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SaveEntertainment The Ultimate Guide to Saving on Streaming Services for TV

The Ultimate Guide to Saving on Streaming Services for TV

Which streaming service is best to save money? Read this guide to saving on streaming services for TV. Check out your mailer for more savings.

The Ultimate Guide to Saving on Streaming Services for TV

We’re living in the “golden age of television,” a time when there’s more high-quality entertainment content available than ever before. The rise of streaming services has caused many Americans to cut the cord on cable. According to Statista, the number of cable cord-cutters is expected to increase from 24.6 million in 2019 to 46.6 million in 2024.

In some cases, using streaming only can help you save money compared to having a traditional cable subscription. But for households that sign up for premium accounts on all the streaming services, costs can quickly add up and even exceed what you were paying for with a cable subscription.

Each streaming service has its own content, advantages, and pitfalls. With so much to choose from, you might be wondering, should I opt for streaming services for TV? Which streaming service is best?

This guide explains what to consider with streaming services and how to save money when you use them.

1. Research content

Before you sign up for a streaming service, look up the content each service has to offer. Some of the most popular streaming services are:

  • Netflix: Netflix offers both original content and popular titles. You might be able to find your favorite movies and shows on the app, or watch original reality programming, documentaries, concert films, and movies, from the Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana,” to the reality show “Selling Sunset”.
  • Hulu: Hulu, like Netflix, produces original content (“The Handmaid’s Tale”, for example) in addition to featuring popular titles from cable channels like FX. The streaming app also offers live TV channels, including news from CNN and ABC News, as well as live sports from ESPN.
  • Amazon Prime Video: You can get access to Amazon Prime Video if you’re an Amazon Prime member. The streaming service produces original content, like “The Underground Railroad,” in addition to presenting popular movie and show titles.
  • Apple TV+: Apple TV+ focuses on featuring original content, like the programs “Ted Lasso” and “The Morning Show”. Content includes movies, documentaries, series, and children’s programming. The streaming provider also has Major League Baseball content, including live games.

You can also find cable channel-specific content on streaming partners like Disney+ (Disney, National Geographic), HBO Max (HBO), Peacock (NBC, Bravo), and Paramount+ (Comedy Central, MTV, CBS, BET, Nickelodeon). If you tend to watch specific cable channels and want to cut the cord, there might be a cheaper streaming service to turn to.

2. Sign up for free trials

Most streaming services offer a free trial for at least a week, so you can try out the streaming service before you commit to a paid plan. Take advantage of these trials, especially if you want to binge a program and can power through it during a trial.

It’s always nice to try before you buy. Use your free trial time to check out the user experience of the streaming app and peruse the content.

3. Opt in to ads

Once you’ve decided what streaming services you want to subscribe to, compare the plans each service offers. For example, you could save at least $6 a month if you subscribe to Hulu’s ad-supported plan, compared to the no-ad plan. If you get an annual ad-supported subscription, you’ll save more than $85 a year on Hulu alone.  

The good thing about ads on streaming services is that the ads are hyper-targeted to your demographic. Unlike cable TV, where you might see ads that aren’t at all relevant to your interests or lifestyle, with streaming, the ads are based on the information you sign up with. Even the ads on streaming providers can feature useful content you look forward to seeing in-between the content of your favorite programming.

4. Look at bundle options

Another potential plan feature to research is the ability to bundle streaming services together. For example, you can bundle Hulu + Live TV with Disney+ and ESPN+ and save on the bundle compared to if you subscribed to all three streaming options separately. Paramount+ offers a bundle plan with SHOWTIME.

Another way to “bundle” your streaming is by purchasing months of streaming together in advance. For example, speaking of Paramount+, you can save at least 16% off the monthly price when you purchase an annual plan instead of paying monthly.

 5. Share the streaming love

Some streaming services, like Netflix, enable members to add multiple users to a single account. This is good for you and those in your household, but it could also provide a benefit for those who want to share an account with friends outside of their household.

For streaming plans that enable multiple users, ask your friends if they’d be interested in sharing an account with you. You can split the cost and save together.

6. Look for partner deals

Some non-streaming companies also offer streaming perks when you become a customer. For example, smartphone service provider Verizon provides Disney+ streaming with select Verizon Unlimited mobile phone plans. A variety of credit cards, including American Express, offer extra rewards for streaming subscription purchases.

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, cell phone provider, or other service, research the terms to see if there are streaming perks. Also, look at the services you already subscribe to. They may offer streaming discounts that can help you save.

7. Pay for what you watch

Finally, just like we recommend when you want to save on all your monthly bills, monitor your expenses every month to make sure you’re paying for things that bring you joy. If you start out with a lot of streaming subscriptions, you might find that you don’t have time to watch them all, or you tend to favor one streaming channel far more than the others. Cancel a subscription when you’re not using it.

Also, regularly research the plans of each streaming company you subscribe to. Plans are always changing or new ones are being introduced, so you may find a different offering works better for you. Some streaming companies offer different tiers based on other factors, like viewing resolution. You may realize you don’t need an Ultra HD plan when you mostly watch content on your cell phone.

You may want to sign up, quit, and sign back up again only when programming you’re interested in arrives. You and your family’s viewing habits can help you understand what type of plan (monthly vs. annual, for example) makes most financial sense.

Trim more off your monthly bills

There’s always a way to save a little bit more, with some research and reflection on what matters most to you and your family. We share how to save on your electricity bill this summer and provide some unexpected savings tips so you can add more back to your wallet, to spend on streaming services or whatever you’re into.

Also, be sure to check your Save mailer for coupons on groceries, home goods, and other essential items.