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8 September 2023

How to save money on streaming services

Our tips to help get control of all those little payments going out each month.

A payment to Netflix one day, Disney+ the next and Apple TV the day after – it’s easy to lose track of all the services you’ve signed up for and how much you’re paying for them. Here are eight tips for getting on top of your streaming subscriptions.

Streaming services tips

1. Do an audit

Login into your online banking and make a list of all the services you’re paying for each month – you might be surprised how much they cost if they’ve had a price hike since you joined. When it comes to deciding which ones you want to keep, it can help to add up the annual cost and see if you’re willing to keep spending that much.

2. Try service hopping

It’s easy to cancel and resubscribe to services, so you should come and go as you please. Rather than keeping them all running, you can hop between services as they release shows you want to watch. Use their wishlist facilities to save up shows you want to watch, then get through them all before you switch to the next service.

3. Do the downgrade

Check out what plan you are on and, if it’s the premium option, decide whether you could cope with the downgrade. Netflix, for example, has three plans, with the premium plan costing $24.99 and the basic one $12.99. You’ll be sacrificing video quality and only be able to use the service on one screen at a time (compared to four with premium), but will save a lot over a year.

4. See what’s available for free

See what free movies and TV shows TVNZ+ and ThreeNow have available. You might find you can get your streaming fix without forking out any money. But you will have to get used to ad breaks again.

5. See what your library offers

Our technology writer Nick Gelling recommends looking into what content you can access through your local library. “A lot of public libraries in New Zealand will have a deal with either Beamafilm or Kanopy and you might be surprised how much there is you can watch for free just by having a library card,” Nick says.

6. Check your broadband plan

Check if you could be getting a service for free through your internet plan. If you’re with Spark, you might get free Netflix or cheaper Spotify.

7. Pay annually

If you know you want to stay signed up to a service for the next 12 months, you can save by paying the annual amount upfront. For example, if you pay for Neon’s standard plan annually it works out nearly $36 cheaper over the year than if you paid for it monthly.

8. Binge your favourite shows

Some streaming services drip feed episodes over weeks rather than dropping a whole season at once. If you’re watching episodes as they get uploaded, you could be paying for months of subscribing. You can save by watching them all at once and just paying for one payment cycle. That’s if you can avoid overhearing all the chat about your favourite shows every time an episode drops.

The best laptops, tablet and phones to watch shows on

Now you’ve got your subscriptions under control, you can use our test results to find the best screens to watch on.

Use our laptop test results to see the brand that stands out way ahead of the rest.

Our tablet test results will show you which ones we recommend, including a couple that cost under $1000.

Or if you need a new big screen, our TV test results will help. Sony? LG? Panasonic? Samsung? There’s one brand we’ve declared the best.

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