Next came deciding what streaming services to keep.
Mr. Willcox suggests making a list of the shows you and your family want to watch and then matching them with the appropriate streaming service. Set a limit on what you want to spend. “It’s a lot more work than it used to be,” he said.
To keep the total cost under a target of $250 a month (a savings of at least $150 from my current bill), I had $65 left.
I prefer advertising-free viewing, so I’m planning on paying a bit more than I would for ad-supported streaming options. Even so, my savings should cover the cost of monthly subscriptions to Netflix (currently $13.99 for a standard plan), Paramount+ ($9.99 for premium) and Amazon Prime video ($8.99; if you pay for a full Prime membership, video is included). I learned that we can keep Disney+ bundled with two more services free — Hulu (shows include “Only Murders in the Building,” with Steve Martin) and ESPN+ — as part of a promotion from Verizon, our mobile phone company. The Hulu option in the deal has ads, but I’ll take them — for now. Finally, we can add HBO Max ($11.99) and watch acclaimed shows like “Station Eleven.”
(Our Apple TV+ subscription is free for six more months; we’ll re-evaluate it when the promotion expires.)
Grand total for streaming and cable: $230.
With the overall savings (about $170 a month), maybe we can even buy other things (hopefully, more books).
Still, that’s a lot of television — and it’s probably unnecessary to pay for all of those subscriptions year round, Mr. Willcox said. You could instead pay for a month here and there because most streaming services currently allow customers to join and cancel at will. (Just remember to cancel.)
For instance, if you don’t care about watching a new show right away, he said, you can simply wait. When an entire season of a show that you want to watch becomes available, you can join the appropriate streaming service, watch it for a month, then cancel — and sign up again later if something else catches your fancy. (Some people even binge watch their selections during free trials.) It takes some planning but can save you money.