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Managing Your Streaming Service Expenses

Managing Your Streaming Service Expenses

Over the last decade, many people have cut the cord and switched from cable TV to streaming services for entertainment. Due to increased demand streaming services have multiplied, pushing consumers to subscribe to several services to get the coverage they previously had with cable.

The explosion of streaming services has a notable impact on family budgets. Initially, people assumed that streaming services would be a cost-effective alternative to cable. Now, as more platforms emerge offering exclusive content, the cumulative expense of each subscription rivals or exceeds traditional cable bills. This means families must balance their desire for variety in entertainment with the household budget.

So, how do you deal with the cost of streaming services without giving them up completely?

Manage Your Subscriptions

The first step to manage your subscriptions is to evaluate them. Write down each service you subscribe to and its cost. Then, take some time to think about how frequently you use each service.

For example, if you subscribe to Disney+, Netflix, Max and Hulu, you may not need or use all four of them regularly. Maybe regularly use Netflix and Disney+, but only use Hulu and Max on occasion. If that's the case, consider keeping Netflix and Disney+ while canceling Hulu and Max. Doing so could save you hundreds each year.

If you don't want to cancel your streaming services, consider pausing some each month. Maybe Disney+ releases a season of your favorite series once a year for two months. During this time, you can keep your account active. Then you could pause your subscription for the rest of the year, allowing you to save money while still enjoying your favorite show.

Also consider the cost of each platform. Prices vary from service to service, so it may be in your best interest to cancel the most expensive one so you can keep some cheaper options (or vice versa).

Explore Ad-Supported and Free Options

Another way to deal with rising costs is by considering free and ad-supported options. For example, Spotify offers Spotify Premium and Spotify Free. The free version comes with ads that play between songs. Hulu offers a similar option: watching all your favorite shows while paying less to stream with ads.

Other free streaming services include Pluto TV, Roku, Tubi and Freevee. You may even find free streaming offered by your local library, college or university (such as Kanopy or Hoopla Digital).

Nobody likes ads, but ask yourself: how much do you want to save money? Switching to ad-supported options may be worth it.

Look for Deals and Bundles

You may be eligible for deals and bundles that save you money on streaming service costs. For example, T-Mobile offers Netflix bundles with specific plans, and people with T-Mobile's Go 5G Plus plan can receive an Apple TV+ subscription free of charge.

Also pay attention to deals around holidays that can get you low prices on yearly subscriptions. Black Friday is often a good time to get a deal.

It Helps to Have a Budget

However you decide to manage your streaming expenses, it helps to have a budget. Horizon's online and mobile banking services make money management easier than ever. And they're completely free for members! Set up online banking to get our powerful budgeting tool MX, automatic bill pay and 24/7 account access today!