Do you find yourself streaming more and more, but also paying more to enjoy it? Add it up, especially considering the fees Netflix charges for sharing passwords and the rising prices of streaming services on Peacock, Paramount Plus, YouTube TV, and other platforms. If you add it all up each month, you’ll see that you’re probably spending $100 or more just to watch TV wirelessly. However, there is a solution that fits your budget.
Say you have multiple streaming services, but watch one or two until the season of your favorite show is over, then look for the next one. Is it worth keeping all of these accounts active if you can’t see anything on them? I do not believe.
Check out this smart strategy to help you save money on streaming TV.
Trade in all your streaming service subscriptions
For cable subscribers, switching from cable to streaming could be a smart financial move. Since you can sign up for a monthly plan, it’s easy to keep using the streaming service and quit if the price goes up or the content gets boring. But according to Deloitte’s 2023 Media Trends report, economic constraints and a lack of new content are the top reasons people cancel streaming subscriptions. Media companies refer to this behavior as “churn.” We call it the spin method, and you should try it.
Incentives? You’ll save money and avoid content starvation. Let’s say a series like “Ahsoka,” “Murder in the Building,” or “Love Island” is scheduled to premiere on the streaming service. Find the total number of episodes and wait until all episodes are released on one platform at the same time. You cancel Hulu, Disney Plus, or another service, then log back in to stay up to date with all episodes when they become available. Or, you can start streaming shows midseason to cut costs. My monthly guide to canceling a streaming service can help you stay on track.
shortcoming? You can’t watch all the shows you want right away and have to wait for the entire season to air. With many streaming services releasing new episodes every week, you might not be able to connect with your friends at the same time. If you enjoy watching episodes as soon as they come out, you might think it’s worth subscribing to multiple episodes at once. Still, you can save some money if you’re patient.
This strategy can also work if you have a live TV streaming service to follow specific sports or major events, such as the Women’s World Cup. After the season ends, cancel the service or switch to a cheaper platform with fewer channels, such as Sling TV.
Need help figuring out the best rotation? Follow these tips on how to switch streaming platforms until your wallet is happy.
Tip #1: Cancel Your Subscription Before You Get Charged
Set calendar reminders for your billing cycle and upcoming TV show or movie release dates. Give yourself enough notice in advance to start or end a subscription. Apps like JustWatch, TV Time, and Hobi let you keep track of when and where TV shows and movies appear on streaming services. JustWatch also adds a tracker specifically for sports. If you own a Google or Amazon smart home device, you can set reminders for specific dates and allow voice assistants like Alexa to notify you of upcoming bills or streaming release dates.
Tip #2: Sign Up for Streaming Offers
Look for discounts on streaming services. For example, Starz regularly offers month-long deals that drop prices from $10 per month. You can also take advantage of the Disney Bundle, which provides access to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus in a single package at a discounted price. Eligible Hulu subscribers can add Disney+ for $2. Finally, check with your carrier to find out which provider offers a free streaming subscription.
Tip #3: Choose one or two standard streaming services
Subscribe to one or two must-have services for a year, and pick just one or two other options that fit your monthly budget. Exchange rewards services based on what you want to watch to ensure you don’t miss out on your favorite shows within your monthly spending limit.
Tip #4: Only use monthly billing
Avoid yearly subscriptions and keep an eye on auto-renewing payment dates, even if you have to use one of these tracking apps to do it. Even if you only signed up for a free trial, your billing cycle can help you determine the best time to cancel your service. The only benefit of signing up for an annual plan is a significant reduction in price.
Tip #5: Don’t unsubscribe, pause it
Hulu lets you pause your subscription for up to 12 weeks, and Sling offers a similar conditional option. Check with your streaming provider if you can take a break without canceling.
Give it a try, and if you don’t like it, you can always resubscribe. For more great TV streaming tips, check out this guide to Netflix’s hidden tricks and our picks for the best VPNs.