Netflix and bills - cut the cost of your night in

Spring may still seem a long way away. But the good news is - the cold and rainy nights are the perfect time to binge-watch a box set in your PJs!

You have more options than ever for streaming film and TV series – and that’s before Disney+ launches in the UK at the end of March. In today’s post we’re going to look at how to get the best deal on TV streaming services. We’ve also got a few more tips on how to have the best night in for the best price.

Try before you buy

Many streaming services will let you try them out for a free initial trial period. This is usually one month. It’s a good idea to make use of this before signing up. That way you can get an idea of how often you’re realistically likely to watch, whether your internet connection and your broadband data allowance can cope, and whether it’s worth paying for. (This is a good time to check you’ve got the best broadband deal. Check out the tips we shared in last month’s newsletter.)

Choose a streaming service - if you need one

If you do decide you need to sign up to a streaming service, don’t pay for more than you need. Here are some things to think about:

  • How often are you likely to use it? If you’re only planning on the occasional movie night, you might get better value by paying per view.
  • Which service shows the most programmes or movies you’re keen to see? If it’s just one or two specific programmes you’d like to watch, would you be better off simply buying them online and legally downloading the episodes or series you want to watch? For instance, you can download some individual episodes, seasons and movies from Amazon without signing up for Amazon Prime. If you're tempted by BritBox, don't forget to check whether the shows you're after are on iPlayer or ITV Hub, at least for the time being.
  • Most importantly: what’s your budget? Think about whether the streaming service you can afford is worth it bearing the above in mind. For example, Apple TV+ is currently one of the most affordable subscription services - but if you don't fancy any of the programmes they have available, you could end up paying more 'per watch' than you would for a more expensive service with a wider selection, like Netflix or Now TV.

Keeping these things in mind, take a look at this roundup of the best TV and film streaming services.

Look for discounts online

Many streaming services offer gift cards. You can sometimes find these online for cheaper than the normal retail price. Have a look on eBay! If you can’t find a discount gift card it may still be worth buying one at full price via a cashback site, like Topcashback or Quidco.

You can also save on gift cards to Google Play and the Sky Store via GP Online. And speaking of which…

Stock up on snacks

On GP Online you can also find discount vouchers for supermarkets including ASDA, Morrisons and Tesco. It’s the perfect excuse to load up on comfort food.

Keep warm for less

You could be missing out on huge savings if you stick with your default energy tariff and don’t shop around. Visit comparison websites such as MoneySupermarket, uSwitch or Energyhelpline to find out how to switch.

Even if you don’t switch, don’t be afraid to haggle for a better deal.

If you’re eligible for Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments or the Warm Home Discount, they could make a huge difference to your winter finances. But almost half of low-income households don’t claim the help they’re entitled to. We’ve worked with EntitledTo to create a free, easy-to-use benefits calculator to help you check if you could get additional help.

The calculator tailors results for you. Just fill in a few details about your circumstances: your income, who lives with you, the local authority area you live in and how much you spend on rent or your mortgage. It’s quick, simple and worth it.

If you or someone you know is really struggling, there is extra help available for people forced to choose between heating and eating. Contact Simple Energy Advice in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or Home Energy Scotland.

Staying in doesn’t have to mean missing out - we hope you enjoy some cosy evenings on the sofa between now and the end of winter. But if you’d rather have a night out, don’t forget you can find discounts on restaurants and cinema tickets at GP Online!

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