Quick, off the top of your head: What is the easiest way to reduce your monthly spending?
Chances are, cutting cable was one of the first things that came to mind.
Canceling this household service is an oft-cited measure to reduce costs, and for some pretty clear reasons—you can't eat it, drink it or live in it (even if some of you think you can't live without it); it doesn't keep you safe or healthy; and increasingly, you can get comparable service that costs less.
It's that last point that leaves some folks still skeptical: Can you really get what you need (read: watch what you want) without paying for cable, contracting a computer virus, or breaking any laws?
MarketWatch's new calculator aims to help you figure that out. Once you fill in the amount of your current monthly cable bill, which shows you like to watch, and how many TVs need access, the tool clues you in to the best cable alternatives for your needs, along with how much money you'll be saving per month.
Note, though, that the calculator appears to reference mainly paid services. For instance, if you say that you like to watch "The Big Bang Theory," it can't find an alternative that will allow you to enjoy your show a day after the original broadcast. However, you could head over to CBS.com and watch it for free.
Although the tool doesn't take into account what networks offer on their websites, it's still a fun way to explore that niggling question: Do you really need to pay for cable?