How to lower monthly video streaming costs

How to lower monthly video streaming costs

Easy ways to avoid being overcharged for popular streaming services

by Kurt Knutsson

Prices are up. Airline tickets, electric bills, everyday groceries, and also video streaming services are seeing higher price tags.

Disney+, Apple TV+ and Hulu are set to increase recurring subscription fees to offset higher production and licensing costs.

Netflix’s most popular plan has gone from $8.99 a month back in 2014 to $15.49 a month today for HD streaming with two simultaneous streams.

Ways to avoid overpaying for streaming services

Add up all of your monthly streaming bills and you are likely spending more than you are aware of. Almost 60% of US households with video streaming have 3 or greater subscriptions according to Nielsen.

Half of Americans spend $20 or more per month.  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.

#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 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

To check recurring app subscriptions on Android, launch the Play Store > tap your profile photo > then Payment & subscriptions.

How to check Amazon subscriptions

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

Amazon membership and subscription screen


#2 Change to a cheaper tier

Netflix just started offering advertising-supported subscriptions at a reduced monthly rate of $6.99.
Disney+ starts a $ 7.99-a-month subscription with ads on December 8.  Disney+ fee without ads will increase to $10.99 a month at the same time.


#3 Start and stop subscriptions

Most streaming services are month-to-month and offer the ability to cancel at any time.  Signing off and then signing back on can make sense between big seasons of popular series.


#4 Split and share subscriptions

Splitting a subscription can save money when done right.

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 One plan starting at $22.95 that bundles services including Apple TV+ can be shared by 6 people who live anywhere within the same country.

Some services let you share with friends and family who reside outside your home address.  Other streaming companies including Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, Netflix, and HBO Max say those who share the same plan need 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 began fees for extra subscripts sharing the same account.


#5 Free streaming services

Watch free tv shows and movies at a variety of apps worth adding to your streaming device.  Both Tubi from Fox Entertainment, Amazon’s Freevee, PlutoTV, and Roku Channel are free channels to watch with ads.

Some ad-free streaming services like Hoopla and Kanopy let you watch for free by entering in your active library card membership.

More:  Best sites to stream free movies, TV shows, and live news 2022

Free movie and tv search

A video search site called Reelgood can point your way to free offerings available. It also helps with remembering which tv series or movie is available at various paid and free streaming services. All you do is add the streaming services you subscribe to make searching streaming services in one place.

Another free service to check out is an app called Queue (iOS) where you can discover new shows across streamers and build a queue of all your favorites into your profile to then share with friends. Add what services you have and Queue will automatically split your watchlist into “Free for Me” or “Paid” so you know what’s included on your streamers and what titles require additional payment through either a subscription or purchase/rental.

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