Between catching an episode of Life Below Zero and Heartland, I managed to take a few moments to see how I could save some money on my streaming services this past week.
After cutting the cord a few years ago, the Mrs and I have Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix (and I subscribed to the PGA Tour LIVE a year ago to appease my golf itch). Except for the lady (who loves a lot of NBC shows), I primarily use Netflix and don't find myself venturing into the Amazon or Hulu.
Here's a rundown of what we have been paying for these services per month:
|Amazon Prime||$ 8.25 approx.|
|PGA Tour LIVE||$ 3.33|
While I think we could get rid of Prime and Hulu down the road, I don't think that spending $30/mo on entertainment is terrible. We don't go out a lot – and to be honest – I can't remember the last time we went to the theater OR out to eat together.
It's not that we're cheapskates or I'm an unromantic knob, but we have found that in-home move-watching is just as fun – and our food, just as good (if not better) than we can get elsewhere. I still eat out at least 1x during the work week (usually Qdoba).
Back to the issue at hand: saving on those streaming services. I took a look at our accounts for each service we are subscribed to, and found a few ways that I could save a little more each month. Also, some other ways I thought I'd share here. Feel free to offer your own ways to save in the comments section.
Check your plan
After logging on to our Netflix account, I noticed something that struck me as odd. I don't know if its me and my forgetfulness or our friends at Netflix, but we seem to have been signed up for a plan we didn't need.
This brings me to my first suggestion: know thy plan. Hulu and Netflix offer several options: 2 and 3 respectively. With our Netflix account, we were on the $9.99/mo option that allows you to use it on 2 screens at the same time. Since we don't typically watch at the same time, I moved us down to the 1 screen plan at $7.99/mo.
And, taking a look at Hulu's plans, they essentially have two options. Commercials (which we are on) or no commercials. To save $4/mo, I don't mind putting up with a few ads. They also have live TV options, which we'll try and take a look at, at a later date (YouTube is also getting into this game).
Chat 'em up
Most websites today have a chat feature where you can get support. It doesn't take a lot of time – and often – you can get better, faster service than if you got on the horn.
When I was downgrading our plan at Netflix, I opened up a chat with a rep there. I asked for a “loyalty-type” discount, saying essentially that we've been with them awhile and were curious if they could offer a month free of service or another special. Since I had hit them up earlier this year, they were only able to give me a 50% discount on next month's bill – but that was a quick $4 savings! (Suppose I could apply it to our Hulu account to skip those commercials!)
Try this too – most seem agreeable to offering at least a month free or another discount for your loyalty.
I'd recommend you only attempt this 1-2x a year.
One of the features of Amazon Prime is the ability to share your membership with others. They've tightened this up a bit over the years and now require those you share with be in your “Amazon Household.”
Essentially, you can now add another adult to the plan as well as four children. I believe you could share your membership with 4 others (even if they were outside your household) previously.
Tell a friend
I'm real hip on referral bonuses. Free money / goods just for recommending a service / product that you love. Not a bad way to go about saving money.
Hulu offers a referral bonus for each person that you get to sign-up. This is basically one-month free and all you can easily use their callout found in the dashboard to try and onboard your contact.
Netflix had a referral program which they have since discontinued.
And with Amazon, you'd need to become an Associate member to earn affiliate rewards.
If you're planning to use the service for awhile, why not pay it all upfront?
This is what I do with PGA Tour LIVE. For $40/year, I save $32 over their monthly rate of $6/mo or $72/year. That's significant and I wish the other streaming services enticed members with a similar offer.
Pay with a discounted gift card
When discounted gift cards came out – it seemed like we could get major savings on all sorts of products / services we frequented. But it seems like the savings by discounted gift cards are becoming harder to find.
That said, last year I bought a Hulu gift card that essentially got me a month and a half off. I typically check out discounted gift card aggregators like GiftCardGranny.com to see what is out there.
What ways have you found to save on streaming?