The cost of living crisis is making us re-evaluate a lot of purchases and outgoings. With basic prices rising like energy bills, petrol and phone plans, it’s becoming difficult to justify the price of multiple subscriptions and unfortunately, streaming services fall under that category.
While we all love our streaming services (opens in new tab), having more than 1 is getting harder to manage. I don’t think I’m speaking for myself here when I say that I currently pay for three subscriptions – Netflix (opens in new tab), Amazon Prime (opens in new tab) and Disney+ (opens in new tab) – which if I’m honest, is a little too much considering the cost of living price hikes.
Streaming services feel like a necessity for most households at this point but with everything going up in price, it’s definitely time to re-evaluate whether we need them or not. Of course, cancelling your streaming service is a sure fire way to keep your monthly costs down but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice something that you enjoy.
Before you cancel your services, there are a few tips and tricks that you can do to save some money on your streaming services rather than getting rid of them completely. Here’s how I save money on streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
1. Reconsider the ones you want
If, like me, you have multiple streaming subscriptions, it’s a good idea to reconsider what you’re actually getting from each service. By weighing up the pros and cons of each one and comparing that to what you’re actually paying, this can help you decide what ones to keep and what ones are a waste of money.
For example, the standard Netflix plan is £10.99 / $15.49 a month although it’s rumoured to be getting cheaper soon (opens in new tab). Netflix is well known for its original content like Bridgerton and The Crown, but it has a habit of cancelling a lot of its own shows and removing popular series (most of which can now be found in Disney+). In comparison, Amazon Prime is £8.99 / $14.99 a month and more than just a streaming service as it gives you access to special benefits from Amazon like free delivery. Disney+ has risen through the ranks with its Marvel, Star Wars and Disney shows, plus it has other channels included in its £7.99 / $7.99 a month subscription, including Hulu, discovery+ and Star.
By looking at what you’re getting from each service and the price you’re paying, this can help you decide which to keep and which to bin off or downgrade which is my next tip on this list.
2. Downgrade your subscription
As mentioned above, if you’re not watching enough or you feel you’re not getting the most out of your subscription, you can downgrade your plan. This is only available with Netflix but following its recent loss of subscribers and its attempt to crack down on multiple users on the same account (opens in new tab), it could be worth downgrading to the cheaper option. The basic Netflix plan is £6.99 / $9.99 a month and while you will lose some features, it’s definitely worth it if you’re not getting a lot from them and it saves a bit of money each month.
3. Rotate your streaming channels
If you really love having multiple streaming channels (like me), then it could be worth rotating them rather than paying for them all at the same time. The obvious reason for this is that you’re only paying for 1 instead of 3 but it also freshens up what you’re watching.
The beauty of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ is that you can cancel whenever you want to and subscribe again down the line. By picking one service to subscribe to each month or every few months, it keeps your streaming exciting rather than overwhelming you with too many choices. When you’re bored of that service or have watched everything you want to watch, you can head over to another one. You can also find out what’s being added to each service each month (like these 86 original Netflix films arriving in 2022 (opens in new tab)) so you can re-subscribe when the series or film you want to watch is available.
4. Pay annually instead of monthly
While monthly payment means you don’t have to commit more than a month at a time, paying for an annual subscription can definitely help keep the prices down. Overall, paying annually is more cost effective, saves you money in the long run and means you don’t have to worry when the bill comes in each month.
For example, Disney+ is £7.99 / $14.99 a month which if you pay monthly for a year, adds up to around £95 / $180 a year. In comparison, an annual Disney+ subscription is £79.90 / $139 a year.
5. Look for streaming deals when you sign up to a phone contract
If you’re looking for a new phone or contract, many mobile providers offer streaming subscription plans when you sign up with them. By shopping around for the best phone deals (opens in new tab) and the best SIM only deals (opens in new tab), you can find a great price for a new device and contract and get free monthly or annual subscriptions as a bonus.
For example, when the new Samsung Galaxy S22 was released (opens in new tab) earlier this year, many carriers offered a free 12 months of Disney+ subscription when customers pre-ordered the device. If you’d prefer a SIM only deal, EE currently offers Apple TV+ for free for 6 months with its SIM data contracts as a ‘Smart Benefit’. So, if you’re in the market for a new phone, it doesn’t hurt to look for some streaming benefits within your contract.
Unfortunately, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and cancel your streaming services. If it’s becoming too much of a strain on your finances or you’re not using them enough, you can cancel them completely which can save you hundreds of pounds each year. Of course, you can sign up again in the future but it could help to take a break if you’re on a tight budget.
But all is not lost! In the UK, if you have a TV licence, you can still find great TV shows, movies and more, plus you can access free streaming services like BBC iPlayer, All4, ITV Hub and My5.