How to save money on subscriptions and not lose films, TV and music


As the cost of living continues to bite, millions are looking for ways to cut down on their household expenditure. 

One surefire way is an audit of subscriptions, especially entertainment packages – if you are someone with a number of different streaming platforms and pay for a TV licence. 

Last year, those signed up to subscriptions spent an average of £620 a year, up 12 per cent from the previous year, according to Barclaycard.

You could save money on your music and entertainment subscriptions by downgrading your payment plan, or sharing with your friends and family through dual memberships

Meanwhile more than 1.2million subscriptions have been cancelled since the summer of 2021, as households have been cutting back on excess spending, Lloyds Bank says. 

Here are ten top tips to cut back on your subscription services and save a little money, without cutting down on your favourite entertainment platforms.

1. Pay annually 

If you are adamant to not miss out on your steaming favourites, then one way to  save could be to try to pay annually where you can.

You could save up to £17 per subscription by opting for an annual membership instead of monthly, so while it may cost you more up front, you can rest assured knowing you’ll have your favourite content all year round.

It's often cheaper overall to pay annually for your streaming subscripts, cutting costs by at least 10 per cent per subscription service

It’s often cheaper overall to pay annually for your streaming subscripts, cutting costs by at least 10 per cent per subscription service

Currently, Amazon Prime and Disney+ offer annual subscriptions. You can opt for a flexible contract with Prime or Disney+ for £7.99 a month, or £79 for the year for Prime, or £79.90 for Disney+.

NowTV regularly offer discounts on their three month passes, sometimes offering up to 40 per cent discount on their full prices. 

Their Entertainment and Cinema package is available for £9.99 a month, with Sport available at £33.99 a month, but you can currently get a three month Entertainment and Cinema pass for £12, with Sport discounted to £20 a month for three months.

2. Downgrade your plan 

If you aren’t in a position to commit to your streaming platforms for a year, you might be able to downgrade your payment plan to save a few extra pounds every month.

For example, Netflix has three types of memberships starting with the basic package for £6.99 a month, a standard package at £10.99, and their premium membership for £15.99 a month. 

If you are finding you are the only one watching your Netflix, or are not watching as much as you once were, you could see savings of around £48 per year by dropping down from the premium to the basic Netflix subscription. 

Amazon Prime also offer a basic package for £5.99 a month, which gives you access to Prime Video, but without the additional benefits such as free Amazon delivery, ultimately saving you £24 a year if you don’t use their delivery services. 

3. Rotate your subscriptions

A great way to cut down on costs is to switch out the streaming services that you don’t use regularly to ensure you aren’t paying for more services than you are using.

You should take advantage of how simple it is to pause your subscriptions to Netflix, Now, Amazon Prime and Disney+, as all allow their customers to cancel monthly subscriptions at any point with no exit fee. 

If you signed up to Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Netflix on their standard subscriptions for a year, you’d end up paying around £320 a year. 

But, if you alternate your subscriptions, with four month subscription of each, you would only need to pay £108 per year.  It could be worth having a calendar to know when to cancel.

It also means when you return, there will be different content to watch. 

Switching regularly between your streaming services could save you anywhere up to £200 a year by only paying for the services that you are actually watching

Switching regularly between your streaming services could save you anywhere up to £200 a year by only paying for the services that you are actually watching

4. Share your subscriptions 

One of the simplest ways to cut down on your services is to share them with others. 

Most services have plans you can switch to that could help you save, without losing personalised features and allowing for more devices to use the services at one time. 

Spotify offers a Premium Duo plan for £13.99 a month for two listeners per month saving £71.88 a year versus the price of two individual subscriptions. 

Or for larger households, you could opt for a Premium Family plan for £16.99 a month which allows up to six users, saving a whopping £515.40 a year over six individual subscriptions. 

Alternately, streaming subscriptions such as Netflix or Amazon have more premium packages, allowing for more viewers at a given time, meaning it could be worth sharing passwords with friends and family – although this is a practice that streaming services are trying to stamp out. 

You can opt for a family package to save money on your subscriptions if you have multiple members of your household subscribed to streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix

You can opt for a family package to save money on your subscriptions if you have multiple members of your household subscribed to streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix

5. Compare prices 

Let’s say you already know what you want to watch, but you want to find the cheapest way to watch it.

Often, many popular movies and TV shows are available across multiple platforms, so it could be worth doing your research to find the best prices to watch. 

For example, popular shows such as Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders are available on Netflix and BBC iPlayer. 

The cheapest Netflix subscription is £6.99 a month which could be cheaper than paying for a TV licence. But if you already have a TV licence, BBC iPlayer would be the cheaper option.

