Unlike many of my office friends, I’m not obsessed with “Vampire Diaries” — and the last time I watched “Grey’s Anatomy” was in high school. (It was a great mother/daughter Sunday ritual, and thankfully only got a little weird during sexy scenes.)
But if you’ve been keeping up with the Seattle Grace — excuse me, Grey Sloan Memorial — crew, you may have undergone a recent blow.
After giving us nine long years of happy, wallet-free watching, Hulu is ending its free streaming services.
From now on, users will have to pay $7.99 a month — or more, if they want to ditch commercial interruptions.
Unless, of course, you know this trick.
You Can Get Hulu for Free — Even Though It Put Up A Paywall
That’s because brilliant contributor Douglas Clinton was able to find a way to hack the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards Card’s reward system. (And no, it’s not paying us to tell you this — we just found a way to use its terms to score a great deal!)
As it turns out, you can use the very same steps for your Hulu account. In fact, if you choose the $7.99 “limited commercials” option, you’ll even get some free money out of it.
You’ll want to see the original article for full details, but here’s the short version:
1. Open a Bank of America checking or savings account. Make sure to set up direct deposit or keep a balance of at least $1,500 in your account to avoid the $12 monthly maintenance fee.
2. Sign up for the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards Card.
3. Update your Hulu payment information to charge your Better Balance Rewards Card.
4. Pay the card off in full each month to reap a $25 reward at the end of each quarter.
5. Set up the reward to deposit directly into your Bank of America checking or savings account to get an extra $5 reward.
That’s $30 in free cash back every three months — all for developing the good behavior of paying your credit card balance all the way down.
And since that three months of Hulu will only have cost you $23.97, you’ll have gotten it all for free.
In fact, you’ll have earned $6.03, which will cover about two lattes or half a bottle of decent wine. Talk about a win-win.
Hulu or Netflix?
Obviously, if you use this hack for your Hulu account, you can’t use it for free Netflix, too.
And if you choose to forego any commercial breaks in your Hulu experience, this hack won’t quite cover your “Say Yes to the Dress”-related expenses… although you’ll only be on the hook for $5.97.
So how do you choose which service to accompany your nightly “chill” sesh?
If you want your experience to be totally free, you’ll still have to deal with some commercial breaks from Hulu — not so with Netflix.
But if you like your TV in real-time, Hulu might be a better option. Netflix notoriously doesn’t get its hands on shows until they’re well past their air dates.
Then again, both platforms also produce their own original content. So if you just can’t miss an episode of “Orange is the New Black” or “Casual,” that might make the decision easier for you.
No matter what you choose, the steps above will make your streaming habit free or nearly free — so you can feel a little less guilty about your next binge.
Your Turn: How excited are you to keep watching Grey’s Anatomy for free?
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.