Plus one thing you should NEVER do
Netflix is both a pioneer and current world leader when it comes to internet streaming services. With fantastic original content, great streaming technology and true global reach it’s no wonder almost everyone wants a piece of the action.
Netflix is also very reasonable when it comes to their asking prices, especially when compared to traditional cable TV. Understandably however, many people are looking to save a little money on their entertainment. The good news is that there are ways to watch Netflix for free or for a reduced price.
1. The Obvious One: Choose a Cheaper Tier
Netflix offers different tiers of its service with different pros and cons. These tiers vary from one country to the next, but in the USA there are three options: Basic, Standard & Premium.
The most basic option only costs $8.99 and lets you watch shows on a single screen at a time only. You can also only watch shows in standard definition. That sounds like a bad deal, but if you mainly watch Netflix on a small phone screen and only want it for yourself, it’s a $5 saving.
The same applies to Premium. At $17.99 it’s the most expensive option with the main advantages being 4K content support and four screens active at once. However, if you don’t have a 4K TV, aren’t interested in the 4K content currently available or have slow internet, you might as well go for a lower option. That is unless you absolutely need 4-screen support.
Netflix is diversifying its tiers from one country to the next, so be sure to check if they have specialized offers wherever you live.
2. Watch Everything You Want With the Free Trial (Outside the USA)
In some countries (although currently not in the USA) Netflix offers free trials for up to a month. While you will need a credit card to sign up, you can simply cancel a few days before the trial ends and not pay a cent. If you’re lucky, Netflix may even offer you a second free trial a month or so after cancelling.
Some people have had luck using different email addresses and payment methods to use successive trials. However, that’s clearly an abuse of the offering, not to mention quite a hassle to manage.
3. The Risky Method: Account Sharing
This shouldn’t be a problem for families. For example, parents sharing an account with their college kids or grandparents. We don’t know how much Netflix will tighten the noose in future, but if the primary account holder is OK with being bugged for verification it’s still a viable way to do things at the time of writing, although it’s entirely at your own risk.
4. Look for Third-Party Netflix Offers
Netflix often partners with other companies to offer their streaming service as part of a bundle. This can be a deal struck with an internet service provider, a cable company, a cell phone provider or anyone really.
If you’re in the market for one of those other products anyway, it may be worth picking the one that also comes with Netflix as part of the package. Just be sure to read the fine print carefully to make sure it’s actually a good deal.
T-Mobile has a Netflix on Us feature that will cover the cost of a basic Netflix subscription if you have a certain number of lines.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Promo Codes
It’s a good idea to always open your favorite search engine and do some research on any Netflix promotions that may be happening in your country. This may include vouchers for free time or a discount on fees.
All you have to do is go to the Netflix promotional page and enter the code. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll have to create one.
6. Netflix Gift Card Deals
In some territories you can buy Netflix gift cards at physical stores or order them from online retailers. Every now and then you can pick up these cards for less than their face value. Whether it’s because retailers want to clear out their stock or because it’s a promotion related to something else.
Just as with other online services such as PlayStation Plus or Xbox Game Pass, physical gift cards can have their own price fluctuations. Just remember that the gift card must match the currency of the account, you can’t use a card denominated in US dollars with a South African Netflix account, for example.
7. Subscribe Every Other Month
One practical way to save half of your Netflix fees is to only subscribe for 6 months out of the year. Yes, it might sound crazy, but plenty of people have an issue with the cost of streaming services because they want to subscribe to all of them. So, for example, you might subscribe to Netflix for a month and watch everything you most want to during that time. The next month you’d switch to Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, HBO Max or whichever service strikes your fancy. Then you’ll switch back to Netflix for the next round of on-demand bingeing.
Right now, it’s a little bit of a hassle, but Netflix is testing a “pause subscription” feature that will let you pause your account for up to 10 months. Incidentally, even if you do cancel, it’s essentially the same process. Your personal account information is kept for 10 months and you can restart your subscription any time during that window. Your watch history and ratings will be waiting as if you never left.
What You Should NOT Do
None of the money saving methods discussed above are illegal and although account sharing is against the Netflix terms of service, the measures they’ve put in place don’t prevent close family members who live apart to share an account. It’s up to Netflix if they want to crack down on kids or grandparents sharing a screen or two from a family account.
What you definitely shouldn’t do is share credentials with strangers. There are people who’ll sell their unused Netflix screens online to save some money to anyone, and that’s a bad idea. If nothing else, it’s a big security risk since your personal information is in your account. Not to mention that strangers might mess up your Netflix profile, unless you go through the additional hassle of setting a parental control pin on yours.
You should also never buy hacked Netflix accounts, which are sometimes sold by hackers. These are the proceeds of crime and you might end up as a victim of scamming as well. As long as you avoid these dodgy Netflix saving methods, you’ll be free to pinch your pennies using one of the other legal ways mentioned above.