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How to Save Money on Cable and Streaming Services

Get all of your favorite TV shows and movies for less with these tips.

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An evening at home watching TV on the couch looks different than it did even just a decade ago, thanks to streaming service bundles. Instead of having to be home to watch our favorite shows as they air live, we now have the ability to play an entire series or our favorite movies on-demand. And because of some streaming bundle packages, it's also never been easier to cut ties with traditional cable—without even losing access to live TV. But before you make the leap, it's essential to know exactly what the best streaming bundles are so your budget can benefit. Read on to discover how to save money on cable and streaming services, according to experts.

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What Is a Streaming Package?

Streaming service icons on smartphone screen

In addition to the convenience of being able to watch what you want exactly when you want to, streaming services have become the go-to format for releasing most new content in places that make it much easier to consume them.

"A streaming service is offered by an online entertainment provider that gives you access to a variety of content such as movies, TV shows, and live TV," explains Sandy Yong, personal finance expert and founder of The Money Master. "You can watch it online via your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device."

The format has become so popular that many TVs now come preloaded with major streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube TV, and Hulu, among others. Devices such as Roku boxes, Amazon Firesticks, and Google Chromecasts can also plug in to your set to add or enhance the experience.

Each streaming service includes its own set of content, but it's usually possible to combine them or enjoy add-ons. "Streaming bundle packages are just individual streaming services that are bundled together and offered at a discount—kind of like when an insurance company offers you additional savings when you buy both car and home insurance from them," says Lauren Keys, founder of Trip of a Lifestyle

How Can I Watch?

Streaming services can help you save on cable bills.

One of the biggest draws of streaming app bundles is how much more budget-friendly they can be than traditional cable. "It's appealing for those who are cord-cutters and wish to eliminate traditional TV," says Yong. "There's a plethora of streaming services available that cater to specific niches (e.g., sports fans or movie buffs) and can vary in price."

Can I watch live TV?

One of the biggest questions people have when making the transition to streaming service bundles is whether streaming TV is easy or affordable to use. According to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with, streaming services Hulu, Tubi, YouTube TV, and Prime Video are just some of the available options that do include some version of it.

"With Prime, you can view some live TV, such as CBS News, CBS Sports, and ET," she explains. "There are also 'Freevee' options available that are basically marathon channels of very specific TV shows: Think 24/7 Dateline NBC, History Channel's Modern Marvels, Ghost Hunters, and more with ads interspersed." She says these channels are available with ads, so they're "probably one of the closest experiences we can get to old-school TV marathons."

Free trials can be a big help.

A family sitting on a couch while watching a streaming TV service

Whether there's a new show you know you want to watch or you're simply in dire need of something to keep you occupied, many major streaming services will give you a taste of what they offer before you have to pay anything. According to Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert at, Starz, Paramount+, AppleTV+, and Discovery+ all offer a seven-day free trial, while you can get a whole month of Hulu or Prime Video for free.

However, it's important to remember that you'll get charged eventually. "If you sign up for a free trial or promotional offer, set up a calendar reminder a few days before it ends to reevaluate if that streaming company is right for you or if you need to cancel," suggests Melissa Cid, consumer savings expert for

Some memberships come with free access to streaming services.

There's a chance you already have access to a streaming service, even if you haven't officially signed up yet.

"Some memberships also include free streaming services or credits," Cid says. "Walmart also offers Paramount+ streaming for free to members. And along with their free shipping perk, Amazon Prime members have a huge selection of streaming content included through Prime Video."

According to Bodge, other possibilities include your cell phone plan. "Some T-Mobile customers get access to Netflix, Paramount+, and Apple TV+," she says.

Prices for major streaming services have been going up.

Part of the original migration away from cable to streaming bundles was undertaken in the hopes of cutting down costs. But experts warn that streaming is getting more expensive.

"The rising prices of streaming services are something to keep an eye on," says Dan Goman, streaming and entertainment expert and CEO of Ateliere Creative Technologies. "As a result, consumers may start feeling discomfort as they see their bills increasing. Some may opt for more affordable options, including ad-supported services, to manage their entertainment costs."

Ironically, the future of streaming could likely mirror the traditional cable model. "In fact, I like to think of it as' Cable 2.0.' Streaming services will continue to increase the unsustainably low subscription prices, and we're already at a point where subscriptions to the top streaming services cost more than the average cable bill," he predicts. "This leads us to Cable 2.0, where platforms like Apple, YouTube, and Roku will bundle content and be the next 'cable companies' offering cost-effective content bundles for consumers."