6. Free trials 

A favourite trick for many is to make the most of the free trials.

Some services will give you a free trial before you have to pay, such as music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and YouTube Premium offering new users a one-month free trial. 

Amazon Music Unlimited also offers regular opportunities for free trials, currently offering up to three-month’s free. 

By using each of these services for their free trials, you could be listening your favourite artists for up to seven months without paying a penny. 

Just remember to mark the date the trial ends and cancelling it before your direct debit is due to go out so you don’t accidentally pay for the next month. 

7. Use free alternatives 

If you are really looking for ways to cut back, you could try using free alternatives where you can. 

Catch-up programmes and films are free to watch on websites such as All 4, ITV Hub and My 5, while BBC Sounds allows you to listen to live radio and has loads of podcasts and playlists – all completely free of charge.

You could even consider switching to the likes of Apple Podcasts instead of Spotify Podcasts saving you up to £120 a year. 

8. Check for bundles 

You could cut down on your streaming subscriptions by watching free catch-up TV through sites such as ITV Hub and All4

You could cut down on your streaming subscriptions by watching free catch-up TV through sites such as ITV Hub and All4

Sometimes you can bundle your subscriptions together to get a discount on your monthly bills.

Most mobile providers offer free, or discounted extras with your contract which could give you access to your favourite streaming site for up to two years. 

Vodafone currently offers up to 24 months of Amazon Prime, Spotify or YouTube Premium with certain pay monthly deals, while EE offers a ‘special benefit’ including BT Sport, Apple Music or Netflix for the length of your contract. 

Virgin have also recently launched their plugin-and-play Stream box, which gives Virgin Broadband customers to group their streaming subscriptions, offering a 10 per cent discount of your total bill.

9. Make the most of discount codes 

Some streaming services offer discounted prices for a limited time to students and certain professionals, so it’s well worth searching around for a viable discount code.

You can sign up to a free discount site such as Honey, which will automatically test their extensive, continuously updated list of discount codes in order to get you the best price available.

Spotify currently offer 50 per cent off their rolling subscription and a free annual Headspace subscription for students, saving you around £150 a year on both services

Spotify currently offer 50 per cent off their rolling subscription and a free annual Headspace subscription for students, saving you around £150 a year on both services

Spotify currently offers up to 50 per cent on their monthly subscription for students, with a free year subscription to Headspace, saving you twice as much. 

Be sure to renew your subscriptions at the end of your school year to get the most out of your discount codes before you graduate.

10. Use cashback offers 

Another way to get more out of your subscriptions is through cashback sites and offerings. 

One way to do this is with a cashback credit card, which allows you to earn money back on your monthly and annual payments to designated services. 

Some services such as Amazon Prime offer limited free trials on music services, which can help save you up to £10 a month

Some services such as Amazon Prime offer limited free trials on music services, which can help save you up to £10 a month

Some cards offer specific cashback on services, for example, American Express currently has cashback offers on a number of magazine subscriptions. 

Meanwhile some offer flat cashback when using their services, such as Amazon’s Platinum Mastercard offering 1.5 per cent cashback when buying through Amazon.

You could also get cashback on purchases using sites such as Quidco or TopCashback.

Currently, you can get up to 70 per cent cashback on your first month of paid membership on Apple Music using TopCashback, whereas on Quidco, you can earn £10 cashback from an annual Disney+ subscription.

Should I keep my subscriptions or cancel them? 

Finally, it is still worth considering cancelling your subscriptions if you don’t think they offer the same value for money.

If you’re only using your subscription a handful of times a month it’s probably not worth it, or if you find you are going months between watches, then it could be worth your while pausing your subscription. 

Pret a Manger offer a coffee subscription service for £25 a month, with up to 5 coffees or drinks included every day for no extra cost

Pret a Manger offer a coffee subscription service for £25 a month, with up to 5 coffees or drinks included every day for no extra cost

For example, the Pret a Manger coffee subscription costs £25 a month and allows you up to five hot or cold beverages a day. 

A regular latte costs £2.95, so if you are already having more than two coffees a week, it may be worth getting a Pret coffee subscription. 

However, if you’re only having a black filter coffee, costing £1.40, then it may be worth just buying them individually.

Ultimately, if you don’t feel as though you are watching, listening, or drinking enough coffee that is worth what you’re paying for your subscription, then you would always be better off cancelling. 

All of these subscription services have largely made it easier to cancel or pause memberships – and by juggling them properly, you are likely to save money rather than just putting it off or forgetting.  

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