There are loads of streaming services around, and the bill can rack up pretty quickly if you’re subscribed to multiple. So if you’re looking to cut down on entertainment expenses, here are some ways you can score streaming services—regardless if you’re a new or returning customer—for less.
To start off, let’s go over an option nearly every service will offer: annual plans. Paying for a full year rather than monthly payments is usually 10%-20% cheaper, assuming you’re fine with paying upfront. This option is only practical for services you already know you’ll use a lot throughout the year, so doing some research into a service’s library before committing is definitely recommended. And if this is a service you’ve already been subscribed to for multiple years, then an annual plan seems like a safe bet.
Limited Time Sales
This is the most obvious option of the bunch, but most streaming services go on sale at least a couple of times a year—especially around the holidays. Sometimes this is a simple discount that lasts a couple of months, other times it’s a major price cut for an entire year. Hulu, for example, regularly offers a year-long, ad-supported subscription, which drops the monthly charge to $1.99 at the end of the year. And Spotify often has discounted subscription prices for a few months during the summer and holiday seasons.
These deals are limited in scope, and usually are a one-time use per account, but they’re worth keeping an eye out for anyway—it’s certainly the easiest way to save some money at the very least. It’s also worth looking out for any discounted gift cards that can help you save a bit here and there.
Many streaming services give college students big discounts on subscriptions, such as YouTube Premium being knocked down from the normal price of $11.99 a month to $6.99—and that includes ad-free YouTube viewing along with YouTube Music. There’s also a terrific bundle with Spotify, Hulu (ad-supported), and SHOWTIME for only $4.99 a month available for college students.
This only works with accredited colleges or universities usually, and certain services may only support specific schools, but it never hurts to check if you’re eligible. Typing in your desired service of choice plus “College Discount” into Google should be enough to find whatever specifics you need to know.
Family plans often offer decent discounts on an individual basis if you split the bill between everyone. It’s different between every service of course—both with how much you’ll save and how many people they allow on one plan—but if you have a group of people you trust to pay up on time, then this is a great option for saving money. If you’re going to do this though, we recommend trying to go with an annual plan instead of monthly payments—the latter can be annoying for everyone involved.
You can occasionally find some TV streaming services that are bundled together for a lower total price. The only issue with bundles is if there’s a service included you’re not interested in it likely won’t be worthwhile—even if the bundle has more than two services included. Take the “Disney Bundle” for example, which includes Disney+, ad-supported Hulu, and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month—around $5 cheaper than subscribing to each individually.
However, if you’re not into sports and will never use ESPN+ as a result, then the price is actually equivalent to an ad-supported Hulu subscription along with Disney+. That doesn’t mean the bundle isn’t a great deal, but make sure you know what you’re actually paying for when it comes to any of these bundles.
Mobile carriers and credit card companies often partner with streaming services to deliver cheaper or free subscriptions as bonuses for the plans you pay for. Verizon even offers the “Disney Bundle” we just mentioned completely free with certain plans, for example. Whatever credit card company or mobile carrier you go through, it’s worth checking to see if there are any unclaimed promotions like this—they can help you save big.
Unsubscribe from the Stuff You Don’t Use
While this is an obvious option, it’s surprising how easy it is for subscriptions to sneak up on you without you realizing it. It’s a common mistake to let underused services keep charging you for months on end, so keeping track of what services you’re currently paying for and are actually using is very important. Fortunately, there are quite a few services you can use to help with this, such as Trim and Truebill.
With the methods listed here, you can cut down your streaming service budget a decent amount every month. While every service is different and may not be as generous with discounts as others, you should be able to save at least a few dollars a month with some of these options.