We all have that subscription service that slowly drains our bank account month by month.. I’m not here to say you should stop using Netflix or other things you enjoy. I’m not even here to tell you that you should change your lifestyle in any way. I’ve simply written this post to help you keep track of the services you use and maybe cut out some you don’t fully utilize. Here are three easy steps to clean up your subscriptions..
Keep Track of All Your Subscriptions
This might seem obvious, but that doesn’t change how important it is. You can use services like mint.com if you want to easily hunt down all the recurring fees and payments you’ve accrued over the years (in addition to other areas in which you may be wasting money). Mint has a lot of other great uses for budgeting as well, check out our podcast and blog!
One easy way to keep most subscriptions straight is to purchase those services through iTunes or the Google Play Store. You’re able to see all the services you’re paying for in one convenient place. I have Netflix, Apple Music, and several other subscriptions through iTunes, and it’s been extremely helpful for keeping them all straight.
There are a ton of other program options out there if you’re looking for something a little different. If you want to browse through several different software options that will help you get organized, click here. There’s no “right” way to keep track of everything as long as you do.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Want
There’s always that sneaky free trial you forgot to cancel (I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime). But sometimes there are less obvious services that may be quietly draining your money. Maybe 1 book a month on Audible is a little too much for you and you need some time to catch up. You can simply pause an Audible subscription for three months and use up some of those credits. If you’re not really getting the most out of a subscription service it may be cheaper to simply purchase the provided goods outright. It’s important not to fall for the discount trick. A discount is not inherently worth money because it requires you to spend money you might not otherwise spend. One example that comes to mind is the coupon book from the tv series The Office (American version obviously). Oscar becomes extremely irritated with his coworkers for claiming a coupon book is worth a certain amount of money, when in reality they’d have to spend thousands of dollars in order to take full advantage of those discounts. The same concept applies to recurring payments. A subscription may save you money if you use the service or products frequently. If you don’t utilize them enough to justify the price, you’re simply wasting money. Reference the diagram below to aid in your decision making process:
You need to find the subscriptions that allow you to spend money on what you actually want. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Depending on your individual tendencies and preferences, some services may be better for you than others. Although video streaming is one of the more common subscriptions held by people today, there are many other types as well. If you don’t want to give up audiobooks, but feel that Audible is costing you too much, get a library card. In the case of subscription boxes (Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox, etc.), it’s probably just better to steer clear. It may seem like you’re saving money, but in most cases it is cheaper to simply buy the products you need when you actually need them. In the instance of Dollar Shave Club, you’ll probably find yourself replacing blades more often than you normally would if you just bought them when needed. If that’s the case, are you really saving money? Some subscription boxes might be worth it to you, however. Maybe you shave like a madman and Dollar Shave Club is a good deal for you. Or maybe you love the thrill of getting a Loot Crate in the mail every month. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to have a clear idea what you’re paying for and what it’s worth. For some, the convenience of certain services makes it worth the price. And that’s fine. You’re not wasting your money if you’re spending it on something important to you.. However, if your finances are tight because you’re paying for services you don’t utilize enough, maybe it’s time to cut down on them.