Slash your streaming bills instantly with these money-saving tricks!

As the cost of living continues to rise, many Australians seek ways to tighten their belts without sacrificing what they enjoy.

Entertainment at home has become more important than ever, and streaming services have been a godsend in providing a wealth of television shows, movies, and music at our fingertips.

But with the convenience of these services comes the potential for monthly bills to creep up, especially when juggling multiple subscriptions.

According to Deloitte's Media & Entertainment Consumer Insights 2023 report, the average Australian household has around 3.2 subscriptions, with streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services making up the majority at 2.6 per household.

While the average household spending on video streaming dropped slightly last year, it's still worth examining what you're paying for and using.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you save money on your streaming services without missing out on your favourite content.

There are various ways how to save money from subscriptions. Credit: Shutterstock

Audit Your Subscriptions

Start by reviewing all your current subscriptions. Are you really watching all the services you're paying for? If you find that you're only using a couple of them regularly, it might be time to cancel the rest.

‘Subscriptions feel like tiny little drips because, individually, they're small amounts—they might be $10–$20—but when you add them up, it's a lot of money,’ Financial educator Lacey Filipich said.

‘People will look at their bank or credit card statement and go, “Wow, I'm using five services that I'm paying for, and I'm probably only using two,” and that's when you want to say, well, I don't need the other three.’

Filipich is subscribed to one paid streaming site, which works for her family.

‘For some people who like to watch all the different shows…maybe they do need five subscriptions, but we're fine just having one. We watch what's on that one and then cancel it when we're ready to change to another one,’ she said.

Media critic and publisher of Always be Watching newsletter Dan Barrett said that people only have a finite number of hours to watch television in a week.

‘I would suggest that on average, most people probably need no more than about three different services [at any one time],’ he said.

If you've got very specific interests—say, sports or anime or horror—maybe you'll want to get a specialty service on top of that, but I think for most people, three services is probably about it.’

Turn On and Turn Off Subscriptions

It's easy to fall into what's known as the ‘subscription trap’, where cancelling or unsubscribing from a service is far more complicated and confusing than signing up initially.

According to Filipich, e-commerce trends have shifted in recent years, with customers more willing and likely to pause a service temporarily and resubscribe later.

‘If they've made it hard for you to cancel, and you remember that, you're much less likely to go with them again. They recognise [making the process of unsubscribing difficult] is not a benefit for them anymore,’ she said.

Barrett echoed this sentiment, emphasising that with many streaming services, consumers can easily activate or deactivate their subscriptions. All it requires is accessing their account settings and toggling the subscription off.

He added that customer retention has become a growing concern for providers, prompting them to adjust their strategies accordingly.

‘If you've watched streaming services lately, you may have noticed that they've gone from less of a binge model where an entire season is dropped on one day to episodes being dropped in batches or going out weekly,’ he said.

‘This is to keep viewers subscribed for multiple months on end for a show that they otherwise could have watched within a weekend and then cancelled their subscription.’

Take Advantage of Free Trials and Discounts

Many streaming services offer free trials or discounted rates for new subscribers.

If you're patient, you can take advantage of these offers. If you decide not to continue with the service, just cancel before the trial period ends.

‘Playing hard to get for a month or two by clicking on the site, signing up for something so they've got your email or they're tracking you, so they go “Hey, they nearly bought, let's see if we can tempt them,” that can be a great way to go if you don't mind waiting,’ Filipich said.

Always take advantage of free trials and discounts. Credit: Shutterstock

Annual Subscriptions and Bundles

Some services offer discounts if you pay annually instead of monthly. Others have started bundling different services together at a discounted rate.

‘One of the things that consumers are looking for at the moment is centralised billing,’ Barrett said.

‘It's very easy to lose track of what you're subscribing to when you're getting random bills every couple of days for different types of things, so you will find more consumers are moving towards platforms which have their own centralised service, where you can subscribe to other services through that platform.’

These bundles can simplify billing and save you money, but be aware that some perks available when subscribing directly might not be included in third-party bundles.

Don't Overlook Free Services

Remember that free SVOD services, such as ad-supported options from major broadcasters, are available.

Additionally, public libraries offer access to a vast array of digital content, including audiobooks, movies, and magazines, all free with library membership.

‘Plenty of local libraries also have digital subscriptions to magazines, for example, or newspapers, and because they're digital subscriptions, you can do it from home now, you don't have to go to a library,’ Filipich said.

In a similar story, a savvy spender shared a game-changing trick to save up to 80 per cent on subscriptions.

This strategy only takes a few minutes of your time. You can learn more about her trick here.
Key Takeaways

  • Australian households average 3.2 subscriptions, primarily to streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services.
  • Financial educator Lacey Filipich highlighted the potential for small subscription fees to cumulatively become significant monthly expenses and recommended reviewing and cancelling unused services.
  • Consumer-friendly options are available, as many streaming services allow subscribers to easily turn off their subscriptions from account settings.
  • It's possible to save money on digital subscriptions by waiting for service enticements, ensuring you are not over-subscribed to unnecessary tiers, taking advantage of annual subscription discounts, and using free services or public library resources.
Have you found any other clever ways to save on your digital entertainment? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!
I've found an excellent way to save, I don't have any streaming services.
I don't watch much TV, although I like Reno shows as that's my passion, but apart from that I read a lot and do a lot of crosswords. Like to keep my brain active as I'm getting older.
Can hire DVDs for free from our local country library where new ones are always coming in.
Crossword books have just about paid for themselves. I have won a few minor prizes and a lovely white leather lounge. Aiming for the car
next, lol.

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