Save Money On Streaming Services By ‘Subscription Hopping’

Save Money On Streaming Services By ‘Subscription Hopping’
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I am not ashamed to admit that I watched the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale on a free Foxtel trial.

Nor am I embarrassed to acknowledge that I paid for a single month of Netflix last December just so I could watch Christmas Prince and Christmas Prince II and The One That’s Like Christmas Prince But the Heroine’s a Baker Instead of a Blogger and all the rest of them.

I also regularly sign up for free trials of other streaming services — Stan, Amazon, YouTube TV, etc. — to catch can’t-miss tent pole series and events.

No, I don’t go so far as to create new email addresses so I can keep scoring free trials; that feels a little too much like cheating the system. Luckily, there are so many new streaming services popping up, with new free offers that I can claim and immediately cancel, that I never really have to.

Because if you decide to subscribe to all of these services on a long-term basis, well… as Kevin McAllister explains in The Wall Street Journal, that’s going to cost you.

It can happen fast. Maybe you’ll pay $12 for a Netflix account and $7 for an Amazon Prime Video subscription. Another $7 click here and a $15 one there and those prices you might not think twice about in the moment can end up leaving you with a $500-$800 tab on video alone by year’s end.

I’ve spent $130 on a la carte streaming services this year, including the month of Foxtel I bought so I could rewatch the entirety of Game of Thrones before the final season (which turned out to be a huge waste of my time) and the occasional movie or television show I rent from Amazon.

I also paid $59 for my annual Amazon Prime membership, which is the one subscription I refuse to cancel because it comes with free shipping. However, you can even pay for Prime on an as-needed basis if you really want to; there’s no law that says you have to sign up for a full year of Prime just because you saw a Carnival Row advertisement in an airport.

McAllister suggests that more of us take advantage of what he calls “subscription hopping,” whether you pay for a month of a particular streaming service to watch a specific show or get even more strategic about it:

A friend of mine, who is what I’d consider a superuser, takes it a step further, waiting for a critical mass of content to hit any given streaming service before signing back up.

And now that you know how much money you can save, you can become a subscription hopper too! Just… make sure not everyone does it, okay? Otherwise, all of those streaming media sites will change their pricing models and close this delightful little loophole.


  • I thought this was a given! Unless you’re a family w/kids, just binge one subscription at a time.
    1.- Take advantage of the free trial
    2.- Bingebingebinge
    3.- Pay the sub until content is devoured
    4.- Rinse and repeat
    By the time you’ve binged out the last service, the 1st you binged should have new seasons/movies/shows ready to binge again!

  • I do this with most services. Netflix is probably the one service I don’t regularly cancel, though, unlike the rest. I only sub the others as long as it takes for me to watch a series and then cancel. I can’t see why they would put the price up for a la cart subbing since we’re paying the higher amount for that than when we subscribe for a year anyway.

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