Scrutinising your bank statement and looking for opportunities to cut costs can be a particularly torturous game of “Would you rather”. You’ve already stripped your spending back as far as is reasonable and the only luxuries you regularly spend on are little ones that aren’t even proper luxuries when you think about it (let’s call them essential luxuries). Must you really lose these too to squeeze your income that little bit harder? Thankfully, there is a way you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can cut the cost of many of the subscriptions we consider essential luxuries by sharing them with friends and family. And we don’t mean slyly sharing passwords to avoid paying for yourself – this is all completely above board!
Netflix have said it themselves – sharing your account with friends and family is a good thing in their books. When you sign up to Netflix, there are three tiers to choose from – basic, standard, and premium. You might think the basic package is the most cost effective, but you can only watch on one screen at a time with this package and if you’re sharing your account, this can suddenly become quite an inconvenience when you fancy a Gossip Girl marathon but someone else is bingeing on Planet Earth. With the standard and premium packages, you can watch on more than one screen at once – two at a time with the standard package, and four at once on the premium tier. Problem solved!
Rather than each paying £5.99 for a basic subscription, you could club together with three friends to pay for a premium subscription between you, costing just £2.25 per person, per month! We know which one we’d go for. If you already subscribe to Netflix, you can change or cancel your contract to do this whenever you like, as there are no minimum contract terms.
Worried that sharing your account will ruin your recommendations, or worse, your reputation? There’s no need! You can create up to five individual profiles, each with their own unique recommendations and other personalised settings, within a single Netflix account. This means if you’re a parent creating a profile for your children, you can set parental controls that won’t affect your own viewing. And, if you do find yourself with Peppa Pig in your recommended viewing after somebody used your profile to binge-watch Dora The Explorer, you can delete the offending show from your viewing history and set the world to rights!
You’ve already upgraded to Premium so that you can download playlists while you’re connected to Wifi and save your mobile data for more important things like Instagramming on the go, not to mention being able to listen ad-free. But did you know that you can save at least £2.50 per person, per month by turning that Premium account into a Premium for family subscription? For £14.99 a month, you can share an account with up to five other people (so six of you in total). That’s a potential saving of £7.50 per person vs each of you paying for your own account! The only catch is that you all have to live at the same address to take advantage of this incredibly generous offer.
To set it up, simply log in to your Spotify account on desktop – you can’t do this on mobile – and click on “Premium for Family” then follow the steps to set it up. Then, by going back to your account, you can add accounts to your “family” from there.
Amazon Prime is definitely good value for money, but can be hard to justify spending on as an individual. As well as one-day delivery on hundreds of thousands of items, the £79 a year subscription grants you access to Prime Video (a Netflix equivalent with thousands of movies and TV shows available to stream), and the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.
Even better, by setting up an “Amazon Family”, you can share all of this with one other adult, so the subscription essentially costs £39.50 a year each instead of £79. You won’t have to share individual accounts, so your order history will stay private, but you can share digital content you’ve downloaded or purchased, like Kindle books, games and apps by creating a family library. You can even set up parental controls for children who use your devices, and personalise it by child.
To set up a household with a second adult, you’ll both need to be present and have your Amazon account login details handy. The payment methods you have registered to the account will also be shared, so think carefully about who you can trust with this immense power! Adding a child is much easier as they’re unlikely to have their own Amazon account already – simply enter their name, date of birth and gender, then assign them an icon, and you’re good to go.
A bit of a combination of Netflix, Spotify Family and Amazon Household, Apple do their own version called “Family Sharing” on iCloud for all Apple devices – so that’s your iPhones, iPods, iPads, and so on.
Family Sharing allows you to share everything you purchase on iTunes, iBooks and the App Store, as well as an Apple Music subscription, with up to 5 other people – six of you in total. An Apple Music family membership costs the same as a Spotify Premium for families subscription, so as little as £2.49 per person per month, and each purchase you make will be better value for money for being shared, too.
The only catch with Family Sharing is that all purchases made by any family member have to go through the same payment method. You can switch on a feature that pushes a request to you, as the organiser and head of the family, to authorise the purchase before it goes through, though, so no nasty surprise bills! This feature is especially handy if you have children in your family group, as they may try to buy things without realising they actually cost something. We’ve all heard the horror stories!
Mobile Phone Contracts
OK, so technically not a subscription, but a regular outgoing that you can share to save money nonetheless. O2 and EE offer “Sharer plans” to allow you to split your data allowance between devices without necessarily having to start a new contract yourself. When you look at plans, the cost of data becomes better value for money as you get more of it – for example, on O2 at the moment you can get a contract with 1GB of data for £26 a month, or with 6GB for £29! If you only needed one £29 tariff between four of you, just imagine the savings!
In addition to sharer plans, O2 also offer family plans where you can get a discount on airtime and data tariffs the more “connections” you add to your contract. So, the more of your family you get onto your network, the cheaper their contracts become, and you can average the cost out between you to all enjoy the savings!
While not quite such a great saver, some networks will also give you free minutes when you’re calling the same network. That we’ve seen, Vodafone and Three both offer this. However, if you’re one of those who can spend hours on the phone to their best mate or their Mum, being on the same network and having a load of free minutes to play with could stop you from burning through your other allowances too quickly!
Are there any other subscriptions that you can share out there that we don’t know about? Do you share any of these? Let us know in the comments!