How to Avoid Subscription Overload
It starts out innocently enough. You sign up for a monthly delivery of razor blades or skin care samples or any one of the hundreds of subscription services currently available. It’s convenient, relatively inexpensive, and it’s fun to receive something in the mail you actually want to get. So you try another subscription, and another, and before you know it, there are multiple subscriptions arriving every month. What started out as a simple convenience has become an expensive habit. Let’s take a look at how to keep it under control and avoid subscription overload.
Audit Your Subscriptions
Do you know how many subscriptions you’re actually getting every month? If not, that’s step one. Figure out exactly how many subscriptions you receive and what they’re for. If there’s overlap in a category — such as multiple sample or beauty subscriptions — determine the one you feel is the best value, keep it and get rid of the rest.
If the total number of subscriptions you receive ties up money you could be using for other things, you’re on subscription overload. To get back on track, cancel all of them and rework your budget to make progress toward your financial goals.
Adjust the Frequency
Maybe you just need to take a break for a while. Many subscription services allow you to change the frequency to receive bi-monthly or even quarterly deliveries. Taking a break can help you save money and give you the chance to use up what you already have.
Change How You Pay
It’s quick and convenient to sign up for subscriptions using a credit card. But it’s also a good way to lose track of how much you’re spending each month. Set it up so that subscription fees are deducted directly from your bank account instead. You’ll be able to better track how much you’re spending. And because it will affect your ready cash flow, there’s a good chance you’ll end up canceling subscriptions you don’t really need.
Don’t Forget Digital
In addition to your subscriptions for stuff, you probably have just as many subscriptions for digital services such as Netflix, Spotify and HBO Go. And there are new options popping up all the time. To keep from getting overloaded, do a complete purge of all your digital subscriptions and start again from scratch. Figure out the services you use the most and resubscribe. Chances are you won’t miss the others. If you do, plan your viewing strategically based on the release dates of your favorite shows so you’re only paying for one service at a time.
When used carefully, subscription services can actually save you money by minimizing last-minute shopping or impulse buying. The key is to keep close track of how much you’re spending each month, and continually evaluating each subscription for usefulness and value.