This One Trick Cut My Streaming Costs in Half

A mom and her young daughter laying on the floor in a blanket fort and watching a movie on a tablet.

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Cycling your streaming services can save money and your sanity.

Key points

  • Even low-cost streaming services can add up to a high monthly bill if you have too many at once.
  • Cycling your subscriptions can cut costs and make it easier to find content.
  • Many credit cards offer rewards and deals for saving even more.

Once upon a time, your options for streaming services included Netflix and, well, Netflix. These days, however, basically every major network -- and pretty much all of the not-so-major ones, too -- has its own streaming service.

On the plus side, I haven't watched a commercial in ages. On the other hand, you can find yourself paying $75 or more a month without even realizing it. A single $15 service is one thing -- five $15 services is quite another.

Indeed, the streaming market has become so saturated that what was once an affordable way to cut the cord has now become a bank account black hole. But there's an easy trick that can easily cut your costs in half (or more), without making you miss out on the exploits of the Bridgertons or the adventures of Baby Yoda.

One month on, one month off

When I took a hard look at my streaming habits, I realized that I only used two or three of the services I subscribed to on a regular basis. For the others, I would binge the latest craze -- or occasionally an old favorite -- then move on to the next big show.

At a certain point, I was really just paying to scroll things that didn't interest me while I waited for the new releases. Even if there were shows on multiple services I wanted to watch, well, I could only actually watch one at a time.

That's when I started cycling my services. Essentially, in any given month, I'm only subscribed to one or two streaming services (beyond the few I identified as daily necessities). So, one month I'll activate my Netflix subscription to catch up on their new releases. Then, I'd cancel Netflix and get a month of Disney+ for the latest Marvel and Star Wars shows.

By cycling my services each month, I'm always guaranteed a fresh slate of shows and movies. And, even better, I'm only paying for services I'm actually using.

To be fair, cycling your services isn't for everyone. I do have to manually go in and cancel and/or activate different subscriptions each month, which can get tedious. And sometimes I won't get to a new release until a month or so after everyone else, which can make social media a bit of a spoiler minefield. But the money I save is well worth what are, in my opinion, minor inconveniences.

Spend more time watching, less time scrolling

Besides saving money, cutting back on the streaming services I subscribed to each month had an unexpected benefit: no more endless scrolling. Decision paralysis is very real; when you have too many options, it becomes almost impossible to choose what to watch.

With fewer options, it's actually easier to find something to watch. And even if I do find myself stuck in scrolling quicksand, well, at least there's a finite amount of content, so I know I'll eventually work myself free of its compelling spell.

Other ways to save on streaming

As a credit card enthusiast, cycling my subscriptions isn't my only hack for saving on streaming. I also take full advantage of everything my cards -- and their issuers -- have to offer.

For example, it's easy to get 3% to 6% back on streaming services with the right rewards credit cards. The best credit cards for streaming will include all of the popular services, and no small number of niche services, as well.

Additionally, I can almost always find at least one card issuer that's offering some kind of discount or rebate on a popular streaming service. The Amex Offers and Chase Deals portals are some of my go-tos, but most other major credit card companies have some sort of shopping portal.

It's fair to say we live in a golden age for entertainment. With the right combination of subscription services, you can enjoy a constant stream (pun intended) of fresh content on demand whenever you want. And with conscientious use of cancel buttons and credit cards, you won't lose your shirt in the deluge.

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