Is Your Streaming TV Bill More Expensive Than the U.S. Average?

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Are you paying more than ever before to stream TV at home in 2024?

If so, you’re not alone. According to a new survey conducted by Forbes, 44% of respondents reported their streaming subscription costs increased over the last year.

Between live TV streaming price hikes and a seemingly ever-expanding menu of paid video streaming services required to watch the top shows, cutting the cord from the cable company is not as cost-effective as it used to be.

But how far off track are you with your streaming budget? Are you doing a better job than the average American at managing your subscriptions?

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the findings from the Forbes survey, and I’ll also help you identify ways to trim your monthly streaming bills.

Survey Reveals Average American Is Paying More for Streaming TV

According to the survey conducted by Forbes, the average American household pays for three streaming subscriptions per month.

And, among those, Netflix remains the most popular in spite of a recent password-sharing crackdown that has forced more users to pay their fair share for the service.

Forbes’ study indicates the average American is paying $46 per month for streaming TV subscriptions.

The breakdown of how much American households are spending is visualized in this chart:

Image via Forbes Home

As a budget-conscience streamer, I found some of the underlying data in the survey to be more troubling than the monthly averages.


Forbes’ survey also revealed some frustrating consumer trends:

  • As noted previously, 44% of consumers say they’re paying more for streaming now than they were a year ago. And 45% of them have canceled a service as a result of price hikes (Good!).
  • But the survey also indicates that 48% of those polled are still paying for a streaming service that they rarely use. If you’re paying for a service that you rarely use and that service keeps getting more expensive, that’s a bad combination!
  • 45% of respondents said that they’ve “fallen victim” to the free trial game. In other words, they’ve signed up for a free week or month of a streaming service and have forgotten to cancel it on time. That means they’re paying full price for something they may not be using. Money expert Clark Howard often warns against using free trials for this very reason.

4 Tips To Reduce Your Streaming TV Spending

The survey makes it clear: Many of us are paying more for streaming TV than we have in the past.

And that’s hardly the only area of financial concern for many consumers in 2024.

Luckily, I have a few easy-to-implement streaming tips that could help you put some money back into your wallet without losing too much access to your favorite entertainment options.

Let’s walk through them quickly.

1. Rotate Your Video Streaming Services

I’m a huge proponent of this strategy for those who want to experience the latest and greatest streaming content.

The elevator pitch is this: There are millions of hours worth of content options on video streaming services these days. You’re just one household. You can’t watch it all at one time. So why are you paying for access to all of them every month?

Instead of paying for four, five or six video streaming services per month, you could try to rotate those same services by only paying for one or two per month.

If you’re strategic about your timing on the rotation, this could still get you access to your favorite shows and movies near release dates with ample time to binge seasons.

I have an article on gaining access to most of the top video streaming services for under $100 per year by picking one per month and diving deep into your favorites on that service.


2. Opt Into the Ad-Supported Tiers of Your Favorite Services

Commercials stink, but watching them can save you some serious money over time.

Most video streaming services now have tiers of subscription that include a “premium” ad-free experience and a “value” ad-supported tier.

The ad-supported tiers usually don’t come with all the bells and whistles, and the commercials you endure will require a larger allotment of time to stream your favorite shows. Both are valid complaints.

But you could save hundreds of dollars per year by making the switch.

For example, Netflix now offers an ad-supported subscription tier at $6.99 per month. That’s $16 per month less than the $22.99 required for a Premium subscription. Making that switch alone will save you $192 per year!

3. Install an Antenna at Your Home

I know what many of you are thinking:

  1. Are you asking me to spend MORE money? I thought we wanted to save money!
  2. Are you asking me to step back in time? Antennas are so 1970s!

Fair questions, but hear me out on this.

Installing a digital antenna in your home may actually unlock free access to a bunch of over-the-air TV channels that you may not have known were out there.

Modern antennas are not overly expensive, either. They can be purchased at places like Walmart or Amazon for as little as $20.

And you don’t have to climb on the roof to install them like old-school antennas. At most, you need to place them near a window for optimal reception.


Depending on your location, you may be able to gain access to local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and more.

And the broadcasts are in crisp high-definition. Sometimes the HD picture you receive via antenna is even better than what you’d receive from a live TV streaming service or from cable. This is because those delivery methods sometimes require compressed versions of the data in an effort to deliver the content to your receiver as quickly as possible.

The time it takes to receive your live content should be better, as well. Sports fans, for example, may find that they are able to see the action from a live game faster via an antenna than they do via a service like YouTube TV.

You can read more about buying and installing a digital antenna in Team Clark’s guide.

4. Check Out Free Streaming TV Apps

This suggestion is a favorite of money expert Clark Howard. He’s a big proponent of the emerging free streaming TV market.

While there are at least a couple dozen free options for live and on-demand TV shows, movies and news out there, we have a few that we recommend most often that I suggest you check out first:

How many streaming subscriptions do you have? Have you found a way to get the most bang for your entertainment buck? We’d love to hear your strategies in the community.