O is for Owning your Own or Streaming?

O is for Owning your Own or Streaming?

Digital technology has come a long way in creating enjoyable and convenient outlets for our favorite media over the years. Streaming services are popular and convenient. From music to movies, everything we desire is at our fingertips. But what happened to all of your CDs and DVDs? Or perhaps your vinyl collection, or even your bookshelf? Is streaming everything better than owning it?

This, of course, depends on who you ask. People still buy books, albums, and movies. But definitely not at the same rate as they once did. Streaming services have appeared to replace buying CDs, having cable, and renting movies. If anything, streaming services have seemed to only enhance our lives. Watching commercial-less TV shows any time we want is great. Listening to any song we desire on-demand is even better. 

But is it cheaper to stream than to own?

The benefits of streaming are almost endless for the consumer. The vastness of variety paired with its availability is a testament to why this is the most popular form of media these days. But paying for streaming services can get pricey once they all add up. And at the end of the day, you are paying for something intangible. You don’t own any of the media you are consuming.

There are a few exceptions to this. Movies, TV, and music purchased on Amazon Prime are yours to keep and use at your leisure. In addition, Spotify Premium lets you download songs to offline mode to listen to without the internet. 

Buying your own media outright can seem cheaper in the long run, and streaming unlimited media of all types whenever you want may also seem reasonable. For example, when you are buying a movie or album, it may cost $10-12, the cost of a monthly streaming service. In addition, even if you are buying digitally, the copy is yours to keep forever—a perk not found in streaming services. But on the other hand, you are buying one thing versus having millions of items at your fingertips.

So, you see, there is an argument for both methods being financially beneficial. If you don’t mind not owning anything outright, streaming services at $10-12 per month can definitely be cheaper due to the volume of things you can stream. But be careful. Having too many streaming services can be costly over time. If you are a fan of owning something rather than streaming them, holding a single movie or CD can cost less upfront, and you get to enjoy it whenever you’d like, with or without the internet. 

Looking into what fits your lifestyle and budget best is the way to go. And knowing that there are pros and cons to streaming versus owning on both sides can help you make a sound financial decision. Having a little bit of both, depending on what is most important to you, maybe the best decision you make!

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