Most modern monitors have an HDMI input. But there are still a lot of them (from 2011 and before) that don’t.
A couple of years ago when I looked for a way to convert HDMI to VGA, all I could find were “converters” – like the View HD HDMI to RGB/VGA Adapter, pictured below. And they were quite expensive – the View HD was over $100, as I recall.
Now, you can get an "adapter cable", like the Cable Matters HDMI to VGA Adapter for $20. I used one to connect an Apple TV to a couple of VGA-only Dell monitors and a couple of projectors and it worked fine.
So, if you need to connect HDMI to a VGA monitor, try one of these instead of one of their expensive cousins... You should know that this doesn’t support sound (it just converts the Video) and it may not look as good as one of the more expensive converters, but if you just want to display cheaply – it’s worth a shot!