11 Ways To Minimize Your Streaming TV Costs

Ever since there was digital film invented, the TV streaming service market is saturated and busy. Recently, it has been getting more and more expensive to watch TV on cable or as a cord-cutter, especially with so many different subscriptions and rising prices. With so many competing platforms on the market, many people subscribe to multiple streaming TV services in order to have access to all their favorite shows. When you subscribe to multiple platforms like HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Disney etc., it can feel like you’re spending as much as you were for cable alone, if not more.

However, there are ways to cut down on your streaming costs. You can lower your monthly expenses without totally eliminating your streaming service budget. Read on for some great tips on how to save on TV streaming services while watching the shows and films you want.

1. Cancel what you least watch

If you’re like the average, with subscriptions to four or five streaming services, it is time to cancel a few. Find the streaming service you’re using the least and drop it. Take a few minutes to analyze how much time you’re spending on each platform, and cut the least used one from your budget. For example, if you signed up for HBO a while ago, but you have already watched your favorite series, there’s no point in keeping your subscription. You can always resubscribe when there’s a new season.

2. Plan

You can cancel your subscription anytime and resume whenever your favorite show comes back. Many series go a year or more between seasons, so you can take that time off and make some great savings. This is why you shouldn’t opt for the annual subscription, but rather go for the monthly option.

3. Drop live TV

Live TV is really expensive. But, how much live TV do you really watch? Instead of paying for live TV, look for services that allow you to pay on demand for live events that you are specifically interested in. There are many free channels, such as NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, which you can watch with an antenna. With a digital TV antenna, you can pick up local channel signals for free. You’ll be able to watch a variety of programs with just a one-time payment for the cost of the antenna itself.  

4. Use free trials

Most major streaming services offer a free trial that typically lasts a week or two (e.g., Paramount+, YouTube TV) or even more (e.g., Hulu, Showtime). If there’s a show or movie you want to watch on a paid streaming service, then you might want to make use of a free trial (especially if you want to quickly binge a single show).

Since canceling your streaming TV subscription rarely comes with any penalty, this allows you to sign up, binge, and cancel. You can hop from streaming service to service, picking up what you want to see for free, then canceling and waiting for a new season or more content to build up before repeating.

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5. Choose nonpremium

Many streaming services, like Apple TV, offer a variety of subscription packages at different prices. The more expensive packages have premium features such as HD or streaming without advertisements. You can save money by sacrificing a bit of quality and choosing the basic package. Especially if you are mostly watching from your mobile device, HD is something you don’t need.

Also, if you’re willing to deal with ads, consider purchasing the lowest tier of a service. That way, you can still enjoy the excellent programs it has to offer while saving a bit of money. Use that commercial time like we did in the old days: have a snack, go to the bathroom, do your laundry.

6. Share with friends

According to research, almost half Americans borrow login details from friends. This may not be news, but it’s a good reminder. Different streaming TV services have different policies when it comes to password-sharing. Many offer the ability to add multiple users to one account, and in many cases, it’s cheaper per person.

7. Free streaming services

There are many free streaming services, and many of them are home to some pretty good TV and movies. Yes, you’ll have to sit through commercials on most of them, but otherwise there’s zero cost. You can even get your fill of free livestreaming news.

If you prefer streaming entertainment to using an antenna, there are still ways to save money. In fact, there are streaming services you can enjoy without paying anything. For example, Tubi, Amazon Freevee (the free alternative to Amazon Prime Video), Pluto TV (Paramount’s free alternative to their Paramount+), Hoople et.al. You can even use proxy services to access content that you are blocked from seeing, either because of your geolocation or a high volume of requests to the target website.

8. Get a bonus credit card

Some credit cards give you streaming benefits, such as cashbacks for major streaming services. See if your current card has any streaming offers. If not, it might be worth switching to a card that does.

9. Use your phone subscription

Many mobile phone companies offer incentives such as access to streaming platforms for free just for being a customer. Check out the regular bundle offers by T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.

In a time when streaming TV services are increasing their prices, it pays to take advantage of all these savings strategies to save some money.

10. Pause your subscriptions

If you don’t want to cancel your subscriptions, there are many providers who allow you to temporarily pause your subscription. You will not have access to any of your services during the pause, and that includes streaming services that may be bundled together. Check your account page for specific details on how pausing affects your billing cycle and how long you’re able to temporarily stop paying.

11. Student discounts

Many streaming services offer discounts to students. It’s not something you may think to look for, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save. As for hardware, you can find the best monitors and peripherals in Technoburst.

Researcher educator specializing in Ed Tech, educational innovations, computer-supported collaborative learning, and technology integration. Based in Singapore.