Even though subscription services tend to be priced reasonably when you look at them individually, they can quickly add up and overwhelm your household budget if you take on too many of them. As such, any method that can save a few bucks is worth pursuing.
That’s where account sharing comes into play. Think of it like purchasing in bulk — instead of you, your friends, and your family members subscribing with personal accounts, some services provide a “combined” account that can house multiple accounts at a discount.
Here are several that we found to have a notable price drop.
In May 2016, Spotify rebranded its Family Plan with a new structure and a new name: Premium for Family. And wow, what an incredible change it was.
The old Family Plan was simple: one main account holder paid the standard rate of $10 per month for Premium, and could add additional Premium accounts at a 50% discount. So a family of six would pay $10 + $5 + $5 + $5 + $5 + $5 = $35 per month instead of $60 per month.
The new Premium for Family plan is even simpler: for a flat rate of $15 per month, one main account holder can add up to 5 other accounts that all get the benefits of Premium. A family of six is now paying $20 less per month than before!
With six people, each person now only needs to pay $2.50 per month. So instead of gifting Spotify to your sister, you might as well just invite her to your family account and have her pay you a few bucks per month instead.
Google Play Music has come a long way since it debuted back in 2011. What originally started as a glorified music locker has turned into an excellent way to stream music and listen to online radio. It’s one of the best music apps on Android, for sure.
The good news is that Play Music has a nearly identical family plan to the one offered by Spotify: $15 per month for up to six people. Each person can stream music whenever they want and each person can install Play Music on up to 10 devices.
And while its not yet available as of this writing, Google will also introduce a Family Library feature that lets the six family members share purchased apps between each other.
One thing to note is that this offer isn’t compatible if you get Google Play Music as part of YouTube Red. YouTube Red is an incredible deal if you only need Play Music for yourself, but this family plan is better if you want to share the love.
3. Apple Music
Between Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music, there’s one thing that Apple Music truly excels at: its massive library of artists and exclusive content. That’s one reason why so many prefer it as their main music streaming option.
And, no surprise, Apple Music also offers the same exact family plan: $15 per month for up to six people to enjoy unlimited access to its unbeatable selection of music.
And while Google Play Music’s Family Library feature is yet to arrive, Apple Music has long had a Family Sharing feature through iCloud. It’s not only for music, either: anything purchased by anyone on any device is available to everyone else.
4. Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is one of the best subscription deals you can get right now. Not only do you get free two-day shipping on most items, but you also get a whole host of amazing benefits that are too numerous to list here.
What a lot of people don’t know is that you can share certain Amazon Prime benefits with one other adult, including these notable ones:
- Free two-day shipping
- Prime Video streaming
- Prime Photos online storage
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
Instead of paying for two Prime accounts, you can drop one and cut your expenses right in half. This is called the Amazon Family Library feature and there’s more to it than what we mentioned here, so we encourage you to look into it and take advantage if you can.
Netflix may not have an actual plan that’s dedicated to family sharing, but regular accounts support the ability to stream on multiple devices at once and to create different viewing profiles so different users don’t overlap.
It’s almost like it was meant to be shared.
A Basic account costs $8 per month but doesn’t have HD quality and can only play on one device at a time, so don’t get that one. The Standard account is $10 per month and has HD quality on up to 2 devices, whereas the Premium account is $12 per month for up 4 devices.
6. Office 365
If you’re thinking of upgrading to Microsoft’s latest office suite, do not get Office 2016! You’ll get much more out of switching to an Office 365 subscription instead, including regular updates, cloud storage, and free Skype credits.
A Personal subscription costs $7 per month, supports one desktop, one tablet, one smartphone, and comes with 1 TB of storage. A Home subscription costs $10 per month, supports five desktops, five tablets, five smartphones, and comes with 1 TB of storage per user!
Five separate people with Personal accounts would end up paying a total of $35 per month, whereas a shared Home account would only cost each person $2 per month. That’s quite significant — and worth it, because OneDrive is actually really good for cloud storage.
If you aren’t already, you need to learn and practice good backup habits — and don’t just move things onto an external drive! You need at least two, preferably three, different copies to really stay safe.
This can be a huge pain in the neck to manage, of course, which is why you should look into getting a CrashPlan account.
CrashPlan continuously keeps all of your most important images, videos, music, documents, and other files backed up and protected in case disaster strikes. It can be configured to work with local backups, external backups, cloud backups, or all three.
The Individual plan costs $6 per month for access to all of its features but only works on one computer while the Family plan costs $14 per month and works on up to 10 computers. That’s $1.40 per computer — a significant savings.
We’ve been singing the praises of BitDefender for many years now, and its latest security suite is still one of the best antivirus solutions available. Unfortunately, it can be a bit expensive, too.
Total Security 2016 costs $90 to cover five devices between Windows, Mac, and Android for one year (or $100 to cover ten devices). On the other hand, the Family Pack costs $120 to cover an unlimited number of devices for one year.
How many devices exist in the average four-person household? Between computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, it’s pretty commonplace to have over 10 devices, let alone five. If you need full antivirus coverage, this one makes a lot of sense.
Family phone plans are more economical than having multiple individual phone plans. You could also go the way of VoIP calls to save even more money, but that isn’t always practical.
But what about insurance? In the past we’ve looked at cheap smartphone insurance plans that could be well worth it if you tend to lose or break your devices, but even the cheap ones can be expensive if you need to insure an entire family.
It won’t exactly be cheap, but you can save a good chunk of money by using the Family Plan at SquareTrade.
The Individual plan costs $90 per year per smartphone (or $75 per year per smartphone if you buy two years at once) while the Family plan costs $80 per year per smartphone (or $70 per year per smartphone if you buy two years at once) for up to six devices.
Which Subscriptions Do You Share?
Obviously it’s possible to share any and all subscriptions just by dividing up the costs, so we tried focusing only on services that allow individual profiles or accounts between the sharers. That’s why we didn’t cover things like box subscriptions.
Hopefully you found a few of these plans useful though. If you managed to save some money through this post, let us know!
Otherwise, if you know of any other subscription services that allow for sharing costs between multiple accounts, please share them with us in the comments below. Thanks!
Image Credit: computer technology by hand idea via Shutterstock