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tips to curb rising streaming prices
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Kim's column

Streaming costs inching up? Cheapskate secrets you need to know

Tech companies don’t seem to share when you can save money using their products or services. For example, if you’re traveling or have a second home, you’re not using your home internet service. Tap or click for a money-saving trick your ISP doesn’t want you to know.

Here’s another smart way to save: Share pricey music, file storage, and shopping subscriptions with a friend or family member. Tap or click for accounts you can share even if you don’t live together.

Two years ago, we were all glued to our TVs. This isn’t the case anymore. Here are five things to know before you cancel streaming services.

1. You’re probably spending more than you realize

When a streaming service only costs a few bucks a month, you don’t think twice about signing up. But add them up, and before you know it, you’re shelling out way more than you ever intended.

You’re probably not even using every streaming service regularly. My rule of thumb: If there’s a show I’m watching, I keep the service. Otherwise, I will cancel. Once there’s something new I want to watch, I’ll sign up again.

Keep a close eye on your streaming budget and how much you’re spending each month. I bet you’ll be surprised.

While you’re at it, keep note of when each charge goes through. Here’s why.

2. Time it right

It’s annoying when you plan to cancel a service and then get hit with another charge before you can do it. Let’s put the list of renewal dates you made to work. Add those dates to your calendar and check it before you cancel. Plan accordingly, so you’re paying for one fewer month.

Some platforms, like Netflix, tell you how much longer you have access to your account when you request to close it, but some don’t. You don’t need their help since you figured it out yourself.

Pro tip: Companies don’t want you to cancel, so they can make it tricky. That’s especially true on your smartphone. Take care of it from a computer to make it easier.

Limited-time offer: Claim your free Windows or Mac Guide at my site now.

3. Bundling or paying upfront can save you some cash

Let’s put your current streaming subscription inventory to use one more time. Look at what services you have — and use consistently — and determine whether you could save some money by bundling them together.

Say you subscribe to Disney+ for the kids and Hulu to watch a handful of your favorite shows. You can pay for each individually, or you can subscribe to the Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ bundle for $13.99 a month. That’s 30% cheaper than paying for each service individually.

Paying for a year of service upfront can also cut costs. Only do this for services you’re sure you’ll keep active all year long. Disney+ recently increased prices, but paying for the annual subscription can still save you a few bucks. A monthly subscription to Disney+ is $7.99, but an annual plan is $79.99. That’s almost $16 in savings, which is about two months free.

Pro tip: Don’t forget about streaming services you have access to for free. You can watch movies and TV shows on Prime Video if you have an Amazon Prime account. Tap or click here for more Amazon Prime perks you’ll use over and over.

4. See if there’s a discount for staying

If you’re on the fence about canceling a streaming service, go through the process. You might be surprised that they will offer you a discounted rate or even a free month to stay.

Keep a note of the date and set a reminder. If you haven’t watched anything at the end of the month, it’s time to say goodbye. A discount doesn’t mean much if you aren’t even using the offer.

Pro tip: There are other ways to get streaming freebies. Check with your phone provider or credit card company to see what you can get at no cost. T-Mobile’s Netflix on Us and Verizon’s Disney+ bundle are just two examples.

Free? We like that! Here are 15 reliable sites to watch movies without paying a dime.

5. You need a backup plan

One terrific way to save money on entertainment is by returning to the magic of broadcast television. Attach a simple antenna to your TV to stream free, live content in HD from popular networks.

How do you choose an antenna?

Don’t sweat it if you’re unsure which networks your antenna can access. Zap2It is a solid online directory to find local TV listings by provider or time zone.

Recording your shows to watch when you want is even better. To do that, you need an over-the-air DVR. Tap or click here for some of the best options out there.

Keep your tech-know going the easy way

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST PICK: Job seeker scam, $30 smart TV, best cable freebies

After you join TikTok Pulse, making money online is as easy as dancing the two-step. Of course, there’s a catch. Looking for a new job? Watch out for this scary new scam. Plus, I’ll share a hack you can use to get a smart TV for $30. Also, your cable subscription comes with some sweet freebies. Here are some perks you might be missing.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

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