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Spring Clean Your TV Streaming Services in Just 3 Steps

Save money and enjoy more shows and movies with this easy guide

spinner image A spray bottle, television remote, a brush, another television remote and another brush side by side with television color bars in the background
Danielle Del Plato

Spring cleaning is as much a rite of the season as watching daffodils bloom. It feels like the perfect time to declutter, deep-clean the house, take those unworn clothes to a local charity and maybe even spring for a fresh decorating accent or two. So why not take the same spring-cleaning approach to that bunch of streaming subscriptions that you’ve added over the year? Whether you’re watching shows and movies regularly (or not), you’re definitely paying for it all and may have lost track of how much it’s costing. That’s a situation made for spring cleaning.

​Here's how to take stock, clean out and refresh your TV options in the spirit of spring cleaning.

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​1. Create a list of your streaming subscriptions

​Just as a good spring cleaning begins with a clear-eyed assessment of what’s accumulated in the house over the course of the year, a streamer spring cleaning should begin the same way: with a manual audit. What are you paying for and at what amount? Sure, you may know you’re a Prime Video or Netflix subscriber, but what about that platform you signed up for to watch one series and forgot all about? Or, worse, signed up for a free trial from and forgot to cancel?

​It's easy to manually audit your streamer subscriptions. Go through your bank and credit card accounts for the year and note what you’re paying and to whom. If you’re a DIY-er, you can do this by hand, but there are online services that can do it for you — a major time saver. Services like Trim and Hiatus monitor your online accounts (with your permission) and use AI to figure out which of your payments are likely to be subscription-based services. (You’ll also discover whether you’ve double-subscribed to a magazine, and who hasn’t done that?) These are easy to set up and have other analysis features that can be useful for budgeting overall.

2. Take stock of your streamers

​Now that you have a good list of what you’re paying to watch, it’s time to cull with a critical eye. First, go service by service and think about how frequently you’re going there for shows and movies. Regular visitor to Hulu? Good for you! Keep it another year. Got lured in to Disney+ by The Mandalorian but haven’t watched it since? Time to kiss the magic streaming kingdom goodbye. Don’t keep it around because you think you might start watching again – chances are you won’t. (Remember that pair of jeans you kept in the closet for years in case you wanted to wear them again?) And remember: In the world of streaming, it costs nothing to cancel a subscription, and there’s no penalty for coming back if you change your mind later. That’s what you call no risk and all return.

​And speaking of money: Take stock, while auditing your streamers, of what they’re costing you. Chances are you can modify or bundle some of your streamers to save money, even if you’re keeping them. Here are four ways to save money on streamers you want to keep:

Switch to an ad-supported subscription tier: Many streamers, including Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV+ have recently added lower cost subscriptions that include advertising. If you don’t mind ads, you can save hundreds of dollars a year. Use our guide to see where you can save money on eight popular streamers: How To Save Over $500 This Year on Your Streaming Services.

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Switch to an annual payment: If you’re confident you’d like to stick with certain streamers and you’re paying monthly (see how handy that audit is?), you can save money by switching to an annual fee. It will feel like a big hit once but will cost you less by the end of the year.

Share a subscription: Does your sister love the British shows on Acorn TV as much as you do? You might be able to share a streaming subscription with a family member or friend and split the cost. But be aware: Some streamers like Netflix are cutting back on sharing passwords, so play by the rules and investigate how many users can be on one subscription.

Bundle: For the most part, it is better when you bundle, and while the packaging-up of smaller streamers with bigger ones can look confusing, it’s worth slowing down to see if you can save money by taking advantage of bundling offers. Amazon’s Prime Video actually offers more than 100 premium add-ons, from Cinemax and Starz to PBS Documentaries and HISTORY Vault. That’s an upcharge on your Prime account, but it will generally be cheaper than subscribing to a second service on its own.

Don’t miss this: How the New Disney-Fox-Warner Streaming App Could Change the Way You Watch Sports

3. Refresh your streamer lineup

Now that you’ve cleared some space by letting go of streamers you don’t watch (and are possibly cutting costs with ones you’re keeping), it’s time to freshen up the TV room by considering adding one or two new streamers to your lineup to expand your horizons. There are literally hundreds of little streaming services that fly under the radar; here are three grownup-friendly suggestions to try this year:

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For movie buffs: The Criterion Channel

Nearly 3,000 quality films fill the archives of this top-shelf movie streaming service, and there’s a new film collection every month to whet your cinephile appetite.

The cost: $10.99/month; $99.99/year; free 7-day trial.

For lifelong learners: CuriosityStream

All documentaries all the time — sound like heaven? It is on this learning-forward streamer, which also includes ongoing education series and exclusives from stars like David Attenborough and Stephen Hawking.

The cost: $4.99/month; $39.99/year.

For live music lovers: Qello Concerts

It’s been a blast getting back out to live concerts since the pandemic, but here’s a way to stream many of your favorite bands and artists just steps away from your refrigerator (and bathroom!). Catch full-length concerts, music docs, new releases and more – and now’s the time to invest in a new speaker for big sound for the TV room!

The cost: $11.99/month, $99.99/year; free 7-day trial.

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