Quitting Subscriptions to Netflix, Uber Eats and More? Try These Free Options Instead
Giving up some apps to save money? These free alternatives may help fill the gap.
Updated Feb. 22, 2024 7:00 p.m. PT
Alison DeNisco Rayome
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Alison DeNisco RayomeManaging Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
ExpertiseHome Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacksCredentials
National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
Kourtnee covers TV streaming services and home entertainment news and reviews at CNET. She previously worked as an entertainment reporter at Showbiz Cheat Sheet where she wrote about film, television, music, celebrities, and streaming platforms.
ExpertiseKourtnee is a longtime cord-cutter who's subscribed to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Crunchyroll, Sling, Spotify and more. As a real-life user of these services, she tracks the latest developments in streaming, the newest reCredentials
Though Kourtnee hasn't won any journalism awards yet, she's been a Netflix streaming subscriber since 2012 and knows the magic of its hidden codes.
Whether its the cost of household staples going up, or the fact that you have a bunch of subscriptions you're not using, cancelling subscriptions may be a good way to save some dollars. If your subscriptions for streaming, groceries and other services are on the chopping block, you may need replacements. And what's better than f-r-e-e?
The good thing is, many of the services you're paying for -- including Hulu, Apple Music, Grubhub and DoorDash -- can be swapped for free alternatives. You might not get the exact same experience, but you can often get pretty close. And it might be worth trying if it allows you to stretch your budget further.
There's one downside, though -- many of these free services are ad-supported, which is how they're able to stay free. They also won't let you download content to watch or listen to them offline. But some have deals and decent free trials that you can take advantage of now.
Here's how to replace many of the services you pay for with the best free subscription services we've found.
Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service that offers movies and some TV shows, including original content. You can find a variety of movies including Train to Busan, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In terms of TV, you'll find more than 100 different shows, including a lot of classics such as Highway to Heaven, Alf and Benson. But not every series has all seasons available.
You can stream on Crackle without signing up for an account, and can watch on virtually any device, with apps for all mobile platforms, game consoles and any major streaming device. If you do create an account, you can save favorites, get recommendations and resume playback if you switch between devices.
One big caveat here: Much of the programming on Pluto isn't the same live TV channels you'll find on pay cable or satellite, even if the channels have the same names. So, while news junkies will find live programming from CBSN, NBC News Now and Bloomberg TV, Pluto's versions of MTV, AMC and CNN are time-shifted or alternate programming from those providers.
Ultimately, none of that matters, because you're still getting a wealth of streaming video that's truly free (it's ad-supported, of course). There are more than 250 channels, including dedicated stations for CSI, Hallmark movies, Classic Doctor Who and The Walking Dead. And because there are literally dozens of in-progress streams to toggle through in real-time, Pluto offers the best analog to flipping through the myriad channels on a traditional cable system (or paid streaming alternative, like Hulu). You can also browse channels by categories like news, sports, comedy and movies, and find on-demand TV content, though it's mostly crime and reality shows.
Nike Training Club is a free app for iOS and Android with more than 180 home workouts and programs to help you set a workout schedule. You can filter routines based on what equipment you have at home, and find bodyweight-only exercises, yoga and training programs.
MasterClass offers thousands of online lessons taught by veritable masters in their fields -- we're talking Gordon Ramsey on cooking, Ken Burns on documentary making and Helen Mirren on acting. While an annual membership costs $180, you can find a series of free courses called MasterClass Live available now. These include a session on building suspenseful thrillers with Dan Brown, gymnastics fundamentals and mindset training from Simone Biles and beauty tips from industry mogul Bobbi Brown.