By offering consumers a wide variety of quality programming at fair prices, Netflix has established itself as the current king of video streaming. While Netflix is considerably cheaper than most cable subscriptions, the cost of a Netflix subscription can easily add up. Unfortunately, unlike many cable companies, Netflix’s pricing is set in stone and therefore it is non-negotiable. However, there are other ways to save money on your Netflix subscription.
Opt for a Cheaper Subscription
Currently, Netflix has three different subscription tiers. The pricing of those tiers are based on two things: how many devices can stream simultaneously and the quality of the video. At the time of this writing, the three available tiers are as follows:
Note: pricing is in U.S. dollars and may vary based on location. Prices are on a per month basis.
- Basic – one video stream, standard definition (non-HD) video: $8.99
- Standard – two simultaneous streams, high definition (1080p) video: $12.99
- Premium – four simultaneous streams, ultra high definition (4K) video: $15.99
As you can see, the Premium Netflix subscription is the most expensive package, but if you don’t have a 4K TV, why pay for video quality you can’t even see? If you really want to stretch your dollar, you could even opt for the standard definition package to cut your monthly bill by almost half. Of course, if you absolutely must be able to see the individual pores on your favorite actors’ faces, then you could always bump up your subscription to the Standard package and save $36 per year!
Split the Bill
A Netflix subscription supports five separate profiles. These profiles keep track of what you’re watching and provide recommendations based on your viewing habits. By enabling different profiles on a single account, you could effectively share your account with a friend or family member and split the bill. For example, if you had the standard subscription and shared the account with someone else, you’d only be paying $6.50 per month instead of $12.99. To do so, you’ll need to opt for either the Standard or Premium subscriptions, as you’ll be able to stream video to more than one device at a time. This way, both you and your friend/family member can watch content simultaneously.
Sharing a Netflix account is something of a legal grey area. Officially, Netflix intends for different accounts to be used within the same household. That being said, this is more of a guideline than a rule. Netflix doesn’t actually enforce account sharing, although there have been reports that Netflix is planning on implementing new technology that could crack down on this practice. For now, though, sharing an account is entirely possible. So get together with someone you trust and split the bill!
Discontinue DVD/Blu-ray Delivery
Remember when Netflix delivered DVD and Blu-ray discs to your mailbox via those little red envelopes? You may be surprised to find out that Netflix still delivers physical discs straight to your door. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 3 million Americans rely on the service. This is due to the fact that many people struggle with reliable Broadband Internet access. Unfortunately, this means that streaming video simply isn’t possible.
While most people are only paying for Netflix’s streaming service, theres a slight chance you may be billed for the DVD/Blu-ray service as well. This could be because you’ve been with Netflix for a long time and simply never opted out of the delivery service, or perhaps you recently got access to broadband and no longer need the delivery service. Either way, hop into your account page and select “change plan” to see if you are unknowingly paying extra for the disc delivery service.
Pause Your Subscription
Netflix doesn’t want to lose subscribers, so they make it really easy to revive a defunct subscription. This means that you can effectively pause your subscription and start it back up again at a later date. This can save you money in a variety of different ways.
For example, let’s say you’re going on an overseas vacation and know you won’t use your Netflix account for a month. Instead of paying for that month you’re not using it, just pause your subscription so you won’t be billed for that month.
This is also useful when you want to hop between streaming services without racking up a huge bill. Lets say that you want to watch something on HBO Go that premieres in July. You know you’ll be glued to HBO Go for the entire month, so you’ll rarely, if ever fire up Netflix that month. Most people would simply pay for both simultaneously; however, by pausing your Netflix account, you don’t have to.
To pause your subscription, simply jump into the “My Account” section. From there, find the “Membership & Billing” subheading. Underneath that, locate the button labeled “Cancel Membership.” Before you start hyperventilating, remember what we said earlier about Netflix wanting to make it easy for you to jump back in? Reactivating your account is as simple as signing in and flicking a switch. All of your profiles and their respective watch histories will remain in-tact.
Pay Using Gift Cards
Instead of busting out your credit card when it comes to paying for your Netflix account, consider using a gift card. Many online as well as brick-and-mortar retailers sell Netflix gift cards, and they often work out to be cheaper than if you paid Netflix directly. Case in point, wholesale membership warehouses like Costco often sell Netflix subscription gift cards up to 10% cheaper than what Netflix charges.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a membership to a wholesale club, you can usually grab cheaper Netflix gift cards through iTunes and Google Play. Furthermore, you can score cheap gift cards on exchanges such as Cardpool and CardCash.
If you’re really trying to pinch your pennies, you can cancel Netflix altogether. There are numerous streaming platforms that offer free (and legal) TV shows and movies. Many, such as Tubi and Crackle, do not even require you to sign up. Others, such as Walmart-owned Vudu, offer free programming alongside an on-demand rental service for newer titles.
While these streaming services do not have exclusive titles like “Stranger Things” or “Game of Thrones,” they sport easy-to-use interfaces and a wide variety of content. Of course, free services are almost always ad-supported. However, if you can tolerate the occasional commercial, these services are definitely worth a look.
Do you have any tips or tricks that help you save money on your Netflix subscription? Let us know in the comments!