We Couldn’t Believe How Much Streaming Services Were Costing Us

Cutting Back On Subscriptions In An Age Of Constant Content

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

With a bit of extra time during the current global catastrophe, our family has been doing a myriad of “spring cleaning” essentials. One thing I had been meaning to do was re-evaluate the streaming services that we use, and try and cut back on some.

It Was Costing Us A Bunch

Doing the math on billing that had piled up over the years, we were astonished.

We had built up a whopping $76.93/mo (= $923.16/yr) in streaming services, in addition to a $20/mo. Spectrum TV subscription, that allows 15 live channels and hooks up with a Roku Smart television piece.

We couldn't believe that number and immediately looked at where we could cut back. But how do you start in such a decentralized streaming world, where there seems to be less content on each service and more services overall?

How We Cut Back

I started with Netflix. There’s so much great content on there and always new “originals,” but it has seemed to me that these have lost quality over time, and their once-great library of content is moving over to other new services. We reduced our $15.99/mo. plan to a $12.99/mo. plan.

Then, Amazon Prime. Prime itself costs $12.99/mo., and with the savings on the other end with Amazon shopping, we kept it. There are also series of “add-ons” or “channels” that you can purchase — everything from Starz, to Showtime, to HBO.

We were on the hook for Showtime and HBO. We quickly slashed Showtime ($11.99/mo.), and moved the $14.99 HBO subscription to a one-year $11.99/mo trial of HBOMax, the new streaming service that will vastly increase the bang-for-our buck on new originals, plus the existing HBO library (our favorite), along with tons of classic movies. It launches in late May, and we saved $3/mo. there as well. We also slashed something called Curiosity Steam, a $2.99/mo. channel that it looked like they were charging us for without our knowledge. Check for those, too.

Hulu can also be reduced to a $5.99/mo account with ads. If that is up your alley, I would make sure to check out that option!

How Much We Saved

Crunching the numbers, we went from paying $923.16 a year to now paying $683.40 a year. While it’s still quite a bit, but it is much better than what we used to pay with cable, and we’re able to share the services with other family, including grandma.

All-in-all, with some simple changes, we saved about $20/mo. or $239.76/yr., and we’re still getting just about the same amount of options!

But here’s the kicker: While $683 sounds like a lot per year — we are getting much better content than when we had cable, and we used to pay a whopping $3,000 a year for Dish Network. Incredible.

While we cut some things out, I realized just how many services there are — Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, Quibi, Crackle, The Criterion Channel, CBS All Access, NBC’s upcoming Peacock, Tubi, IMDb TV, Vudu, and more. With such stratified content libraries, it can be increasingly hard to find which is for you.

But at the end of the day, it seems — at least for now — that streaming is still cheaper than Cable. But, in my opinion, opening up a good book instead of trying to keep up with the latest show is always going to be preferable, and much cheaper. ;)

Writer and editor of The Streaming Surge on Substack — chronicling the digital Streaming War in an exciting and digestible bi-monthly newsletter to your inbox.

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