A tip to spend less on TV streaming in 2023

This story is part 12 days of advicehelping you get the most out of your tech, your home and your health this holiday season.

The new year is here, and the latest releases of 2023 on netflix, Disney+, Hulu and HBO Max will follow soon. But if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to save money, you might be thinking about updating your budget. Crispy numbers for your streaming subscriptions could make you realize you’re spending $500 a year or more. But it’s a set of expenses that you can easily change.

Here is the scenario: you are subscribed to several streaming services, you watch one or two until your favorite show ends its season, then look for the next thing. But is it worth keeping all those accounts active if you don’t look at anything on them? I do not think so.

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Read more: Best Live TV Streaming Service for Cord Cutting in 2023

Rotate your streaming services

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Ditching cable for good and switching to streaming is a shrewd money move for cord cutters. Because you can sign up for monthly plans, it’s easy to hop on a streaming service and jump when prices rise or content dries up. But according to Deloitte’s 2022 Media Trends report, the top reasons people cancel their streaming subscriptions are cost and a lack of fresh content. Media companies call this behavior “churn.” We call this the rotation method, and you should give it a try.

The incentive? You save your coins and avoid content droughts. Let’s say a popular title like The Last of Us or Willow is about to be released on a service. Find the total number of episodes and wait for them all to be available at the same time on a platform. You cancel HBO Max, Disney Plus, or another service and then, once all the episodes are available, you resubscribe to catch up. Alternatively, you can start airing a show mid-season to cut costs. My monthly guide to which streaming services to cancel can help you follow.

The wrong side? You won’t have immediate access to all the shows you want to watch and will have to wait for the full season to air. And since many streaming services release new episodes every week, you might not catch up with your friends at the same time. If you’re someone who prefers to watch episodes immediately when they drop, you may decide it’s worth having multiple subscriptions at once. If you have patience, however, you can save some money.

The strategy can also work if you have a live tv streaming service to watch a particular sport or a major event like the Super Bowl. When the season is over, cancel the service or switch to a cheaper platform with fewer channels, like Sling TV.

Read more: Best streaming device for 2023: Roku, Google, Amazon and Apple picks

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us looks down while standing outside

Why pay three months of HBO Max to watch The Last of Us when you can watch all nine episodes in March for the price of one month?

Liane Hentscher/HBO

Tip #1: Cancel your subscription before you get charged

Set calendar reminders for your billing cycle and upcoming TV show or movie release dates. Give yourself enough notice to start or end a subscription. Apps like JustWatch, V Time and Hobi help you track when and where TV shows and movies appear on a streaming service. And JustWatch recently added a tracker specifically for sports. If you have a smart home device from Google or Amazon, you can set reminders for specific dates and allow a voice assistant like Alexa to notify you of an upcoming bill or streaming date.

Tip #2: Sign up for streaming service offers

Look for streaming discounts services. For example, Starz is now $3 per month for three months, down from its usual $9 per month rate. You can also take advantage of the Disney Bundle, which provides access to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus in one package at a discounted price. And eligible Hulu subscribers can add Disney Plus for $2. Finally, be sure to check with your mobile carrier to see which ones offer free streaming subscriptions.

Read more: Best streaming service deals from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile

Tip #3: Choose one or two default streaming services

Subscribe to one or two essential services for the year and select only one or two additional options according to your monthly budget. Rotate the bonus service(s) depending on what you want to watch, ensuring you don’t miss your favorite shows while staying within your monthly spending cap.

Tip #4: Only use monthly invoicing

Avoid annual subscriptions and pay attention to your auto-renewal payment dates. Your billing cycle can help you determine the best time to exit a service, even if you only signed up for a free trial. The only advantage to subscribing to an annual plan is that the price is considerably reduced.

Tip #5: Don’t Cancel Your Subscription, Pause It

Hulu lets you suspend your subscription up to 12 weeks, and Sling has a similar option with stipulations. Check with your streaming provider if you can take a temporary break without canceling.

Try it, and if you don’t like it, you can always subscribe again. For more great tips on streaming TV, check out this guide to Netflix’s Hidden Tricks and our advice on best VPNs.

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