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How to reduce your monthly streaming budget

Cutting back on streaming services is good for your budget – and good for your health

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How many streaming services are you paying for right now?

Five? Ten? More than ten?

Many people can not answer this question without having to look it up – and when you add up all the money you pay each month to access TV, movies, music, books and podcasts, you may be surprised at how much your streaming habit costs you.

According to a report from April 2022 from Nielsen called Status of games, 21 percent of Americans spend between $ 20 and $ 20.99 a month on video streaming services – and 17 percent of Americans spend between $ 30 and $ 49.99 on streaming video. Once you add all the other subscriptions that make up your monthly content consumption, from Spotify to Substack, you probably pay a lot more money than you realize.

Why not use this summer as an opportunity to slow down streaming and start looking for other types of experiences instead? Believe it or not, interrupting your streaming services can be one of the best things you can do for your budget, for your health, for your family – and even for the planet.

“Your goal should be to disconnect from screen time,” explains Lawrence Delva-Gonzalez, a financial literacy educator who runs The Neighborhood Finance Guy. “More screen time means more air conditioning, more snacks and ultimately more poor health. Everything goes together.”

Of course, we will not argue for you to discontinue any streaming service. Instead, we’ll help you decide what stays and what goes – and shows you how to save money on the content you keep. We will also provide some streaming alternatives that may prove to be better for your health, better for your budget and better for your long-term goals.

In this article:

Three ways to save money on streaming services

Let’s start with the big question –how to reduce your monthly streaming budget.

Delva-Gonzalez suggests three different strategies, all of which can help you save money on streaming services and spend more time away from screens:

  • Choose your three favorite streaming services. “You really do not have to collect them all,” says Delva-Gonzalez. “Between Netflix, HBO Max (for new summer movies) and Disney + (for the family), the rest of the content is almost unnecessary.”
  • Select a streaming package. “Disney provides a super viewing combo for the family with their Hulu, Disney + and ESPN packages,” says Delva-Gonzalez. You can also look for telecommunications providers that package streaming subscriptions in your monthly invoice. For example, Xfinity customers receive Peacock at no extra cost. T-Mobile offers free Netflix and Apple TV + subscriptions. If you do not like the subscription package offered by your current provider, it may be time to switch – especially if you can take advantage of a low introductory price or the option to upgrade your device to a discounted price.
  • Choose one streaming service per month. Rotating between streaming services gives you the chance to watch, listen to and / or read everything you are interested in – without having to pay for the services you do not currently use. In addition, you can time your subscriptions to the biggest new programs. “If Stranger Things 4 is all you want, you can jump in when needed and cancel when you’re done, ”says Delva-Gonzalez.

Yes, reducing your subscriptions or switching between services means you may have to wait a little longer for some of your favorite content – whether you’re counting the days until you switch from HBO to Hulu or putting your name on a public library blocklist.

That said, reducing your monthly streaming budget can inspire you to reduce your content consumption as well – and you and your family can discover all sorts of new, interesting, screen-free ways to spend your time.

“Get activated and get active again,” advises Delva-Gonzalez. “Your community will probably add new bike lanes. Open up your Saturday mornings for more fun in the sun with hiking, sports, etc.

Alternatives to streaming services

If you hope to save money on streaming services, you need options – and no, we do not mean switching from Netflix to TikTok or spending more time scrolling Twitter. “To be honest, you can only incite so much until you are doomscrolling,” Delva-Gonzalez explains.

This type of screen dimming can be bad for your mental health, as you probably already know – but you may not realize that constant streaming also has an impact on the health of the planet. Streaming media takes a lot of energy, whether you’re producing a new series, running a data center or watching your favorite series on your smartphone – and while companies like Netflix are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

In addition, streaming media is often accompanied by other types of energy use – all of which have both an economic and an environmental cost. “With temperatures peaking through the summer, the average household should expect higher-than-average electricity and gas bills,” says Delva-Gonzalez. Many households already spend a larger share of their income on their monthly electricity bills, thanks to inflation – which means that anything you can do to save energy can also save money.

With that in mind, here are five inexpensive, highly valuable alternatives to streaming services:

  • Parks: Whether you see your kids navigating the playground or meeting friends for a pickleball game, many local parks offer lots of fun, free entertainment – no screens required! Some parks also offer guided group activities for children, adults and / or families to enjoy together.
  • Public libraries: There is a lot to love about the public library, whether you browse the piles, sign up for a class or simply take advantage of the free air conditioning. Remember that today’s libraries offer much more than books – they also allow customers to borrow videos, games, puzzles and even art. Many public libraries even offer free streaming media services!
  • Museums: Not all museums are free – but many museums offer free passes on certain days of the week or month, giving you and your family the opportunity to experience amazing works of art in a climate-controlled environment.
  • Meetups: Whether setting up a play day for your kids, inviting your friends to a potluck dinner or arranging a barbecue in the backyard for grandparents, one of the best ways to get away from the screens is by hanging out with other people.
  • Your own backyard: If you have spent the last two years turning your backyard into your family’s personal oasis, you already know how much fun you can wrap up in a few square meters. If you have not yet incorporated a garden, fireplace or inflatable pool into your garden, this may be the perfect time now – and you can finance your project with the money you no longer spend on streaming services.

“The most valuable aspects of life are not found when you stream,” says Delva-Gonzalez. “They are outside, where you can develop and nurture new skills.”

Not sure if you are ready to spend less time streaming and more time with friends, family, library books, board games, community resources and nature? No problem. Start by canceling just one subscription to streaming media – and do so immediately before you change your mind.

After all, you can always subscribe again.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that is supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly easy.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that is supported and wholly owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly easy.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not support the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they suit your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be used for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal adviser.

Our revelations

Haven Term is a life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and is offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by CM Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Police and driver form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is ranked by AM Best Company as A ++ (Superior; Top Category of 15). The grade is valid from 1 April 2020 and may change. MassMutual has received various ratings from other credit rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus skier, which is part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The driver is not available in all states and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made available under Plus Rider, which are provided by third party providers (partners). For more information on Haven Life Plus, visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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