5 Ways to Find out If You're Overspending on Subscriptions
Americans spend, on average, just under $240 a month on subscriptions. From gaming services to streaming platforms and even beauty subscriptions and digital magazines, the subscription model is popular due to its convenience and, oftentimes, cost-effectiveness.
It’s easy to subscribe to something here and there, whether it’s a $2 monthly subscription to a photo editing app or a mere $10 for a video streaming service. And, it’s also easy to lose track of just how much you’re spending in total, especially for subscription services that you might not even be using.
Not sure how to find out if you’re overspending on subscriptions? We’ve got five helpful financial tips that will help you make sense of your spending in order to reduce expenses and optimize your budget.
How to Know if You’re Overspending on Subscriptions
1. Make a List of Subscription Expenses
The best way to know if you’re overspending on subscription services and subscription boxes is to know just how many things you’re subscribed to. You can’t figure out how much you’re spending in total if you don’t have a clear list of where your money goes each month. So, try to sit down, take a look at your bank account, and make a comprehensive list of all of your subscription expenses. This includes everything from monthly subscriptions for streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, and Disney+ plus other subscriptions such as a newspaper subscription to the New Yorker or even your Amazon Prime subscription.
2. Download a Budgeting App
It might be hard to catch and track where you’re spending every single dollar of your hard-earned money. If you’re having trouble figuring out the exact dollar amount of what you spend on subscriptions each month, download a budgeting app. To track spending on subscriptions, we’d suggest either Mint or Clarity Money. The latter follows basic budgeting guidelines and allows you to do things like linking your financial accounts in order to organize your monthly expenses, track spending, monitor your credit score and even manage monthly subscriptions.
3. Mark Dates on Your Calendar
Whether you’re paying $20 a month for a beauty box or have subscribed to Apple Music, it’s easy to forget to cancel your membership when you’re done using the services or products. This happens all the time with free trials. In fact, Yahoo Finance once found that a third of Americans were paying for subscriptions without even knowing it. This is why it’s important to constantly monitor your bank statement for charges. Be sure to also mark your calendar with billing dates each month to ensure you can cancel in time and avoid paying more than you should be.
4. Limit Subscriptions to One Per Category
Want to really avoid overpaying for monthly subscriptions? Limit your spending to just one subscription per category. This means that if you want to spend money on a dog subscription box, get rid of the coffee subscription box on the side. Or, if you find that you don’t have enough time to take advantage of all of your video streaming subscriptions, get rid of all but the one with the TV shows and movies that you watch the most. Eventually, if your tastes change, you can go back and re-subscribe while cancelling others in the same category.
5. Check Prices Every Few Months
If a subscription service is going to increase their monthly prices, they’re required to notify you. But, how many emails from Netflix, Audible, and other services to we get each month and automatically delete? Plenty. It’s easy to miss an email about an increase in price or to forget completely. So, to avoid overspending, make a note on your calendar to go back and check the billed price of each subscription service you have. Make sure there aren’t any additional charges or that the monthly premium didn’t go up (intentionally or unintentionally; sometimes you can get charged for something by mistake).
Save More on Everyday Expenses
Cutting back on your subscription services is a simple way to save extra money. Chances are that, after taking a look at which ones you use the most, you’ll be able to easily cancel a few without missing them.
Another easy way to save more money each month is to spend with a debit card that’s optimized for savings and cashback. Yep, debit cards can do that too, it’s not just credit cards. In fact, the Cheese Debit Card is one of the best when it comes to cashback bonuses. Without any fee charged, you can save more by doing, well, pretty much nothing.
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