Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus: How to limit big spending on streaming services
This year has brought us dozens of great TV shows and movies to stream – like Dragon House, Stranger Things 4, She-Hulk and Prey – and corresponding price changes. At this point, your subscriptions to netflix, HuluDisney+, HBO Max and others can charge you upwards of $50 per month. We want to show you a trick that can help you save money on all your streaming services .
Think of it this way: you have a bunch of active streaming subscriptions, you watch everything until your favorite show ends its season, then look for the next thing to stream. But is it worth keeping multiple accounts if you don’t look at anything on them? I do not think so.
Discover our economic strategy and some tips for mastering it.
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Rotate your streaming services
Saying goodbye to cable for good and switching to streaming is a financial investment for cord cutters. Because you can sign up for monthly plans, it’s easy to hop on a streaming service and jump when prices rise or content dries up. But according to Deloitte Media Trends Report 2022, the main reasons people cancel their streaming subscriptions are cost and lack of fresh content. Media companies call this behavior “churn.” We call this the rotation method.
The incentive? You save your coins and avoid content droughts. Let’s say a popular title like The White Lotus, Willow, or Dancing with the Stars is about to air on a service. Find the total number of episodes and wait for them all to be available at the same time on a platform. You cancel HBO Max, Disney Plus, or another service and then, once all the episodes are available, you resubscribe to catch up. Alternatively, you can start airing a show mid-season to cut costs. My monthly guide to which streaming services to cancel can help you follow.
The wrong side? You won’t have immediate access to all the shows you want to watch and will have to wait for the full season to air. And since many streaming services release new episodes every week, you might not catch up with your friends at the same time. If you’re someone who prefers to watch episodes immediately when they drop, you may decide it’s worth having multiple subscriptions at once. If you have patience, however, you can save some money.
The strategy can also work if you have a live tv streaming service watch a particular sport. Once the season is over, cancel the service or switch to a cheaper platform with fewer channels like TV Sling.
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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 to start or end a subscription. Apps like JustWatch, V Time and Hobi help you track when and where TV shows and movies appear on a streaming service. And JustWatch recently added a tracker specifically for sports.
Tip #2: Sign up for streaming service offers
Look for streaming discounts services. For example, Walmart Plus members can get Paramount Plus for free. You can also take advantage of the Disney Bundle, which provides access to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus in one package at a discounted price. And eligible Hulu subscribers can add Disney Plus for $3. Finally, be sure to check with your mobile carrier to see which ones offer free streaming subscriptions.
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Tip #3: Choose one or two default streaming services
Subscribe to one or two essential services for the year and select only one or two additional options according to your monthly budget. Rotate the bonus service(s) depending on what you want to watch, ensuring you don’t miss your favorite shows while staying within your monthly spending cap.
Tip #4: Stick to monthly billing
Avoid annual subscriptions and pay attention to your auto-renewal payment dates. Your billing cycle can help you determine the best time to exit a service, even if you only signed up for a free trial.
Tip #5: Don’t Cancel Your Subscription, Pause It
Hulu lets you suspend your subscription up to 12 weeks, and Sling has a similar option with stipulations. Check with your streaming provider if you can take a temporary break without canceling.
Try it, and if you don’t like it, you can always subscribe again. For more great tips on streaming TV, check out this guide to Netflix’s Hidden Tricks and our Cost Breakdown on Cable vs. Streaming.
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