We are living in the subscription economy, where every business is shifting toward monthly or annual bills. There are subscriptions to t-shirts, toilet paper, razors, doorbells, you name it!
The list of recurring expenses we often forget to cancel goes on and on. While most of us might not have a subscription for doorbells, more common ones include:
- Gym memberships
- Magazine subscriptions
- E-book services
- Video-streaming and streaming services
- Mobile apps with monthly fees
The internet makes it extremely easy to sign up for a service or subscription and to quickly lose interest in it. If you forget about a recurring expense for a service you are no longer using, it can cost you over and over again.
Why Subscriptions Are Popular
The technology industry is fond of the word SaaS, or Software as a Service. It’s the idea that software is not only bought and installed once, but it is instead subscribed to and always updated. This includes:
- Office 365
- Google Drive
There’s also CaaS, Content as a Service.
- Apple News+
And then there’s HaaS, Hardware as a Service which includes everything from:
- Your smart door locks
- Security camera
- Your car
- Your toothbrush
These subscription services make it seem like you are part of an exclusive group as you’re receiving a package or paying for a service monthly while in reality, you’re dishing out big bucks! The small monthly payment might not seem like much, but combined with your other subscriptions, they can really add up.
Here’s What We Can Do
The surge in subscriptions leaves us with such a big task of remembering what you have subscribed to, there are actually new services offering to help find them. Apps like Trim or Bobby scour through your bank account statements to help find what subscriptions you’re paying for and assists you with canceling them. If you’re not comfortable with having a third-party application browse through your bank statements, here’s what to do instead:
Step 1: Audit.
Sign-in to your credit card and bank accounts and make a list (or, even better, a spreadsheet) of all your monthly and annual subscriptions, along with their payments. You might be surprised at how many subscriptions you’re paying for!
Step 2: Share or consolidate.
Do the same for your partner or friend group, and then cross-reference the lists. If you’re able to find duplicates in your household or friend group, decide which ones to keep paying for and which ones to share. You can easily share streaming subscriptions with friends and others like Amazon Prime.
Step 3: Cancel.
Mark the subscriptions you don’t really see much interest in anymore — or worse, those that began as free trials and became a recurring monthly charge. Then bid them farewell.
Of course, this may be easier said than done. More often than not, the “Cancel my subscription” button is hidden in an app or website menu — or you might have to deal with 30 minutes of ear-melting hold music to call and cancel.
Step 4: Repeat.
The only way we can make sure we don’t continue to pay companies for the rest of our days is to go through this process every year or so. None of your subscriptions will bankrupt you, although the money you put into them may add up to a decent vacation budget or savings goal.
The rising subscription list is yet another reminder of just how much confusion the convenience can offer. Starting an ongoing service is often simpler than stopping it, and even if you see the monthly recurring charge, you may not want to put in the minuscule work needed to get rid of it. This is exactly what businesses want you to do.
So, keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements. If you have any questions about gaining access to your statements or any questions in general, please call RMLEFCU at 303-458-6660. Let’s start 2020 off with the right budget!