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How I saved $600 a year on streaming: 5-step guide


Streamlining your subscriptions is not about cutting back on entertainment – but about only paying for what you use.

In just 5 steps and within an hour, you can get rid of subscription money leaks that drain your bank balance.

But this is not an exercise in being the Fun Police. The goal isn't to get rid of streaming and subscription services that impact your lifestyle and enjoyment.

To the contrary: the goal is to make sure the investments you make add value to your life, and you're not wasting money on platforms you rarely use.

Here's how to do it:

Food and drink icon Step 1: Make a cup of coffee.

Or tea, if that floats your boat. Or a green juice, or water, or grab a little snack. Get settled and comfortable at a desk or table; don't juggle this task on your phone, while you're watching TV or commuting home from work. You want to give this 100% of your focus for a short period.

I sat at the kitchen bench with my husband and both of our laptops. We set the kids up in front of the TV – ironically, streaming! – so we had a full hour to concentrate, no distractions.

Icon made by Kiranshastry from www.flaticon.comStep 2: Create a list.

Create a list of ALL of your subscriptions: music, TV, fitness apps, sports, gaming, the lot. Note the name and the cost every month. Make sure you check current prices on your credit card statements or platform websites, so your info is accurate.

This can be eye-opening: we discovered that 6 of the services we were paying for had increased in price without us realising. We also found our monthly spend was a whopping… drum roll please… $186 a month! About double what I was expecting.

Picture not described Step 3: Review each service, one by one.

This is a tiny bit tedious, but it's nowhere near as time-consuming as you think it's going to be. Login to every subscription you have so you can make a decision…

  • Would I miss this if I cancelled it?
  • Am I subscribed because I actually use it, or because I want to use it? Fitness apps, we're looking at you…
  • Do I use this regularly or is it just "nice to have"?
  • Do I/we really need this?

It sounds silly, but these can be emotional decisions. When we got Disney+, my son was 2 and we watched Jungle Junction and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on repeat. Asking: "do we really need this?" had me thinking about how much our lives had changed over the last few years. But I didn't have time to ponder for too long, because we had to be decisive, which brings me to step 4.

Picture not described Step 4: Be brutally honest as you make decisions.

For each subscription, make a decision:

  • Keep - because I actively use and enjoy this platform.
  • Change - eg. downgrade from multi-streams to single stream, or cancel 1 platform in favour of joining another one.
  • Cancel - as I'm not getting value right now. (You can always re-join in the future if a show you love has a new season dropping!)

Be brutal here. For example, my husband watches car racing on Kayo Sports and the racing season runs from March to November. We decided we'll keep Kayo while the season is live, but we set a calendar reminder to cancel it after the last race of the season.

For 4 months, we'll save $20/month – better in our pocket than theirs!

Picture not described Step 5: Capture the savings.

The final piece of the puzzle is to note the savings and decide what to do with that money.

If you're struggling with the rising cost of living, you could squirrel these savings towards other bills. Otherwise, this money could be added to your savings balance.

In our audit, we saved $50/month. I've now set up a $50 monthly auto-debit into a high interest savings account, so this actually makes an impact on our household savings goals.

Now, $50 might not seem like a life-changing amount. But $50 a month sent to a savings account earning an average of 4.75% p.a. becomes $20,098* in 20 years time.

This is the power of turning money leaks into money wins and in my view, makes this whole exercise worthwhile.

* Source - Money Smart Compound interest calculator

As you decide which streaming services to keep, add or cancel, check out the best shows on streaming this month.

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