cable or satellite channels you pay extra for.