Stream more, pay less by lowering your monthly streaming costs

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2 How to stream more and pay less by lowering your monthly streaming costs billshock


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Gone are the days of boundless free trials and ad-free subscriptions for every tier of subscription memberships. 

It seems now that every year our favorite subscription services are threatening to increase membership plan prices or strip away benefits previously provided based on your membership tier. Streamers have claimed to be struggling with costs as well as increasing their subscriber base.

Despite people abandoning costly cable bundles in exchange for cheaper streaming services, now those costlier monthly subscription services are really adding up.

It pays to take a good look at which services you’re subscribed to already, ways you can stop overpaying and a clear look at the different plans and how they measure up against one another. Let’s check to see which services have gone up and which ones are worth sticking with.

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1 Stream more and pay less by lowering your monthly streaming costs

Streaming on a computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Ways to avoid overpaying for streaming services

According to Nielsen, “Americans streamed 21 million years’ worth of content [in 2023]”, which is a 21% increase from 2022. Add up all of your monthly streaming bills, and you are likely spending more than you are aware of.

Ninety-nine percent of U.S. households are subscribed to ONE or more streaming services. On average, Americans are spending around $46 per month on streaming services. Others are paying more and sometimes don’t know it. There is an easy way to get a handle on out-of-control spending on streaming.

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Couple looking at their streaming bill (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Tip 1 – Check for hidden subscription charges

Audit your credit card bill to discover recurring streaming charges. While looking at your bill online, sort by name over a number of months to help the recurring charges stand out. Then check your app store settings for subscriptions you may not be using any longer but are still paying for each month.

How to check iPhone subscriptions

To check recurring app subscriptions on iPhone, start by tapping Settings > tap your name > and tap Subscriptions

How to check Android subscriptions

 Settings may vary depending on your Android phone’s manufacturer.

To check recurring app subscriptions on Android, Settings > Google > Manage your Google Account > Payments & Subscriptions > Manage purchases, Manage subscriptions, or Manage reservations

How to check Amazon subscriptions

To check recurring subscriptions on Amazon on your smartphone, click your account settings tab after logging into Amazon > then tap Memberships and Subscriptions to see what recurring services are subscribed to.

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Tip 2 – Change to a cheaper tier

Over the past year, Netflix just started offering advertising-supported subscriptions at a reduced monthly rate of $6.99 (vs. the ad-free standard tier, which starts at $15.49). Disney Plus costs $7.99 a month for ad-supported streaming (vs $13.99 a month for ad-free playback).

Tip 3 – Start and stop subscriptions

Because most streaming services are month-to-month and offer the ability to cancel at any time, there is no reason not to start and stop your subscription.

Tip 4 – Split and share subscriptions

Most streaming services offer the ability to now add users to subscription plans. When done correctly and with the right people, splitting a subscription can save you money.

Amazon Prime – $139 a year or $14.99 a month subscription, which includes Prime Video; can be shared by two adults at separate addresses

Apple TV offers various tiers:

(1) If you buy an Apple device, Apple TV+ is included free for three months.
(2) A monthly subscription is just $9.99 per month after a free seven-day trial.
(3) Apple TV+ is included in Apple One, which bundles up to five other Apple services into a single monthly subscription. Apple One plans start at $19.95 per month. You can choose a more premium tier, such as ‘Family’ ($25.95/month) or ‘Premier’ ($37.95/month), which allows you to share an account with up to five people.
(4) The Apple Music Student Plan comes with a free subscription to Apple TV+.
While some services let you share with friends and family who reside outside your home address, other streaming companies, including Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, Netflix, and Max, require those who share the same plan to live under the same roof.

Netflix is starting to check subscriber locations in some Latin American countries that could come to the U.S. in the future to enforce shared accounts at different addresses. Netflix started to enforce fees for subscribers sharing the same account but who do not reside in the same address. Netflix, however, does now have subscription levels where you can add users who can sign in with their own username and password, so the account owner doesn’t have to share the master username and password with others. Share the account, not your information.

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STREAMING a movie

Couple streaming movie on their laptop (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Tip 5 – Bundle and save

Some streaming services like Disney Plus allow you to bundle multiple platforms to save you money. For instance, if you pay for the Disney Bundle Duo Basic for $9.99/month, you get Disney Plus (with ads) and Hulu (with Ads). Separately, each of those subscription levels would cost $7.99/month. That means a saving of $5.99 a month. So, double check to see if your favorite streaming platforms offer similar bundles for cost savings.

Tip 6 – Purchase the annual subscription

While it sounds counterintuitive, if you know you’ll keep watching a platform for a whole year, it may save you money in the long run to buy the whole year upfront. For instance, Disney Plus allows you to purchase a whole year’s subscription to the Premium tier for $139.99, which breaks down to $11.66/month or a savings of $27.89 (or two months free) compared to the monthly subscription of $13.99.

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Tip 7 – Free streaming services

If you choose not to purchase a streaming service, there are a bunch of free TV shows and movies available on a variety of platforms. Tubi from Fox Entertainment, Amazon’s Freevee, PlutoTV, and Roku Channel are free channels to watch with ads. Be sure to check out our picks for the best sites to stream free movies, TV shows, and live news in 2024

Some ad-free streaming services like Hoopla and Kanopy let you watch for free with an active library card membership.

COUPLE streaming

Couple streaming shows and movies (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Top streamer subscription cost 

In an effort to help you get a bird’s eye view of how much streaming services cost, below is a breakdown of the top streamers and their cost at the time of publishing: The streaming services market is very competitive, with different platforms offering various plans and prices. 

  • Among the major players, Paramount has the cheapest monthly plan with ads, at $5.99, followed by Hulu at $7.99.
  • Netflix, Amazon, AppleTV, and Max all have plans without ads, ranging from $9.99 to $22.99 per month.
  • YouTube has three plans, with the individual one costing $13.99 per month.
  • The yearly plans are usually cheaper than paying monthly, except for Netflix and Hulu, which do not offer yearly plans.
  • The most expensive yearly plan is the Ultimate Ad-Free plan from Max, at $199.99.
  • Disney+ has two plans, one with ads and one without. The Disney+ Basic plan costs $7.99 per month, while the Disney+ Premium plan costs $13.99 per month or $139.99 per year.

Kurt’s key takeaways

Though streaming services are adapting to economic challenges by passing along the burden to the consumer by increasing subscription costs or eliminating some benefits at the base subscription level, these services aren’t going anywhere and are a staple of most American lives. Having good awareness, however, of what you are subscribing to and adopting a savvy strategy could still have you coming up on top.

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Has the rising cost of streaming services changed your viewing habits? Are you planning on incorporating any of these cost-saving strategies? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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