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10 Ways to Save Money on Streaming

Maintain your beloved shows for a fraction of the price.

In the beginning, there was Netflix, and that was pretty much it. Remember those days? They're long gone, as seemingly every major content provider has launched their own subscription services, hoping to get a financial foothold in what seems to be the future of movies and TV.  All those new services have led to a new phenomenon that sounds a bit like an '80s horror movie: "Subscription creep." Your spate of favorite shows—which once may have been accessible in one cable package and bill—are likely now spread across a half-dozen entertainment libraries, each with their own subscription. Those monthly charges can really mount up. They're also easy to sign up for and forget, meaning you could be spending money on content you rarely watch (or don't watch enough to justify the cost). But there are easy ways to save money on streaming services without sacrificing your favorite shows. Here are five expert tips. 

Choose To See Commercials


"The price gap between watching with and without ads is becoming hard to ignore," noted Shira Ovide in the Washington Post this week. For example, the cheapest Netflix option without commercials is $15.49 a month. To sit through ads, you'll only pay $7.99 a month. Peacock, Max, Disney Plus, and Paramount Plus also have ad-included and ad-free options; the latter often cost about half of the former. 

Look for Credit Card Offers


Some credit cards offer steep discounts on streaming subscriptions or offers for a statement credit. Cash-back sites like Rakuten (which you can install as a browser extension to automatically alert you to deals) regularly offer incentives as well.

Look for Digital Company Bundles


Several phone and streaming companies have begun to bundle other services into their offerings. Verizon offers a package with Netflix and Paramount Plus with Showtime, which saves more than 50% on those streamers. Buying a new Apple phone or computer comes with three free months of Apple TV Plus. Hulu offers its Live TV service (a cable-worthy array of channels), Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus for $82.99 or $69.99 a month, depending on whether you choose to watch ads or avoid them, respectively. 

Stop and Start


When you notice you're not using a streaming subscription, cancel it. Rejoining is easy when a service adds something you decide you can't miss. Some services like Hulu allow you to pause a membership; they'll keep your preferred shows and settings on file for three months. 

Look for Free Alternatives


There are several streaming services that are completely free and have large libraries of TV shows and movies. These include Tubi, Freevee, Pluto TV, and the Roku Channel. If you want to watch a certain TV show or movie, search online for where it's streaming. You might not have to pay for the privilege. 

Unearthing Musical Gems Without Breaking the Bank

Woman browsing Smartphone and using Spotify application on the screen.

Paying for a streaming music subscription isn't the only way to enjoy your favorite tunes. Instead of shelling out cash, try utilizing the free tiers of platforms like YouTube Music and Spotify. Although ads might disrupt your rhythm, the savings are undeniable.

YouTube is a Goldmine of Content

youtube tab pulled up on computer screen

According to Chris Richards, a renowned pop music critic quoted by The Telegraph, YouTube's vast reservoir of music, including concerts and user-uploaded recordings, serves as a treasure trove for the cost-conscious listener.

Explore a World of Options with Pandora, iHeart, AccuRadio, and More


If you're seeking more avenues for free streaming music accompanied by occasional ads, a variety of options are at your fingertips. Platforms like Pandora, iHeart, AccuRadio, and Radio Garden offer an assortment of musical genres and experiences, all accessible without a subscription fee.

Check Online Radio Stations


Additionally, exploring sources like and the eclectic offerings of online radio station NTS can broaden your musical horizons without putting a dent in your wallet.

Literary Escapes on a Budget

Middle aged woman holding digital tablet.

When it comes to books and audiobooks, there's no need to splurge. The Libby app, powered by OverDrive, enables you to borrow e-books and audiobooks for free from your local public library. Hoopla, another app with an array of e-books, audiobooks, comics, and obscure media, extends your options even further. Simply check if your local library participates and start your frugal reading journey.

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Expand Your Physical Book Collection

Woman reading book.

For those who appreciate the tactile pleasure of physical books, there are numerous thrifty avenues to enrich your library. Borrowing from friends, scouring used copies at places like Goodwill, or exploring online platforms like ThriftBooks can all help you build a collection without breaking the bank. Additionally, keep an eye out for neighborhood gems like the Little Free Library, where you can indulge in literary treasures and foster a sense of community sharing.

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