3 ways to save on streaming costs (and all live TV costs.)

Hey, remember when we thought streaming would save you money? Back in the days when over 80% of Americans paid for live television, streaming became the way to offer more for less. Of course a decade ago we were all coming out of The Great Recession, and value for the money was important.

Back then, the average person was paying about $100 a month for live television and that was thought to be the “tipping point.” It was thought at that point, Americans would start paring back their expensive plans and look for something less expensive. And you know what? They did. Millions of folks got rid of live television altogether and started living the streaming life. There was only one problem.

People actually pay more now than ever.

Cable and satellite costs have continued to rise, and streaming costs, once thought of as puny, have shot skyward. Take a look at a typical monthly streaming bill. Now, I am looking at the top end of all these services. I’m talking about the 4K plan, or the commercial free plan, or the monthly plan even if the yearly plan is higher. I admit that. But these are the popular plans. These are the plans people actually want. These costs are accurate for June, 2021.

Service Monthly cost
Netflix $17.99
HBO Max $14.99
Hulu $11.99
Disney+ $7.99
Paramount+ $9.99
Discovery+ $6.99
Peacock $9.99
Total $79.93

Keep in mind that a lot of folks are still subscribed to some sort of live TV package, whether it’s on streaming or cable. So, the net result is that people pay more. Something has to change. Here are three ways you can reduce your overall costs.

1. Move to advertiser-supported plans

Many of your favorite services have lower tiers. Peacock is completely free, although you won’t have access to all the programming the service offers. If you go to commercial-laden programming you can save about thirty bucks a month. Of course, you have to watch commercials, but many of these services show fewer commercials than broadcast TV.

The best part of this strategy is that you can try advertiser-supported plans for a month and then bump back up to the full-price plan if you don’t like it. You can customize things so that you watch commercials on some services and not others.

2. Actively manage your subscriptions

Here’s what some people do: they cancel every plan, every month. This is a great way to see what value you get out of a particular streaming service.

If you cancel your plan, you get to keep watching for the rest of the period you’ve paid for. If you cancel after watching one show, you will continue on with the service for the rest of the month.

The key is to sign back up every time you watch something. You may find that there are services you only use every other week or so. In a case like that you can cut your yearly bill by about half because you only resubscribe when you actually use the site.

This is a really good way to save money, but you may feel like you’re pulling your hair out turning things on and off all the time.

3. Get a TV antenna

There’s a way to get free live TV. With dozens of live channels available in your area, you may feel comfortable ditching cable TV altogether. This will give you the cash you need to keep streaming. TV antennas are a 1-time expense and after that there’s nothing more to buy. Over 90% of people can get free live TV just by putting up an antenna. It’s the best way to get news and local sports, as well as a ton of content that you never even knew existed.

You can shop for an antenna at Solid Signal, or use our free recommendation service to find the antenna that’s perfect for you. Then enjoy years of free television, and stream everything you want as well.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.