Zone Classifieds The Zoomer Edit 5 Ways to Save Money on Streaming Services

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The Zoomer Edit

5 Ways to Save Money on Streaming Services

BY Marc Saltzman | May 2nd, 2024

Many Canadians have “cut the cord” over the years by replacing a bloated cable TV service with less expensive streaming options.

Ironically, though, it could now cost you just as much – if not more – to go with streaming services as there are so many to choose from today, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Crave, Disney+, and Apple TV+, to name a few (not to mention many have upped their rates while clamping down on password sharing).

So, what to do?

Fortunately, you have options. 

The following are five ways to save on streaming services.


Consider AVOD Services

Budget-conscious consumers are discovering completely free (and legal) streaming solutions, collectively referred to as “AVOD” services. As the name suggests, “ad-supported video-on-demand” services contain advertisements between and during content. But hey, free is free. Popular AVOD services include Tubi, Pluto TV, YouTube, and The Roku Channel. 

If you’ve got an Internet connection and a screen, you can watch most of these on-demand video services on just about anything. That is, you can access most on its website, such as (and no registration is necessary), or by downloading a free app (iOS or Android) for viewing on a smartphone or tablet.

Photo: © 2024 Tubi, Inc.


When on an iPhone, iPad or Android, you can choose to wirelessly “cast” the video to a nearby and compatible Smart TV or streaming device plugged into a television (like Roku, Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV stick). You just need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as your television.

TV networks like Global TV, CTV, CityTV and CBC also offer free apps to stream free content – with ads.


Consider a Lower Tier 

In some cases, stay with your preferred paid streaming service, but drop down to a less expensive plan.

For example, Netflix Premium now costs $20.99 a month (at the time of writing this) and lets you watch unlimited ad-free movies and TV shows (and play mobile games), watch on four supported devices at a time in up to 4K quality (and with spatial audio), download to watch later on up to six devices, and so on. 

But if you go with Netflix’s $5.99 plan – yes, about a quarter of the price of the premium one – you can still access all the content (and even unlimited mobile games), but there will be short advertisements. You can watch on two supported devices at a time, in Full HD (instead of 4K) and download on two supported devices at a time.

Not bad for just $6/month.


Look for Promos and Bundles

There are often promotions and bundles to take advantage of, so it’s worth looking into before you commit to a service.

For example, at the time of writing this, Air Canada announced a partnership with Apple to offer two months of the streaming service for free – for new and returning Apple TV+ users.  

Or, if you buy an Apple device, Apple TV+ is included free for three months.

Exclusively for TELUS customers, a bundle called Stream+ gives you access to three of the most popular paid streaming services in Canada – Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video – from just $20 a month.

You get the idea.

Also look or retail promos, senior discounts, and perhaps have your grandkids sign up for a student plan for you (we won’t tell).

On a related note, take advantage of the free 1-month trial with Amazon Prime ($9.99/month or $99/year), which gives you free shipping on millions of items – depending on where you live, even same day – plus unlimited access to Prime Video TV shows and movies, Amazon Music, and free books via Prime Reading.


Pay By Month and Cancel Strategically

While you often save by committing to a paid service annually opposed to a monthly, a pragmatic way to save money is to pay by month and binge everything that service has to offer within that period (even if it’s 2 or 3 months, it’ll be cheaper than the entire year). Then, leave the service and try another one for a month. This may be smarter than signing up for four or five paid services and not getting the most out of one in particular.

In fact, like the above mentioned Amazon Prime, most services will give you a free trial period (a week or a month) and so take advantage of that and cancel before the time’s up – and do that with every service. Be aware these services are usually set to auto-renew, so put a reminder in your phone to cancel a day or two before the month ends.


Split Services with Family and Friends

Since many services have stopped Canadians from sharing passwords with others (across different households) it’s still a smart idea to buy one service and your best friend subscribes to another, and you take advantage of each other’s membership to watch content together.

In other words, binge every episode of one show on Netflix at your place and then hang out together at a friend’s place or family member’s home the following week or two to catch up on another show on Apple TV+.

After all, sharing is caring! And it’s cheaper than both of you buying the same service and watching separately.

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