10 expert hacks to save money on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+
With the cost of living crisis currently weighing on household budgets, subscriptions are often the first payments cancelled. A recent study found that the number of households subscribing to at least one video streaming service in Britain has plummeted as the cost of living crisis has led some (particularly younger households) to forego entertainment in favor of ‘to save money.
The survey found that 16.9 million, or 58% of households, now have at least one paid subscription, a quarter-on-quarter reduction of 215,000.
Who? has rounded up ways to save money on services, from Amazon Prime to Spotify.
Share your subscriptions
Sharing streaming subscriptions within a household is one of the fastest ways to save money. Most services have plans that could help users save money, without losing their custom features. For example, Spotify offers a Premium Duo plan at £13.99 per month for two people in the same household, which saves £71.88 per year compared to the price of two individual subscriptions. For larger households, the Spotify Premium Family plan for £16.99 per month allows up to six users to enjoy premium benefits, saving £515.40 per year over six individual subscriptions. Amazon Prime also allows users to share benefits with another person in their household, cutting the cost of having two separate accounts in half.
Pay annually rather than monthly and save up to £16.88
Users can save by purchasing a one-year subscription all at once, rather than paying monthly. For example, Disney+ costs £7.99 per month, or £79.90 for the year, saving £15.98. Amazon Prime costs £7.99 per month or £79 for the year, saving £16.88.
Monthly Subscription Rotation
Those with multiple TV and movie subscriptions could save money by rotating what they pay each month. Netflix, Now, Amazon Prime and Disney+ will allow users to cancel monthly subscriptions at any time with no exit fees, so if you can schedule what you want to watch, you can alternate to save. For example, if you subscribed to both Disney+ and Netflix (standard) at a monthly rate, you would pay £227.76 per year in total. However, if you alternated the months you would only pay £113.88 a year (six months of Disney at £7.99 and six months of Netflix at £10.99).
Do your research and compare prices
If there is a specific program they want to watch, viewers should first research which platforms have it, and if it is on multiple platforms, check which one is the cheapest. For example, Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders are available on Netflix and BBC iPlayer. The cheapest Netflix subscription is £6.99 per month, but if you already have a TV license BBC iPlayer is free.
Downgrade your plan
Switching to a cheaper plan is another easy way to save. For example, Netflix offers three different packages: basic (£6.99), standard (£10.99) and premium (£15.99). The basic plan only lets you watch on one screen at a time – but for those who live alone and don’t share an account with anyone, upgrading to this plan would save £48 a year. Amazon Prime also offers a basic subscription called Prime Video for £5.99 a month – it doesn’t include other benefits such as free premium delivery, but it might be worth it just to stream shows. This would save users £24 per year.
Calculate if it’s really worth it
If customers only use a subscription a few times a month, it may not be worth it. For example, the Pret coffee subscription costs £25 per month and provides the customer with up to five hot drinks per day (one every 30 minutes). A full-size latte at Pret costs £2.95, those buying three a week would spend £35.40 a month, saving £10.40. However, a black coffee costs £1.40 and would cost £16.80 a month for three a week, in which case customers would save £8.20 by buying them individually.
Make the most of free trials
Music streaming services Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited and YouTube Premium are all currently offering new users a one-month free trial. Users should remember the date the trial ends to avoid accidentally paying for the next month.
Cancel what you don’t use
It’s easy to lose track of active subscriptions, especially if you pay to multiple bank accounts. Apps like Money Dashboard and Snoop give users an overview of all their bank accounts in one place and can help users spot subscriptions they no longer need or want. Some banking apps also have features that make it easier to track bills.
Use free alternatives
All 4, ITV Hub and My 5 are available for free (as long as you don’t use them to watch live TV). For free music, BBC Sounds allows users to listen to live radio, as well as a range of podcasts and music playlists. Alternatively, local libraries often offer free e-books, magazines, and newspapers.
Many cell phone providers offer free extras with contracts that could provide access to popular streaming sites for up to two years. For example, Vodafone offers up to 24 months of Amazon Prime, Spotify or YouTube Premium with some paid monthly plans, and EE offers a “special benefit” for the duration of the mobile contract. This currently includes BT Sport, Apple Music or Apple TV+ However, it’s important to make sure any new phone contract is right for you before you sign it, and be sure to look for the best deal.
Reena Sewraz, which one? Money Expert said: “From streaming your favorite movies and songs to drinking coffee, many of us find paying for subscriptions now normal, but the costs can quickly add up. With the cost of living crisis weighing on household budgets, many people will reassess their subscriptions to save money.
“However, we’ve found plenty of ways to save across a range of subscriptions. If you live with others and have multiple subscriptions for the same services, it’s worth splitting a subscription to save costs. Paying annually rather than monthly is often cheaper, and you can even alternate your monthly subscriptions, rather than paying for more than one similar service at once.