How to Save Money on Your Streaming Services

Cara Bradley

Written by

Cara Bradley

5 min read

Updated: 09/04/2024

While it’s important to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, taking time out to switch off from the outside world can also be beneficial to our wellbeing. For many, sitting down in front of the box or cranking up the volume on your favourite tunes are forms of relaxation.

In 2022, it was reported that almost 97% of UK households have a television and, as of September 2023, 67.3% of those use a streaming subscription service, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Now to access media such as videos, TV shows, films, and music. Data released in December 2023 revealed that people in the UK spend an average of 28 hours and 18 minutes a week using streaming services.

As well as potentially improving our wellbeing, it’s possible that the media we consume could help us strengthen our social ties. Many of us have bonded with family, friends, and colleagues while discussing a new band we’ve discovered, the epic film we saw at the weekend, or the series we’re currently working our way through. A 2021 study discovered that talking about the TV they’d watched helped viewers create a sense of belonging with the people in their lives, assisted in easing social anxiety, and increased feelings of acceptance.

Unfortunately, the cost of streaming services is on the rise, with all platforms reported to have implemented at least a £1 price increase since 2019. This is unwelcome news to many during the cost-of-living crisis and may explain why 170,000 streaming services were cancelled across UK households during the first quarter of 2023.

So what are the current costs of our go-to streaming services and is there any way that we can save money on our subscriptions?
Let’s take a look.

Streaming service Cost (as of March 2024) Free trial available?
Netflix Standard with adverts: £4.99 per month.
Standard: £10.99 per month.
Premium: £17.99 per month.
Disney+ Standard with adverts: £4.99 per month.
Standard without adverts: £7.99 per month or £79.90 per year.
Premium: £10.99 per month or £109.90 per year.
No, not directly with Disney+, although some third-party packages -including telephone contracts - may come with a free promotional period. We’ll talk more about this later.
Amazon Prime Video Prime Video: £5.99 per month.
Prime Monthly: £8.99 per month.
Prime Annual: £95 per year.
Yes, all three packages offer a 30-day free trial period for new customers.
Apple TV+ Monthly subscription: £8.99.
Apple One: which bundles up to six Apple services into a monthly subscription. Plans start at £18.95 per month.
Yes. The monthly subscription comes with a seven-day free trial period. Apple One includes a one-month free trial.
In addition to this, you can get Apple TV+ for free for up to three months when you purchase an Apple device. Offer must be redeemed within 90 days of purchase.
NOW TV Entertainment Membership
6 Month Saver: £6.99 per month (6 month minimum term).
Fully Flexible: £9.99 per month (cancel any time).
6 Month Saver Bundle: £13.99 per month (6 month minimum term).
Cinema Membership
6 Month Saver: £6.99 per month (6 month minimum term).
Fully Flexible: £9.99 per month (cancel any time).
Cinema & Entertainment 6 Month Saver Bundle: £13.99 per month (6 month minimum term).
Sports Membership
Day Membership, including access to all Sky Sports channels for 24 hours: £11.99 one-off payment.
Monthly Membership: £34.99 per month, currently on offer at £21, as of March 1, 2024.
Hayu Membership
£4.99 per month.
Sky Stream £31 per month. Yes, one-month free trial.
BBC iPlayer Free, if you hold a valid TV licence. N/A.
ITV X The standard plan is free and includes adverts.
Premium package without adverts: £5.99 or £59.99 per year.
The Premium package comes with a 7-day free trial.
Spotify Free Plan, excluding Premium features.
Premium Individual: £10.99 per month.
Premium Duo: £14.99 per month.
Premium Family: £17.99 per month.
Premium Student: £5.99 per month.
The Premium Individual and Student plans offer a free one-month trial.
YouTube YouTube is free to use with adverts.
YouTube Premium: £12.99 per month.
Yes, one-month free trial with YouTube Premium.
Amazon Music Limited Single Device Plan: £5.99 per month.
Student Plan: £5.99 per month.
Individual plan: £10.99 per month or £9.99 for Prime Members.
Family Plan: £17.99 per month.
Yes. The Single Device Plan, Student Plan, and Family Plan come with 30-day free trials.

