These days, there seems to be a subscription service for just about everything. From streaming services to monthly subscription boxes filled with anything you could ever need or want, there’s something for everybody. These subscriptions can make great gifts, provide entertainment, or allow people to try out new products they may be interested in. It’s not hard to be lured in by them: They come at low prices with the promise of fun. But since these services bill you automatically every month, it’s easy not to notice those small charges or bank withdrawals on your statement. These subscription fees can add up fast and could actually be eating a hole in your budget or even result in needing to take out a personal loan down the road. But are you actually using all of them? Take a careful look at what you’re buying and you might be able to save a lot of money.
Review What You’re Paying for Regularly
Did you know that most companies that offer a monthly subscription service will continue to automatically charge you even if you aren’t using those services? Since the money is billed automatically, it can be easy to miss the recurring payments, and you might be surprised by how much you’re spending every month on things you don’t even use.
The best way to make sure that you aren’t overspending on streaming services and subscription boxes is to take time every month to review your subscriptions. Go through your bank or credit card statement line by line to see everything you’re being billed for. You can also check with your bank to see if it’s possible to get every payment made online emailed or texted to you so you can see whenever money comes out of your account for a subscription service.
Your can also manage your subscriptions to apps using your phone. In the Apple App Store or Google Play, you’ll find an area where you can look at your subscriptions to see which apps are billing you every month. It’s an easy way to see which apps are taking your money without you even noticing! Cancel the ones you don’t use with a few taps and you’ll be able to stop wasting money.
Re-Evaluate Your Streaming Subscriptions
Some of your subscription services might seem necessary. For instance, you may not want to give up Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Hulu if you’re using them regularly to keep up with your favorite shows. But not every subscription service offers that level of necessity. Once you’ve taken the time to go through and review your subscriptions and picked out the ones you may have forgotten about, the next step is to evaluate what’s left. Ask yourself how much of a value these subscriptions offer and if they’re really worth it. If not, cancel them!
When it comes to streaming services, keep in mind that many of them allow multiple users on each account. While you may not want to get rid of your subscriptions completely, you can always team up with friends or family and all pitch in a certain amount to pay for a shared account, or each friend could pay for a different streaming service and add each other on their accounts. That way, everybody is saving money while still enjoying the shows that everybody is talking about.
Tips to Save Money on Monthly Subscriptions
Subscription boxes deserve a particularly close look here. If you’re getting a monthly craft kit for your kids that they use and learn from, that’s fine, but do you really need all of those snacks from foreign countries, pop-culture trinkets, or those beauty products? Are you really using everything or almost everything that comes in each box? If you and a friend both get beauty boxes and trade whatever you don’t want, maybe it’s worth it, but if you’re only using one or two things from each shipment, that’s worth a hard look.
Fun subscription boxes can provide value for your money depending on what it is you like and what you usually spend your money on, but it’s important to think carefully and consider ways that you might be able to spend less.
The most important thing to remember is that you can usually pause your subscriptions when you aren’t using them. If you need a break every once in a while, many services will let you pause an order before it’s sent out so you don’t get billed for something you know you won’t use. This is a good idea when you know you’ll want to use those products again, but you’re not going to need them right now.
Certain subscription services also have a custom code that you can send to your friends to refer them to the service. When they sign up, you’ll get some sort of perk, like a discount or a free month on your subscription. If it’s a subscription box you use often and enjoy, a couple of dollars back can be a great way to save a little bit of money on something you aren’t willing to cancel.
Some services, especially clothing subscription boxes, allow you to send back unwanted items. These boxes will only charge you for the items you keep, so you’ll actually save money by returning the things you don’t want. This benefits you as a user because you keep only the items you deem necessary and you’ll save money and space in your home.
If you’ve signed up for a grooming subscription box, it could be a good idea to only get one or two boxes so you can test out the products you receive. Not every product will work for your skin, and often, even if you do enjoy the products, boxes like these come more often than you’ll need. Edit the length and frequency of your subscription so you don’t spend more than you have to.
Some subscription boxes will also allow you to buy a single box without signing up for a full subscription. This is a great option if you’re not sure how much you’ll like a box or how often you’ll use it. If it turns out that your child hates that science kit or your dog has no interest in any of those toys, you know that a full subscription won’t be worthwhile.
The important thing is to decide what you find important and allocate your money to get more of the things you want and less of the stuff you don’t want.
With these money-saving tips, you can make subscription services work for you and your budget, which can help to keep your finances in order.