13 ways to save money on TV streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+

Cut the cost of streaming on the likes of Netflix and Disney+ with these top tips, including changing how you pay and starting the cancellation process

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Recent updates

This article has been updated to reflect both Netflix and Disney+'s new subscription plans, including the versions with ads. We have also fact checked and removed any out of date information.

Both Netflix and Disney+ have announced that they are hiking prices in recent weeks, so knowing how to reduce how much you pay while still enjoying your favourite TVs will be important to many families. 

While some people might know how to get Disney+ for free, or have already cancelled payment plans for the services they watch the least, there are still plenty of other ways you can reduce how much you pay to watch TV and movies. When you consider that more than six million households in the UK are signed up to more than one streaming service, according to Finder, and the cost of living still high, price hikes are hard for households to factor into their family budgets. 

Luckily, we've found 13 ways you can (legally) watch your favourite shows and movies for less. 

1. Downgrade your subscription to a cheaper plan

Streaming giants Netflix and Disney+ have started offering different levels of subscription plans, with the cheapest offering the same shows and movies, but with ads and a limit on other features, like how many devices can watch it at one time, or whether it's possible to download programmes or films to watch offline. At the other end of the scale, premium subscription plans are ad-free, streaming in high definition, and with capacity for multiple devices to stream at the same time. 

So if you are on a mid-range or premium plan, you could save money by downgrading to a cheaper plan. For example, if you're a Premium Netflix subscriber, you could save £5 per month by dropping to a standard plan. Or if you were prepared to have adverts as part of your subscription, then you could make a significant saving, paying just £4.99 per month instead of £15.99.

If you are an existing Netflix subscriber, you might have been paying £6.99 (although this was upped to £7.99 in October) per month, which is the cheapest way to enjoy Netflix without any ads. But unfortunately, as of July 2023, the streaming giant no longer offers this package to new or rejoining customers. If you are on this cheaper subscription plan, you can remain on it until you change plans or cancel your account.

With Amazon, you could save money by switching from an Amazon Prime account, which costs £8.99 per month, to Prime Video, which costs £5.99 per month. You won't get the other perks of Amazon Prime membership, such as free premium delivery, but it's a move worth making if you just want to stream TV content without paying extra. 

As of 1 November 2023, Disney+ has introduced new subscription plans, including a premium one at £10.99 per month and a standard-with-ads version at £4.99 per month, as well as the standard ad-free version at £7.99 per month. Existing customers will automatically be moved to the premium version and will need to downgrade to the standard version if they don't want the premium version. 

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2. Set a diary reminder for your subscription renewals

Whether you've signed up for a free trial of a TV streaming service or opted for a regular monthly or annual commitment, it's worth making a note of when your streaming payment is due for renewal. They tend to roll over without notice - almost as if the providers are hoping you might, well, forget about them.

Consequently, you can end up paying for services that you've forgotten you signed up for or no longer use. To avoid wasting money, set a reminder on your phone's calendar so you'll be prompted to reconsider your subscription each time it comes to an end.

3. Pay annually instead of monthly when you renew your subscription

It's always tempting to opt for a monthly payment when you're forking out for a subscription so that you can spread the cost over the year. However, this is usually more expensive overall. 

It's generally more cost-effective to pay annually - so if you can afford to sign up for an annual subscription and pay upfront, you'll save money in the long run.

For example, an Amazon Prime subscription is £8.99 per month, which works out as £107.88 over the course of 12 months. But an annual subscription costs £95, which is almost £13 cheaper. 

Similarly, the standard ad-free plan for Disney+ costs £7.99 per month (£95.88 over 12 months), or £79.90 for an annual subscription, which is a saving of just under £16 and effectively means you are getting two months Disney+ access for free.

Netflix animated film

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4. Start the cancellation process

Even if you don't actually want to cancel, starting the cancellation process can bag you a cheaper streaming fee. This trick doesn't work with Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+, to our knowledge, but it does with Sky and Now TV.

Don't take the first offer - the deals usually get better the further along the cancellation process you go. 

Goodto.com's Money Editor Sarah Handley saved £5 a month doing this with her Now TV subscription: "I'm a big movie fan and had the Now TV cinema package which was costing me £9.99 per month, that I felt was too expensive for how many films I was watching on the service. I signed into my account, and went through to cancel it. I started going through the process and before I got to the end I was offered a deal for six months at £4.99 a month - which I was much more prepared to pay."

5. Rotate streaming services instead of subscribing simultaneously

This works well if you have multiple film and TV streaming subscriptions on the go at once. The beauty of TV streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + is that you're not locked into a contract so you can pause your account any time - and then subscribe again in a month or two.

You can only watch so much TV, after all, so to save money on Netflix and other TV streaming services, consider picking one streaming service per month to subscribe to. And remember that you can usually catch up on whatever you missed from the month you weren't subscribed.

However, do be wary of doing this with Netflix if you are on the Basic plan that used to cost £6.99 per month, and now costs £7.99. As this plan is no longer available to new customers, if you cancel your existing subscription, you will have to pay £10.99 per month if you rejoin and want an ad-free experience. 

happy family watching tv at home

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6. Plan your viewing

We all love a good scroll through the TV streaming menu. But it pays to put an end to mindless scrolling and instead plan your TV viewing. You wouldn't usually turn up to the cinema and decide what to watch when you got there, so apply the same forward planning to your TV streaming to get more value from your subscription. By planning what you're going to watch in advance you can make the most of your streaming subscription and even work out where you can watch something for the cheapest price.

