Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max: Save on streaming with a nifty trick

There are plenty of great shows and movies across dozens of streaming services, but even subscribing to five of them could cost you upwards of $50 per month. (Just look at the last Disney Plus pricing news.) We’re going to show you a trick that can help you save some money.

Think about it: you subscribe to one or more services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus or HBO Max, stream until your favorite show ends its season, then search for the next thing to watch. But is it worth keeping multiple subscriptions active if you’re not actively watching anything on them? I do not think so.

Here’s a breakdown of our money-saving strategy and some tips for becoming a master at it.

Read more: Best Live TV Streaming Service for Cord Cutting in 2022

Rotate your streaming services

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For cord cutters, ditching expensive cable plans in favor of streaming is a win for the wallet. Because we’re able to subscribe to monthly plans, it’s easy to hop on a streaming service and jump when prices go up or content dries up. According Deloitte Media Trends Report 2022, the main reasons people cancel their streaming subscriptions are price and lack of new content. Media companies call this behavior “churn.” We call this the rotation method.

Benefits? You save money and avoid content shortages. Let’s say a hot title like Dragon House or The Real Housewives is about to air on a service. Note the total number of episodes and wait until they are all available at the same time on a platform. You cancel HBO Max, Disney Plus, or another service, then, once the episodes are available, subscribe again to catch up on your favorites. My monthly guide to which streaming services to cancel can help you follow.

The wrong side? You won’t have immediate access to all the shows you want to watch and will have to wait for the full season to air. And since many streaming services release new episodes every week, rather than all at once, you might not be caught up with your friends at the same time. If you’re someone who prefers to watch episodes immediately when they drop, you may decide it’s worth having multiple subscriptions at once. If you have patience, however, you can save some money.

Read more: Best streaming device for 2022: Our picks from Roku, Google, Fire TV and Apple

The strategy can also work if you have a live tv streaming service follow a particular sport. When the season is over, cancel the service and save big, or switch to a cheaper platform with fewer channels like Sling TV.

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor seated inside a spaceship

Would you pay four months of Disney Plus to watch Andor when you can see all 12 episodes in November for the price of one month?


Tip no. 1: Cancel your streaming subscription before you get charged

Set calendar reminders for your billing cycle and upcoming TV show or movie release dates. Give yourself enough notice to start or end a subscription. Apps such as JustWatch, TV Time and Hobi help you track when and where TV shows and movies appear on a streaming service.

Tip no. 2: Land a streaming service contract

Look for streaming discounts services. For example, Starz is offering a special rate of $5 per month for three months, which nearly halves its regular monthly rate of $9. You can also take advantage of the Disney Bundle, which provides access to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus in one package at a discounted price. And eligible Hulu subscribers can add Disney Plus for $3. Finally, be sure to check with your mobile carrier to see which ones offer free streaming subscriptions.

Read more: Best streaming service deals from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile

Tip no. 3: Choose one or two default streamers

Subscribe to one or two essential services for the year and select only one or two additional options according to your monthly budget. Rotate the bonus service(s) depending on what you want to watch, ensuring you don’t miss your favorite shows while staying within your monthly spending cap.

Tip no. 4: Stick to monthly billing

Avoid annual subscriptions and pay attention to your auto-renewal payment dates. Your billing cycle can help you determine the best time to exit a service, even if you only signed up for a free trial.

Tip no. 5: Don’t cancel your streaming service, pause it

Hulu lets you suspend your subscription up to 12 weeks, and Sling has a similar option with stipulations. Check with your streaming provider if you can take a temporary break without canceling.

Try it, and if you don’t like it, you can always subscribe again. For more great tips on streaming TV, check out this guide to Netflix’s Hidden Tricks and our recommendations for best internet services.

Margie D. Carlisle