Millions of households have cut back on streaming services in recent months as the cost of living crisis deepens. Analysts Kantar found that the number of paid-for video streaming subscriptions in the UK declined by two million in 2022, from 30.5 million to 28.5 million.
Rhiannon Philps, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet, said that streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime saw a huge boom during the pandemic as numerous lockdowns encouraged a surge in TV watching and streaming. But as inflation hits a 40-year high, households are now prioritising ways to cut down their monthly outgoings.
She said: “Last October it was reported that almost one million UK homes cancelled streaming services, as many people tried to reduce spending on home entertainment to help them pay for essentials. With so many different streaming services competing for our attention, and rising prices putting extra strain on our finances, it’s a good time to evaluate whether subscriptions to platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix are worth the cost.”
If you want to hang on to your subscriptions, there are ways to cut costs. Rhiannon has shared tips on how households can look to reduce their monthly expenses and continue to enjoy streaming and subscription services without breaking the bank during these financially uncertain times.
Tip to save money on streaming services including Netflix and Amazon Prime
Utilise all services on offer
“While many people take advantage of the free one-day delivery service you can get with Amazon Prime, along with the thousands of songs, films and TV shows available to stream, there are also several other benefits that people may not be utilising.
“With a Prime membership, you can read thousands of books as well as play new games and receive in-game upgrades at no extra cost. You may also be able to carry out a weekly shop with Amazon Fresh, which offers Prime members in certain locations free, same-day delivery on grocery shops over £40. So, if you are paying the Prime subscription price, it is important to make use of all of its services, not just one or two.”
Split subscriptions in your household
“If possible, try to split the cost of a subscription with somebody else in your household, allowing you to take advantage of any free trials or discounts on offer for substantially less expense. For example, Spotify offers a Premium Duo plan for £13.99 a month, ideal for two people in the same household.
“This can save you around £72 a year, compared to the price of two individual subscriptions.”
Take advantage of student offers
“If you are a student, it is also worth taking advantage of the Amazon Prime Student membership. This offers a 6-month free trial, before costing just £4.49 per month. It gives you most of the same benefits as a fully paid-up member of Amazon Prime, plus some exclusive student-only offers throughout the year.”
Consider whether you need certain services
“Take a look at the channels and services you are regularly consuming content from and ask yourself, “do I really need to pay for all of these TV and film streaming services at the same time?” If the answer is no, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ all allow you to cancel a monthly plan without an exit fee.
“Therefore, if there is a particular programme being launched that you know you will be bingeing, it’s perfectly feasible to cancel the other platforms you won’t use as much and continue alternating the platforms you pay for in order to save some money.”
Downgrade current plans
“Another option is to downgrade the current plans you are paying for. At the moment, Netflix has three separate plans; basic, standard and premium. If it is just you watching Netflix but you are on a premium plan, it is worth reducing your plan down a tier.
“If available, you could also consider downgrading from a paid premium plan to a free (or cheaper) plan with adverts. It can be annoying when adverts interrupt your music or show, but you should ask yourself if paying extra to stop them is worth the cost.”
Take advantage of free trials
“Many subscription services offer the perk of a free trial, and it is always worth taking advantage of these in order to assess if it’s worth spending your money on. Music streaming services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify often allow you to listen for one month, or maybe more, without paying anything.
“ If you want to take advantage of free music, without adverts, it’s therefore possible to alternate each streaming platform solely using the free trial options.”
Opt for annual subscriptions
“It’s often cheaper to pay for a subscription annually rather than monthly. So, if you’re confident that you’ll use the service regularly, it may be worth paying the upfront cost to save money in the long term. With many subscriptions, companies are looking to tie you in for the year, so the monthly cost will usually work out more after paying it over twelve months.”
Cancel what you don’t use
“Finally, cancel anything that you don’t use. If you signed up for certain services during the lockdown to help pass the time, but you haven’t used them since, get rid of them. If you have several bank accounts with small outgoings of subscription fees, you can use an app like Money Dashboard to see an overview of your outgoings and spot subscriptions that you may not want or need anymore.
“Remember, there is always a free alternative too. The likes of All4, ITV Hub and My5 give you some great box sets free of charge, although you can pay to view them without adverts.”