Streaming apps like JustWatch, ReelGood, and WatchPlayStream not only tell you which platform you can legally watch your favourite shows on but also where you should watch them to get the cheapest deal. 

7. Look out for streaming services as add-on bonuses to other purchases

If you're in the market for a new phone contract and want to save money on your streaming subscription, it's well worth shopping around for a mobile deal with a free streaming offer. Mobile phone providers often throw in streaming memberships to entice you to sign up for a new phone contract. EE and T Mobile offer free Netflix subscriptions. O2 is currently offering a free six month Disney+ subscription to customers when they upgrade. Alternatively, existing O2 customers can add Disney+ to their account, where the fee is included on your monthly phone bill, and save £2 per month on the subscription charge. That makes Disney+ £5.99 per month instead of £7.99 (which over the course of the year works out about £8 cheaper than the annual Disney+ fee).

But it's not just phone contracts that offer these perks, if you book a holiday to Disneyland Paris, you can also get Disney+ for free for a year. 

8. Check the freebies if you've bought an Apple product

If you have bought an iPhone, iPad or Apple watch, you will likely also get a free subscription to Apple TV. This could be anything from a free month, up to 12 months free. 

And with popular Apple-exclusive shows like Ted Lasso, See and Bad Sisters - it's worthwhile taking advantage of those free offers when you find them. 

Similarly, if you have bought a Samsung product, you could be eligible for up to 12 months free Disney+ so it's worthwhile seeing if your purchase qualifies

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9. Don't forget that free streaming services still exist

Of course, you don't actually have to pay for your streaming service. While the likes of Netflix and Disney+ might have hugely popular shows, lots really good shows are quite often available to view for free elsewhere. Check out All 4, ITV Hub, My 5, and, of course, Freeview to see if what you want to watch can be found for free. 

10. Opt for a free trial - but don't forget to cancel it

A lot of streaming platforms offer a free trial before you sign up for a subscription, especially the newer ones, like Apple TV+, Paramount+ and Lionsgate+. But sadly, out of the big three (Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+), it's only Amazon Prime that still offers a free trial.

So if something's coming up that you know you're going to want to watch, it could be worth signing up for a free trial subscription to whichever platform is showing it. It's also a good way to try a platform out and see if you enjoy its programmes before you part with your cash.

The danger of this strategy is that free trials are cleverly designed so that you're likely to forget about them, which means you can end up wasting cash on something you don't need or use.

A remote control featuring streaming service buttons including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus

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11. Use a cashback site and take advantage of vouchers

If you're not familiar with how cashback sites work, it can seem a bit shady at first but it's not. The premise is simple; if you purchase something online through a particular cashback website, you can earn some money back as a sort of commission. 

At Quidco, for example, you can claim £10 cashback when you use the site to pay for an annual subscription to Disney Plus.

You can also use your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to save on Disney+. You can exchange your Clubcard vouchers for twice their value when you spend with one of Tesco's Reward Partners, which means you only need £12 of Tesco vouchers to be able to get three months of Disney+ (worth £24). If you've got unused vouchers, this could be the perfect opportunity to keep your favourite streaming service for less.

12. Share a streaming account - legally

Most streaming service providers - including Amazon Prime and Netflix -  let you set up multiple user profiles on your account so that you can 'share' access with other family members in the same household rather than paying for multiple accounts. 

Generally, this is more affordable than paying for separate accounts so this is a good idea if you've got teens in the house. You could even persuade them to contribute to the Netflix bill.

Each streaming company has different rules for sharing accounts - Apple TV+ says it applies to students living outside of the family home, for example, whereas Amazon states that you must live in the same household to share an account. Best to check the small print before you share your login details.

As Netflix has launched a crackdown on password sharing, it has updated it's pricing structure to allow for a certain amount of extra accounts as part of your monthly fee. For example, if you pay for the Standard plan at £10.99 per month, you can add one extra member who doesn't live with you. If you have the Premium plan, which is £15.99 per month, you can add two extra members. (Netflix states that: "Extra members have their own account and password, but their membership is paid for by the person who invited them to share their Netflix account. Your plan determines how many extra member slots you can add.")

13. Work out value for money

You might find you have the perfect set up of streaming services right now, but it is worthwhile regularly checking in with which streaming services you tend to use the most. If you have one you only watch occasionally, or only watch one show, then it's definitely time to think about whether you really need to be paying for it. 

For example, if you pay £6.99 a month for a standard Netflix subscription, but only really watch Bridgerton, which across two seasons is 16 episodes, you're paying 44p per episode each month. 

But if you have a Disney+ subscription, which is £7.99 if you pay monthly, watch more shows, like Modern Family, The Simpsons and any of the Marvel or Star Wars collections, then the price you pay per episode will be much lower, and you'll be getting much better value for money.

If you're trying to decide which streaming service you want to keep, bear in mind if Pain Hustlers based on a true story, who is in Only Murders in the Building, and Dopesick vs Painkiller to help make your choice.

Heidi Scrimgeour
Deputy Editor

Heidi is a seasoned parenting journalist with over 15 years of experience. She has contributed to numerous UK national newspapers, including The Guardian, The Times, and The Telegraph. Her work has also appeared in a variety of print and digital magazines, such as Psychologies and Mother & Baby, where she was Shopping Editor for six years. In this role, she specialised in consumer features, including buying guides and baby gear reviews. Heidi is also mum to two teenage sons and a ten-year-old daughter.

With contributions from