However, he admits that the concept of streaming bundles is still gaining traction. "While these major streaming services may not eventually be as affordable as we'd like, partnerships with phone companies and other platforms could offer consumers a way to access a variety of streaming options conveniently," he says. "It's intriguing to think that these few platforms may eventually replace traditional cable operators."

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4 Best Streaming Bundles to Help You Save

netflix and hulu apps on apple tv

Disney+ Trio

Experts agree that the Disney+ Trio offers a great value.

"It includes Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+, costs $14.99 per month for the basic bundle with ads, and $24.99 per month for the premium ad-free version (as of April 2024)," says Keys. "But if you were to buy each service individually, you'd pay $7.99 or 17.99 per month for Hulu with or without ads, $10.99 per month for ESPN+, and $7.99 to 13.99 for Disney+ with or without ads."

This is also one of the best streaming bundles in terms of what you'll get. "On Hulu, you can watch shows like Rick and Morty or The Good Doctor, says Deacon Hayes, founder of Well Kept Wallet. "On Disney+, you get not only kids' content, but you can also watch Marvel movies, Star Wars shows like The Mandalorian, and National Geographic content. Lastly, with ESPN+, you have access to a lot of sports content, from college golf to Major League Baseball games."

YouTube TV

Those who are looking for easy access to live TV with the option to spring for add-ons have at least one option—if they're willing to pay up.

"YouTube TV is a pricey streaming service, but it also comes with national and local networks, plus on-demand movies and shows at no additional cost," says Ramhold. "The biggest draw to it might be the unlimited cloud DVR storage so you can record media to watch later, and for an additional monthly cost, you can add 'premium' networks like Max, Showtime, and Starz."

However, she points out that the starting price of $72.99 per month price tag may be daunting for some—even though it does come with up to six household accounts. "It does include live TV, and in its defense, it bills itself as' cable reimagined,' so even with that higher price tag, it may be worth it for many households," she adds.


While it's technically not one of the major streaming services, Philo is another option for people who want plenty of channels. "It's only $25 a month for 70 channels," says Todd Stearn, consumer savings expert and founder of The Money Manual.

Some tiers include popular channels AMC, MTV, Food Network, Comedy Central, TLC, VH1, and more. "You can easily see the selection on their website and sort by channel type to see if their offerings will meet your needs," he says. "And better yet, Philo also offers a seven-day free trial."


As traditional networks and media companies continue to develop their streaming service offerings, there are more options that function as streaming bundles under one roof—including Paramount+.

"If you're on a tighter budget, you can opt for Paramount+ for $5.99 a month," says Stearn. "This would be the way to go if you're a CBS fan, as it includes CBS programming along with several other networks, some decent movie access, and even offers a one-week free trial."


For also just under $6 per month, you can get access to a wide range of shows and movies with Peacock.

"This is for the NBC fans, as it includes NBC among other networks such as Bravo, USA, MSNBC, Showtime, E!, and Golf Channel, as well as access to movies," says Stearn. "It also has live sporting events."

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How to Pick the Best Streaming Bundles

Couple watching streaming services

There's no doubt that the growing number of options might make it more confusing to come up with the right lineup for your needs. But if you take some time to explore what's out there and compare, it should become clear what the best streaming bundles are for you.

"The thing to keep in mind when deciding between different services and bundle deals is to figure out what you really need," says Keys. "For example, if you only care about Hulu and ESPN+, it saves you money to simply buy the ad-supported versions of those two services separately and skip the bundle that includes Disney+."

Cid says the way to determine the best streaming packages for your needs is to make a list of must-have channels and shows you'll want access to on-demand. "From there, you can narrow it down to the perfect streaming package for you," she says. "Maybe it's YouTube TV, which offers the most channels, or Hulu+ Live TV, which has the best streaming app bundles. It might even be Sling TV, which is one of the best bangs for your buck with more package options for every budget."

The best option may be no streaming bundle packages at all.

Even with a wide array to pick from, shopping for the best streaming bundles might not be as worth it for you as going a la carte. Ramhold also points out that some bundles don't actually provide any savings.

"Even things like Amazon Prime Video aren't really a bargain when you consider that you pay for Prime Video (or Prime) and can add things like Max for $9.99 per month—but Max on its own is already $9.99 per month, so you're not saving anything going this route," she explains. "Honestly, I'm not sure of any real streaming bundles or app bundles at this time that yield real savings, except maybe the Disney+ Trio for those who can use it."


It's clear that streaming TV is the way of the future, and streaming service bundles should make it easier and more affordable to access your favorite TV shows, movies, and live TV. However, it's crucial to weigh your options to determine the best streaming bundles for your needs so you don't end up overpaying. For more money-saving advice, visit Best Life again soon.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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