11 Smart Ways to Save Money on Streaming Services

Streaming services are a go-to source for entertainment. They offer a vast collection of movies, shows, and documentaries. But with many platforms available, subscription costs can quickly add up. In this article, let’s explore 11 smart strategies to save money on streaming services. These strategies will help you keep your entertainment budget in check.

Industry estimates say the average American household subscribes to two to four services. In 2023, a study by Leichtman Research Group found that 83% of U.S. households have a video streaming service subscription. Analyze which services offer the content you like to watch and focus on those.

Free Trials

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Free trials let you test a platform’s content before signing up. Use the typical 7-day trial to explore. Some trials last up to 30 days. Check reviews for library size and genre. See if it’s big on blockbusters or niche content? And, choose according to your liking. Always remember to set a reminder to cancel before the trial ends to avoid unwanted charges.

Bundle Deals

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Think beyond individual subscriptions. Combine your internet with streaming services for saving money. Big providers like Xfinity, Spectrum, and Verizon offer packages with discounts of about 20%. However, carefully assess your needs before you opt for a bundle deal. Don’t fall for a discount if you won’t use all the services included.

Sharing Accounts

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Sharing streaming accounts with family members in your home can save money. But, be careful. Netflix and others are enforcing rules against sharing. You can’t share outside your main home. Consider plans that allow multiple users to avoid getting suspended, even if they’re a bit pricier.

Annual Subscriptions

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Consider the annual subscription option. It is for services you will consistently use. Yearly subscriptions are cheaper than monthly ones. This upfront commitment saves money in the long term. However, ensure your commitment to the service before locking yourself into a year-long plan.

Student Discounts

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If you’re a student, take advantage of those valuable discounts. To reap cost-cut benefits, verify your eligibility through your .edu email address. Every dollar saved adds up. 

Free Streaming Services

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Be aware of free streaming services like Crackle, Peacock, and Pluto TV. Their libraries aren’t as huge as paid ones. But, they still have a wide range of movies, shows, and documentaries, including independent films and cult favorites. They’re ad-supported, but they provide plenty of free entertainment for those on a budget.

Renewal Reminders

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To avoid extra fees, simplify your subscriptions. In 2022, a study by C+R Research revealed that 42% of people forgot about services they were still paying for but didn’t use. Set up renewal reminders on your calendar. This way, you’ll review your subscriptions before they renew and can decide whether to keep or cancel them.

Ad-Supported Tiers

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Many streaming services offer ad-supported tiers alongside the ad-free options. For example, Hulu’s ad-supported option is nearly 50% cheaper than their ad-free plan. It might be worthwhile to tolerate the commercials as they come in exchange for significant cost savings.

Pause Subscriptions

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This is ideal when you know you won’t use the service for a while, like during vacations or busy stretches. You avoid paying for something you’re not using and can resume your subscription when you’re ready to pick up where you left off. Look for services that offer pause functionality and use it to your advantage.

Public Libraries

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A typical U.S. household subscribing to video-streaming services spend an average of $61 a month on four services. To save on this, you can sometimes try public libraries, which offer a fantastic free alternative. Many public libraries have large collections of movies and TV shows you can borrow for free. Check your local library’s website or app to browse their selection. You might discover hidden gems that surprise you.

Subscription Rotation

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A recent survey suggests that the average American uses 4.1 streaming services in unison. Consider a rotating approach, instead of feeling overwhelmed by many subscriptions. Choose one service for a month or two. Binge your favorite shows and movies. Then, cancel and move on to the next. This helps you avoid subscription fatigue and keeps costs under control. First, make a watchlist of shows and movies from different services. Then watch them based on your interests. This approach ensures you get the most from each subscription.

Track Your Spending 

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Keep an eye on your streaming subscriptions. A study discovered that nearly one-third of people underestimate their monthly spending by $100 to $199 because they don’t keep track of expenses. Lots of subscriptions are on autopay. Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to monitor spending. Then, see where you can trim to enjoy other entertainment.

Use Price Comparison Tools

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Streamlining your subscriptions doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Use websites and apps like JustWatch and Can I Stream It. They compare prices and features across different streaming services. Before subscribing, use these tools to find the best deal for your needs and budget. By comparing options, you can ensure you get the most entertainment for your money.

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