I cancelled my Netflix because streaming costs are getting silly

If you're not watching it, are you still paying for it? It's time to get strategic about streaming subs

Netflix logo with a line through it to illustrate a list of cancelled shows on the streaming service
(Image credit: Netflix)

After ten years of constant subs, I've killed my Netflix subscription. It's not me. It's them. There's literally nothing on Netflix I want to watch right now, and quite a lot of things I don't like my subscriptions contributing to. Between that, the imminent arrival of paid-for account sharing and the fact that Netflix is the most expensive of all the streaming services I subscribed to, keeping my subscription going was just wasting money.

And it's a lot of money. Before co-parenting my kids means having to shell out even more for account sharing, Netflix is £15.99 a month. And that account sharing thing is crucial for me, because my kids are the ones that watch Netflix. I rarely do, and I definitely don't watch £14.99 a month's worth.

I remember when streaming services promised to cut the cables, to free us from the expense of cable bundles that made us pay for tons of things we didn't watch. It didn't quite turn out like that, did it?

57 subscriptions and there's nothing on

What's changed, of course, is that Netflix is no longer the only streamer worth paying for – and in many cases the shows worth paying for, for me at least, aren't on it any more. I was one of thousands of people who subscribed to Netflix to watch Breaking Bad and later, Better Call Saul. But the shows I want to see now, such as The Last of Us and Yellowjackets, aren't on Netflix. Marvel moved to Disney+ ages ago. And I'm wary of getting into new shows in case Netflix cancels them just as I get hooked.

That means Netflix has become less useful over time while also becoming more expensive, and the account sharing fees are going to make it more expensive still. And because it's no longer the only streamer I need to subscribe to, it's not the only one I'm paying for – so my overall bill keeps going up.

Some of my streaming is included in other bundles, such as Apple One. But for simplicity's sake here's what I'm currently subscribed to and what each one costs based on our guide to the best streaming deals and my list of direct debits.

Netflix: £14.99 a month
Disney+: £7.99 a month
Now TV: £9.99 a month; it'd be £14.99 if I wanted full HD
Apple TV+: £4.99 a month
Amazon Prime Video: £7.99 a month

That's over £45 per month during a cost of living crisis where energy bills are soaring and staples aren't in supermarkets. I could heat my flat for about 20 minutes with all that money, or buy two tomatoes from the local tomato dealer.

If you're like me, you've probably accumulated streaming subs here and there – and you probably don't go back and see if you're actually using them. If you go digging into your direct debits you might be surprised by how much you can save.

I haven't watched anything on Netflix in weeks, so that can go until there's something I think is worth paying £15 a month for. Now TV is getting the boot as soon as the final Last of Us episode streams, and it's staying unsubscribed until Yellowjackets returns. I'd kill off Amazon Prime if I didn't use it for faster deliveries. 

I'm not saying goodbye to these services forever. I'm just not paying for the ones I don't currently use. That's one benefit streaming delivers that we didn't have in the bad old days of cable and satellite: you're not stuck with a long-term contract that's harder to escape from than New York, The Planet of the Apes or Alcatraz.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).