Next comes deciding which streaming services to keep.
Willcox suggests making a list of shows you and your family want to watch, then pairing them with the appropriate streaming service. Set a limit on how much you want to spend. “It’s a lot more work than before,” he said.
To keep the total cost under a target of $250 per month (a savings of at least $150 from my current bill), I was left with $65.
I prefer ad-free viewing, so I plan to pay a bit more than I would for ad-supported streaming options. Even so, my savings should cover the cost of monthly subscriptions to Netflix (currently $13.99 for a standard plan), Paramount+ ($9.99 for premium), and Amazon Prime Video ($8.99; if you pay for a full Prime membership, video is included). I learned we could keep Disney+ bundled with two other free services — Hulu (shows include “Only Murders in the Building,” with Steve Martin) and ESPN+ — as part of a promotion from Verizon, our company of mobile telephony. The Hulu option in the deal has ads, but I’ll take them – for now. Finally, we can add HBO Max ($11.99) and watch acclaimed shows like “Station Eleven.”
(Our Apple TV+ subscription is free for an additional six months; we’ll re-evaluate it when the promotion expires.)
Grand total for streaming and cable: $230.
With the overall savings (about $170 per month), we may even be able to buy other things (hopefully more books).
Still, that’s a lot of TV – and paying for all those year-round subscriptions is probably unnecessary, Mr Willcox said. You could instead pay a month here and there as most streaming services currently allow customers to subscribe and unsubscribe at will. (Remember to cancel.)
For example, if you don’t care to watch a new show right away, he said, you can just wait. When an entire season of a show you want to watch becomes available, you can join the appropriate streaming service, watch it for a month, then cancel – and re-subscribe later if something else strikes your fancy. (Some people even watch their selections during free trials.) It takes a bit of planning but can save you some money.