Are you a Game of Thrones, House of Cards or Better Call Saul addict? With technology playing such a big part in our lives now, we have begun to want much more control over the TV, film and music that we have access to – and more of these programmes and “box sets” are being released online first. This has led to a soar in monthly entertainment subscriptions, such as Netflix, Nowtv and Amazon Instant Video/Amazon Prime and music streaming such as Spotify, as well as online stores such as iTunes and Blinkbox. But how much do people spend on these entertainment services every month?
Research* carried out on our behalf found that three quarters of us are watching TV and movies online nowadays and, of those, over half of us are paying £5 a month or more to do so. In fact, over a third say they are paying more than £120 a year to watch TV and movies online and 1 in 7 of us is paying £240 and up annually to do so.
Use it or lose it
If you have a few entertainment subscriptions or services that you pay for every month, then it’s important to think about how many of them you’re actually using and whether you’re getting your money’s worth.
Popular services like Netflix cost around £5.99 a month, which may not seem like a large amount when it comes out of your bank account, but annually this adds up to £71.88. Throw on the odd pay-per-view box set or film that you buy or rent for a wet Saturday afternoon in, not to mention the music you buy on iTunes or subscribe to on Spotify, and you may have accumulated yourself quite a hefty annual cost. Remember, you’ve probably had to get yourself a superfast broadband connection to stream the programmes too – which is an extra cost on top. And if you already pay for cable or satellite TV, that’s another monthly subscription as well. It can really add up.
If you want to keep some of these services, but want to reduce how much you spend every month, then it may be worth seeing where you can make cutbacks. Make an honest assessment of how much you actually watch or listen to the services. You might be better off buying or renting content as one-offs, rather than paying monthly subscriptions, for example. Or, instead of buying a pay per view sports game to watch yourself, you could go round to a friend’s house and split the cost.
When browsing subscriptions, if you do your research you can try to get as much out of a subscription deal as possible. For example for £79 a year (which works out to be around £6.60 a month), Amazon Prime also gets you access to a lot of content on Amazon Instant Video, but also offers free unlimited photo storage on the cloud and unlimited one day delivery when you shop with them. This may not sound like a lot, but if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, this will save you a substantial amount on delivery charges a year.
When budgeting for the month, make sure that you take into account the amount of money that you spend on subscription and entertainment services. If you find that your income isn’t stretching far enough, then luxuries like these should be the first to go.
*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 19th December and 30th December 2014, of whom 635 were in Scotland.