Prices correct as of March 2024. Promotional offers and trials may vary and are subject to change without notice. Please check the provider’s website for full details and current prices.

Be mindful of the fact that regular fees will apply once the free trial period comes to an end unless you cancel in advance.

How to save money on and make the most out of your streaming subscriptions

Know what you’re paying for

Many of us are guilty of allowing subscriptions to roll on without a second thought.
It might be an idea to set some time aside to go through your monthly outgoings with a fine-tooth comb. Make a note of every subscription service you’re currently paying for, read through the details of each, and decide whether the service is still relevant to you.
You might find that you’re paying for a premium package that you don’t really watch and, in this instance, you could benefit from downgrading your selection of channels. You could even discover that you’re still paying for a service you no longer use at all and can therefore cancel your subscription entirely.

Consider adverts

Whether they’re popping up in-between songs or before our favourite film, very few of us enjoy having our media interrupted by adverts.
However, is avoiding this mild irritation worth an extra annual cost of £72? We’ve used Netflix as an example here, where the Standard subscription with adverts costs £4.99 a month, equating to £59.88 a year, compared to the Standard subscription without adverts, which will set users back £10.99 a month, and £131.88 a year

Annual savings

Some streaming services work out cheaper if paid for annually, rather than monthly.
A Premium Disney+ account costs £10.99 a month which, over the course of a year, adds up to £131.88. On the other hand, an annual subscription is priced at £109.90 – a yearly saving of £21.98.

Compare platforms

Got your eye on a particular series or film? Shop around before you sign up for a specific subscription. Some media will be exclusive to one platform, whereas others will appear across multiple. Check to see where you can watch your film and then sign up for the cheapest option.
For example, streaming the first series of Gavin & Stacey costs £9.99 on Amazon Prime Video, but is completely free to watch on BBC iPlayer, providing you have a valid TV licence.

Make use of free trials

If you know you’re only going to get limited use out of a subscription, you could benefit from taking advantage of any free trials on offer. This could be useful if you’re only interested in using the services at a certain time, such as while you’re on vacation or during the Christmas holidays.
Not all streaming services offer free trials and those that do usually only allow customers to access the perk once, so be sure to pick your time wisely.
Remember to cancel your trial before it’s due to expire or you’ll be charged full fees.

Check out third-party packages

A number of UK phone providers offer deals with upgrades and new handsets which include free or discounted access to various streaming services.
New and upgrading customers of O2 can opt for 6 free months of Disney+ as a complimentary extra. This offer is valid even for those who already subscribe to Disney+.

O2 states that customers who are not ready to upgrade needn’t miss out, and can add Disney+ Premium to their existing accounts at the discounted rate of £7.99 a month, rather than the standard charge of £10.99.

The majority of T-Mobile’s Go5G packages also include a free Standard Netflix with adverts subscription.

Of course, there are some restrictions and requirements which you should familiarise yourself with before making a decision. Always make sure you read the full terms and conditions before agreeing to any add-on product.

Bundle up

Some subscriptions could offer you more for your money.
An Apple One bundle starts at just £18.95 a month and allows you to choose up to six Apple services, including Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Fitness+.

Final words

As we’ve discussed, there are a number of ways to keep the cost of your streaming service subscriptions down, including choosing an advert package, signing up for free trials, and finding out more about any potential perks offered by your mobile phone provider.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when thinking about the best and cheapest streaming services. Each of us have different requirements and preferences when it comes to what we watch, what we listen to, and how often we do it.

If funding your monthly subscriptions means that you are left struggling to pay for essentials such as food, then you should consider taking a step back for now. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t rejoin once you’re feeling more comfortable in your financial situation.