Of course, there are shows on other services I want to watch, too. When “Game of Thrones” was on, I signed up for HBO Now so I could watch it live. I briefly signed up for CBS All Access to watch the new “Twilight Zone,” though that didn’t last as long. Most services are $10 to $15, so adding one won’t blow out my budget too much.
The key, however, is to rotate your extra subscriptions. Leave one or two slots in your budget for an extra streaming service that you don’t intend to stay subscribed to. Then, while you have it, watch as many of the shows you want to watch on that service as you can, before moving on to the next one. This especially works if you schedule your rotating subscriptions around the big shows or events that you’re excited to see.
For example, say you want to bring Netflix into your rotation to watch the new “Stranger Things.” Well, “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” came to the service that same week, and the show “Love, Death & Robots” had been out a few months earlier. It won’t take too long to get through a big tent pole like “Stranger Things,” but once you’re subscribed, you have at least a month to catch up on the other things you might have wanted to see. When you’re done, just cancel your subscription and move on to the next one. Just make sure you remember to cancel.
Option 2: Maximize your add-ons and bundles
Another option to save money is to look for add-ons and bundles to your existing services, rather than signing up for each individually. In order to consolidate billing and keep customers locked into a certain service, some streaming subscriptions let you sign up for other sites as an add-on to your account.
For example, Hulu offers the opportunity to sign up for a Showtime subscription add-on for the regular $11 per month (on top of your normal Hulu plan), and Starz for an extra $9 per month. So far, this is the same price you would pay if you bought them separately. However, Hulu also offers the option of getting both Showtime and Starz for a discounted $15 per month. If you want both services, you save by getting them together.
You can also look beyond video subscriptions for sweet bundle deals. Spotify previously offered a deal that allowed you to get the ad-supported version of Hulu (normally $6 per month) for the same $10 per month that Spotify on its own cost, essentially getting Hulu for free. The company has ended that offer, but there’s still an even better deal if you’re a student. If you can prove you’re a student (and pay for the year upfront), you get access to Spotify, ad-supported Hulu and Showtime for $5 per month. There’s a lot of money to be saved by hunting down these bundles.
Option 3: Roll your own live TV bundle
Live TV subscriptions work a bit differently than sites like Netflix or Hulu. These function like cable, allowing you to watch whatever is being broadcast at the time and “record” shows as you would on a DVR. They also tend to cost more than traditional streaming. However, if you’re up for putting a little more legwork into your TV habit, you can get a lot of content for a smaller price.