With the cost of living affecting food, energy and water bills, most of us are cracking down on non-essential purchases. Due to this, streaming (opens in new tab) services are taking big hits, including Netflix (opens in new tab).
Arguably the best streaming service (opens in new tab), Netflix might be losing its crown with Amazon Prime and Disney+ nipping at its ankles. As a big Netflix fan, I can’t ignore the fact that it has problems. Losing 200,000 within the first three months of 2022 is a big shock and as it continues to remove popular shows from its catalogue and cancel many original series, I’m starting to get disheartened.
However, I’ve had this streaming service for a while and do enjoy the content it has to offer. While cancelling Netflix (opens in new tab) is a good way to keep your monthly spend down, there are a few cost-saving hacks that can help you save money on your Netflix subscription. Here are 6 ways I save money on Netflix, without cancelling your plan altogether.
1. Downgrade your subscription plan
The best way to save money each month on your Netflix subscription is to downgrade your plan. Netflix has three subscription plans. The basic plan is £6.99 / $9.99 a month, the standard plan is £10.99 / $15.49 a month and the premium plan is £15.99 / $19.99 a month. Each plan comes with a range of features and benefits, including ultra HD resolution viewing and the number of screens you can watch at the same time.
If you feel you’re not watching enough Netflix or the overall cost is too much, it’s worth considering whether you’re on the right plan. For example, do you need Netflix premium if you’re the only one watching it and you only watch it a couple of times a week? I’m going to go ahead and say no on that one! By downgrading your premium plan from £15.99 to the basic plan of £6.99, you’re saving £9 a month and £108 annually. You will lose some features like the number of screens and number of devices you can download on but your overall experience is unlikely to change too much and you’re saving money.
2. Share your Netflix subscription
While Netflix is cracking down on users sharing their passwords (opens in new tab), a handy way to save money on your bill is by sharing your subscription and splitting the cost of it. The most expensive Netflix plan (premium at £15.99) allows for four profiles and screens that can watch at the same time, so multiple people can share an account without their viewing being interrupted. If this appeals to you, you can split the cost of your subscription with the other users on your account to cut your monthly spend in half or quarters, depending on the number of users.
I have multiple streaming subscriptions that my boyfriend and I share. He pays for Netflix while I pay for Disney+ which makes bills easier. We also use the same Netflix account rather than having multiple profiles and we take in turns who’s watching what (I’m watching Bridgerton while he’s out and he’s watching The Crown when I’m busy) and typically make Netflix a service that we use together rather than separately. This helps with overall spend and doesn’t make us feel like we’re wasting money as we’re using it equally and together.
3. ‘Pause’ your plan
If you have an expensive month ahead, put your plan on hold for the month. By cancelling your plan for the month, you don’t pay the subscription fee and can start it up again whenever you want to. The great thing about Netflix is that you can cancel at any time and you won’t be charged for leaving and won’t have to pay extra when you sign back up.
4. Change your streaming settings
If you watch Netflix on your phone or tablet while you’re out, this can burn through your monthly data allowance and increase your monthly phone bill. To avoid this, start by downloading movies and TV shows to your phone or tablet when you’re connected to WiFi to avoid wasting data. Depending on your subscription plan, you can store up to 100 downloads on any device at a time.
Secondly, limit how much data the Netflix app uses via the Playback settings (on the website) and App settings (on the app). On the website, you can change the default setting to limit it to a certain amount of data an hour. On the app, select ‘Mobile Data Usage’ to update the data limit and switch to ‘Save Data’ or ‘WiFi Only’ to avoid using too much data. Finally, you can also lower the resolution to save more data. In the App setting of the Netflix app, go to ‘Video Playback’ and select ‘Cellular Data Usage’. From there, disable the automatic option and select ‘Save Data’. This lowers the resolution of your streaming and can save you tons of data and money each month.
5. Take advantage of Netflix gift cards
A cheap way to keep your Netflix account but save money on it is via Netflix gift cards. Let’s say you don’t want to use Netflix until Knives Out 2 or one of these 86 original Netflix films (opens in new tab) comes to the platform later in the year. Cancel your subscription and ask for a Netflix gift card as a birthday, anniversary or special occasion present. You can find Netflix gift cards from select retailers and prices start from £25, giving you multiple months of streaming that you didn’t have to pay for. By redeeming the card on your account, you can watch as much as you like until the gift card balance runs out. Many retailers also offer deals on these gift cards so keep an eye out for that too.
6. Consider cheaper or free streaming services
My last tip is to consider what you’re using Netflix for and whether you can find it on cheaper or free streaming platforms. For example, Disney+ is £7.99 / $7.99 a month which is cheaper than the Netflix standard plan. It has a lot of TV series that were previously available on Netflix, like New Girl, How I Met Your Mother and Jessica Jones. Therefore, if I wanted to watch these, I’d pick Disney+ over Netflix which is cheaper each month and has more of the series that I like.
For a free streaming service, BBC iPlayer shares many shows with Netflix but you can watch them for free which is why I’m considering cancelling Netflix for BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab). This includes popular series like Peaky Blinders, Pretty Little Liars and Sherlock. BBC iPlayer has whole boxsets on demand in comparison to Netflix who often have limited series available on one show. For example, when Netflix had Gavin & Stacey, you could only watch series 2 and 3, whereas you can find all series and specials of it on iPlayer.
Check out the best streaming service deals (opens in new tab) for when cheaper streaming plans come available and how I save money on other streaming services (opens in new tab). For more money-saving hacks, check out my guides on how to save money on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab), Disney+ (opens in new tab), NOW TV (opens in new tab), Apple TV+ (opens in new tab), YouTube Premium (opens in new tab) and StarzPlay (opens in new tab).