How To Reduce Monthly Subscription Costs
Monthly subscription fees.
They add up. One by one. Month by month. Until, at the end of the year, you suddenly realize that you’ve paid A LOT in fees. Worse yet, you can’t even remember signing up for several of the subscriptions.
Maybe it’s time to consider a subscription cleanse.
So Many Choices…So Much Money
Subscriptions to just about everything you can imagine are easy to come by. Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and The New York Times are just a few of the most tantalizing and popular options out there.
According to a recent survey by the market analysis firm C&R Research, monthly subscriptions cost U.S. consumers an average of $219 every 30 days. A study from Statista revealed that U.S. adults have an average of 12 monthly subscriptions. Millennials? They average a whopping 17 monthly subscriptions.
Surprisingly, most Americans aren’t aware of how much they pay in monthly subscriptions. The C&R study indicated that survey participants believed they owed only $86 per month, on average, for subscription fees–$133 less than they actually owed. And because so many of those subscription fees are transacted on consumers’ auto-pay accounts, 42% of all subscribers weren’t even aware they were being charged for the service.
According to SuperMoney.com financial planner Andrew Latham, “If you can’t remember all the monthly service fees you pay without checking your bank statement, you probably have too many. Feeling anxiety over your monthly service fees is another red flag for a consumer who needs to start making changes.”
Fewer Subscriptions, Less Aggravation
But all is not lost when it comes to conquering subscription overkill. With the right action plan in place, you can take control of your accumulated subscription plans and instead start planning what you’d like to do with the money you’ll save.
Step number one: Look through your monthly service fees and see how many subscription services you have. Latham suggests, “…determine which services you absolutely can’t do without and consider paying for those on an annual or even bi-annual basis. You can often get substantial savings by paying in lump sums.”
Take A Break
It’s hard to break old habits, but it can be done. Just because you’ve been paying for something for a long time doesn’t mean you have to continue to do so. Not sure if a monthly service fee is worth it? Consider taking a break from the service for a month or two, then decide. Latham suggests, “You may find you can do just fine with free alternatives, such as a library card or an account with a free streaming service like the Roku Channel or Tubi.”
Scale Back On Services You Don’t Need Or Use
Not every subscription service is essential. “For example, you really don’t need Netflix in 4K when you don’t have a high-end TV to match it,” Latham noted. “It’s also a good idea to negotiate with service providers for a lower fee or even share an account with a friend or relative.”
Time can change a lot of things, including the price of services you signed up for months, maybe even years ago. Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman explains, “I recently negotiated lower cable and satellite radio prices just by calling customer service and asking for my old rates back after introductory promotions expired.”
Try developing your own subscription-curbing path.
“There are some services such as Trim and Rocket Money (which absorbed the service previously known as Truebill),” says Rossman. “However, they charge fees, so follow a do-it-yourself approach if you can. It’s ironic to pay a subscription fee to help lower your subscription fees, but some people do find it useful to automate the process and get some outside help.”