How I Saved $450+ a Year on Streaming TV

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I recently took a look at my expenses and discovered that a lot of my money was going to streaming services.

Team Clark encourages people to cut the cord to save money. Once you do, it’s still important to analyze your spending to make sure you’re actually using all the streaming services you’re paying for.

In this article, I’ll show you how I cut my TV streaming bill by $450.

Follow These Tips To Save $450+ a Year on Your Streaming Subscriptions

Team Clark has been looking at ways to manage subscriptions in order to reduce debt and save money in 2021.

Streaming services, particularly YouTube TV, turned out to be a good place — at least for me — to cut back.

Like many of you, I’ve subscribed to YouTube TV since its inception in 2017. I remember being ecstatic about paying $35 a month for access to local TV, sports and a slate of cool and interesting channels.

However, I started to lose my excitement when the price jumped to $50 a month in April 2019. Then in June 2020, YouTube TV announced another increase in the monthly price to $65.

I quickly realized that not only does that add up to $780 a year, but I also haven’t been watching nearly any of the service’s 85+ channels.

Instead of paying almost $800 a year for a lot of content I never watch, I set about looking for a way to save at least half of that money.

That’s when I came up with a strategy to lower my streaming TV bill.

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Why You Need a Streaming Strategy

Cutting the cord has increasingly become a way for many TV watchers to save money. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, for more than a year, the cinematic experience has been relegated to the living room couch.

A big issue with streaming is the glut of services crowding the market of late. Move over, Netflix: Disney+, Paramount+, Peacock TV and other services are all fighting for market share.

If you’re like me, you’ve tried several streaming services to see which ones you like best. The problem is that we don’t get around to canceling the service after the free trial period or we bear the expense of a particular service even if we’re watching just a program or two.

At one point, I was paying for all these streaming services at once:

Streaming ServiceMonthly Fee
YouTube TV$65
Amazon Prime Video$13 (Prime membership)
HBO Max$15
Total$1,116 a year

That $1,116 was surprisingly close to the $1,500 I used to pay annually for DirecTV.

So I decided to try to come up with a streaming strategy that gave me the entertainment I wanted without an unwieldy bill.

I’m sharing how I went about this in hopes that it will help you if your streaming “habit” is getting out of hand.

Examine Your Viewing Habits

The streaming platform(s) you ultimately decide to keep will come down to what you actually want to watch.

What are your favorite shows? What TV series do you want to follow or catch up on?

This is the part where you decide what you’re going to spend your money on to stream. Be deliberate.

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Write down a list of channels and TV shows you know you want to watch.

For some of you, that might look something like this:

  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)
  • WandaVision (Disney+)
  • She-Hulk (Disney+)
  • Friends (HBO Max)
  • Narcos (Netflix)

For me, it looks like this:

  • NFL (CBS, NBC, ESPN)
  • Local TV

You may decide to go with another streaming service, but after comparing fuboTV vs. YouTube TV and evaluating their sports packages, I chose to stick with YouTube TV for my pro football needs.

As a huge NFL fan, I want to build my streaming strategy around the games. So that basically means I am willing to pay the bulk of my streaming bill to watch the NFL season from September through January.

So what about the other seven months of the year? You can cancel YouTube TV with no penalty and later re-up. So I did that … saving me $455 a year!

During Football Season:

  • AFC games on CBS
  • NFC games on Fox
  • Sunday Night Football on NBC
  • ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews ESPNU

Many of the other channels I get with YouTube TV will also give me local and regional sports coverage, so that’s a plus.

During the Offseason: For the months I don’t have YouTube TV, I satisfy my need for local TV with the help of this antenna I bought more than a year ago. It catches about 35 stations.

Cancel the Streaming Service(s) You No Longer Want or Use

Don’t get cold feet about canceling the service(s) you’ve chosen not to use any longer.

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I ended up canceling HBO Max and kept Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV, but as I mentioned, I don’t use (or pay for) YouTube TV all year.

To save the most money, you should be strategic about how and when you cancel a streaming service. Here are some things to know before you cancel.

Enjoy!

The thing about evaluating a streaming service, particularly one you bought for a particular show, is that you actually need to watch it to determine its value to you.

If you can’t stream the show live upon its release, make sure you set the DVR to record the episode (or entire season) so you won’t miss it.

If your favorite TV series ends or no longer holds your interest, don’t be afraid to take another look at the platform’s offerings and make a decision to cut. That’s how you save money!

Conclusion

As a recap, save money on TV by coming up with a streaming strategy tailored to the things you want to watch when you want to watch them.

Feel free to test out different streaming platforms to see which ones you like. Depending on your streaming strategy, you could save even more money than I did.

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