7 ways to pay less on streaming every month

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By Dan Sears

Five years ago, Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu with Live TV would cost you around $56 a month. Not bad!

Today, the same services will run you over $106. How’s that for outrageous?

New research shows we’re more cutthroat than ever about what we pay to stream. Let’s look at some clever ways people save so you can, too!

It’s all about the Benjamins

If it’s not clear by now, we’re all scaling back on streaming primarily because of how dang expensive these services are. Sure, some people hit their TV limit during the pandemic (raising my hand), but costs are still out of control.

Here are a few recent increases in monthly prices:

  • Ad-free Netflix plan: From $13.99 to $15.49
  • Ad-free Disney+ premium: From $11 to $14
  • Ad-free Hulu with Live TV: From $70 to $77
  • Ad-free Amazon Prime Video: From $0 to $2.99, plus you need to pay $14.99 per month for Prime
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Over the last two years, roughly 25% of American streaming subscribers have canceled at least three services. Yup, I’m in that category, too!

Netflix recently raised its prices and added a tier with ads.

OK, I’m ready to save

I feel you. You don’t need to cut all your streaming to save significant cash, either.

  • Get creative. What do you pay for that you don’t need all the time? Looking at you, sports add-ons. Cancel those once specific events or seasons are over.
  • Focus on what you watch most. If we’re not watching anything on Netflix, it goes away until our show returns. A couple of active services are usually more than enough for one family.
  • Watch ads. Streaming companies are desperate to keep you, and you can get free or cheaper options if you’re willing to put up with commercials.
  • Get a grip. Sometimes, you forget what you’re even paying for. I use Rocket Money (a sponsor of my podcast) to do it for me. You can also comb through your bank and credit card statements to find all your streaming charges.
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Logos for streaming services Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and Sling TV on a remote control.
The price of steaming services have increased. AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File
  • Consider an antenna. This is a no-brainer if you’re a sports fan and your favorite games are on local channels. Here’s a solid option that includes a DVR, and this one gets the job done on a budget. Try this site to see what channels you can get at home.
  • Test the freebies. Pluto TV, Tubi and plenty of others still cost absolutely nothing. Ads? Yes. Free? YesBig list of freebies here!
  • Sharing is caring. Not everyone has banned this yet. Amazon lets up to six people share. Through Apple’s Family Sharing feature, six folks get Apple TV+. Disney+ started cracking down on password sharing for Canadian users, but it’s still OK here in the U.S. — for now.

My husband, Barry, is a serial subscriber

If there’s a paid app or service, he somehow finds it. I regularly go in and cancel stuff he’s not using, and then every few months, he’ll yell, “KIM! Did you cancel this?” I just laugh.

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But seriously, do this with your spouse, your kids, whoever. If no one is watching, it’s time to cancel. I bet they won’t even notice.

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