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6 Best Ways to Stretch Your Streaming Budget

Ben Bowman

Right now, every meal you eat and every mile you drive is taking a bigger bite out of your paycheck. At the end of the day, we all have to stretch our dollars as far as they can go. At The Streamable, we’re no strangers to saving a few bucks on our entertainment budgets. Here are some quick tips to get more for your money.

Do a Subscription Audit

Pull up your credit card statement and look at how many streaming services you’re subscribing to. Then ask yourself which ones you’d be okay letting go.

You don’t need to cut everything loose, but you probably don’t need all the services you’re paying for. If you have a top-tier service like the Disney bundle (Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+), Netflix, or HBO Max, any of those is probably sufficient as your primary subscription. We’ll talk more about how to supplement those later.

But you can get a full month of entertainment for less than $20. That should be your goal. Splurge on one main service you watch the most, then be ruthless with the others. There’s no harm in switching services from month to month. It’s time to let some go. You can always come back.

Save Big on Live TV

Depending where you live, an inexpensive over-the-air antenna should get you ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and PBS. Most areas have even more channels available. If you still need more channels, you could save by dumping cable or an expensive live streamer like YouTube TV or Hulu Live TV. Two great ways to save are with Philo or Sling TV.

Philo gives you 60+ channels for just $25 per month. Give it a shot with a free trial.

Sling TV is another great option. You can choose from two small channel bundles, switch from month to month, or stack them for even more channels. It’s the most flexible streaming service out there.

Use this chart to see what’s available on each or turn to our Service Matchmaker to find the least expensive package for the channels you need.

Philo Sling TV
“Philo” “Orange” “Blue” “Combo”
Free Trial 50% OFF 50% OFF 50% OFF
$25 $40 $40 $55
A&E
AMC
BET ^ $6
Bravo - -
Cartoon Network -
CNN -
Comedy Central
Discovery -
Disney Channel - -
Disney Junior - ^ $6 - ^ $6
E! - -
ESPN - -
Food Network
Fox News - -
Freeform - -
FX - -
FXX - - ^ $6 ^ $6
Hallmark Channel ^ $6 ^ $6 ^ $6
HGTV
History
Investigation Discovery
Lifetime
MSNBC - -
MTV ^ $6 ^ $6 ^ $6
Nickelodeon - - -
Paramount Network ^ $6 ^ $6 ^ $6
Syfy - -
TBS -
TLC -
TNT -
Travel Channel
truTV - ^ $6
USA Network - -
VH1 ^ $6 ^ $6 ^ $6
WE tv ^ $6 ^ $6 ^ $6

Remember that each of those services has a DVR and the ability to watch on demand. That should supply you with plenty of entertainment without much cost.

Enjoy Free Trials

If you’ve stripped away your paid services, why not carve out some time and binge some of the premium streamers that offer free trials?

If you do those all in a row, that’s 134 free days of streaming!

Try Free or Ad-Supported Services

If you’re willing to put up with ads, there are some great streaming services out there. Our favorites include:

And if you’re a parent of preschoolers, we can’t say enough about the wonderful, free PBS Kids.

We’ve rounded up dozens and dozens of streaming services you can choose, including many excellent free options. If you have a library card, the Hoopla or Kanopy streaming services will feature some quality shows - your library can provide more information on which service they offer.

Related: The Best Free Streaming Services ►

Consider an Ad-Supported Tier

If you really can’t bear to part with one of your favorite streaming services, most of them offer a less expensive ad-supported tier. Streamers like Hulu, HBO Max, and Paramount+ allow you to save a lot if you’re willing to sit through ads. The trend is so popular, even Netflix is about to offer an ad-supported choice. In most cases, you’ll only see ads at the beginning of a movie, then the movie plays ad-free. TV shows have more frequent interruptions, however.

If there’s a service you watch less frequently, but still want access at all times, the ad-supported version is a great way to go.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Deals

At The Streamable, we’re always looking for the best ways to save. Simply add your email address to the sign-up box below and we’ll alert you to the best deals as they occur. Almost every streaming service goes on sale eventually. We can make sure you don’t miss the deals!

DIRECTV STREAM Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $50 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Sling TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $25 Uber Eats Gift Card when you sign up for Sling TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Hulu Live TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $35 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for Hulu Live TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.