Man watching netflix

If you’re trying to cut down on your spending, looking at your subscriptions could be a good place to start. They often leave your account without you even noticing, then suddenly it’s the end of the month and you’re left wondering where all your money went. Cancelling unused memberships could save you hundreds over the course of a year and keep your finances under your control.

As a bonus, many companies offer retention offers when you try to cancel, so you might be able to keep your subscription at a lower price. While this is great, don’t get sucked into keeping it if you don’t actually need it.

Track your expenses

Start by looking at your bank account and seeing if you can spot any mysterious payments you didn’t expect - or subscriptions you still have but meant to cancel. Next step is creating a spreadsheet or using an app to collect all your expenses into one place. From there you can filter or order by how big a chunk it’s taking out of your income or how regular the payments are made to help you decide which to cancel. Here, we’ll give you some ideas of the types of subscriptions you may have and potential alternatives.

Cut the free trials

Almost every subscription starts with a free trial and these can be great for testing out a product or service before you commit. The problem is that so many of us forget to make a decision on these and don’t notice the payments leaving our bank accounts. One way to keep on top of all your free trials is to create a task in your task manager or to-do list a day before the trial ends to decide whether to cancel or renew. You could also use your calendar. You’ll get a notification before the money leaves your account, giving you the choice to spend.

Are you still watching?

Nowadays, we’re almost all subscribed to at least one, if not a few, of the various streaming services. Netflix has announced that it will be asking everyone who has not watched Netflix for a year whether they want to keep their membership. If they don’t respond, their subscription will be automatically cancelled, saving them the money they would have wasted. This sets a new high standard for streaming services and caring about their customers’ wellbeing.

These services put millions of titles at our fingerprints to watch with Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, NowTV and more, all providing a unique roster of films and TV. Plus if you pay for TV packages as well, you might want to consider one or the other. Keep an eye on your household’s watching habits for a week, maybe a month, and you should get a good idea of which to keep and which to cut.

Yoga class at the gym

Is your gym membership working out?

Signing up for a gym membership that you rarely intend to use is practically a rite of passage these days. It’s not that we don’t want to be healthy, it’s just that there isn’t the time or motivation. A study by Fridge Raiders found that the average membership is £35 and that “although 23 per cent of Britons are gym members, only 12 per cent go often”. That’s a lot of unused memberships. While exercising is worth the money thanks to its health, social and mental health benefits, there are cheaper, if not free ways of working out including free apps.

Entertain savings cuts

We all have our own ways of destressing and following our hobbies and passions, and of course, many involve subscriptions to get the best out of them. For music, customers are divided between Spotify and Apple Music and it almost seems essential to have one. Gamers pay subscriptions like PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online and Xbox Game Pass which offer free games and the ability to play online, but there are plenty of people who unnecessarily have all three, stacking up. Magazines are also often worth cancelling as there are online versions and there’s a good chance that you might not get around to reading it.

Buying apps

Control your apps

Apps are so integral to life now that it’s almost as if we’ve surrendered all control to them. Whether that’s for the good or the bad, you decide. Apps offer services we wouldn’t normally have and allow us to do more than ever. Productivity apps and Cloud storage are popular with everyone for thei r usefulness, but there’s always room to downgrade and there’s usually a cheaper app elsewhere as the market grows even more competitive.

If you suspect you’ve stacked up a few too many app subscriptions, it’s easy to check. On an iPhone, head to Settings → iTunes & App Store → View Apple ID → Subscriptions and you can cancel from there. With Android devices you’ll want to go to the Google Play app → menu → Subscriptions. Happy saving!

The rise of free delivery

Amazon Prime is the leader of delivery, offering its handy Next Day Delivery to anyone and everyone who is impatient enough to want it - which probably a lot of us are guilty of (not that it’s a bad thing). The expectation to have things immediately is only growing, and businesses are jumping on board. Many clothing brands offer a yearly subscription for free delivery - although often these same brands also offer free delivery at certain times throughout the year anyway. For food, Deliveroo offers it’s Plus subscription to skip delivery fees and, while I hate to suggest it, you could just visit the restaurant to save money. Having a little patience really will save you quite a lot.

Subscription Boxes

Whatever you could want or need, there’s a subscription box for that. Well, most things. Food is probably the most popular with companies like Hello Fresh, Graze, Simply Cook and countless more. Some are treats, while others are a convenient healthy living choice, either way, you can probably live without the high price tags that come attached by making smart decisions while shopping. Other boxes like beauty products, clothing, books, fitness and alcohol are all luxuries that you can get cheaper elsewhere and should consider cutting out of your budget.

With hundreds of pounds worth of savings to be had, it’s clear to see that it’s worth looking at your subscriptions and cancelling the ones you can manage without. It may be the case that some will be easy decisions with almost instant savings. Not to mention, you’ll experience the financial peace of mind that comes from having few outgoings. 

So, why not work out your annual saving?

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