Americans Are Cutting Back on Groceries More Than Streaming Services to Save Money

A mother, father and two daughters sit on their living room couch and share popcorn while watching a movie.

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Talk about an interesting set of priorities.


Important points

  • Consumers are changing their spending habits due to inflation.
  • When it comes to cuts, Americans seem more willing to sacrifice the food they put on the table than the content they watch.

There’s a reason consumers are willing to pay good money to access different types of streaming content. Given how stressful life can be, television and movies can serve as a nice escape. And there’s nothing quite like catching up on a new series when you’re stuck at home due to inclement weather or your weekend plans get messed up.

But there might come a point when it’s time to restrict streaming services. And that time could be now.

Inflation has been driving up the cost of living for over a year. And as of mid-2021, many consumers have had no choice but to draw on their savings and rack up debt on their credit cards to keep up with their bills.

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If you’re in this boat, it might be time to ditch nonessential bills like streaming services. But if you don’t want to give them up, you’re definitely in good company.

Americans don’t want to part with streaming services

A recent report by the National Research Group found that Americans have changed their spending habits to deal with inflation. But they did it in a pretty interesting way.

While 44% of consumers have cut back on groceries to save money over the past six months, just 18% have made cuts on streaming services. At first glance, this may seem like a classic case of misplaced priorities. But actually, it speaks to the need to clear our heads and escape the grim reality that life can sometimes be.

Should You Restrict Streaming Services?

Depends on. If you’re doing well financially, you can probably keep your streaming services if they still offer you good value for your money. But if money’s been tight and you’re struggling to pay your bills, then maybe it’s time to cut back in that area.

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If you have multiple streaming services, think about your usage. If there’s a service that you use more than others, sticking with it is a no-brainer.

You might also have access to some streaming content as part of a larger deal – for example, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get Prime Instant Video content at no extra cost. So if you’re effectively getting this service for free (meaning you consider Prime an essential expense and the streaming part doesn’t cost you extra), you should try to make better use of this content and snag another service for a longer period of time.

Of course, if you really want to keep all your streaming services and spend less on groceries (or can cut spending in another spending category), then so be it. The key is to free up cash as painlessly as possible when you’ve gotten to a point where you can’t keep up with your bills.

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Some people might be in a hurry to cancel a streaming service before having to skimp on items at the grocery store. But if you disagree, there’s nothing wrong with dealing with inflation in whatever way you think works best for you.

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