Save Money

Save money by cancelling your subscriptions

Subscriptions are one of the biggest lies ever invented to convince us customers to spend way more money than we actually need to.

Subscriptions are supposed to make our life easier by automating payments for certain products and services that we use regularly. Plus, being subscribed to that service or product makes the life of the company providing easier, they can do things like buy raw materials in bulk and in advance, etc. saving money and passing some of those savings to us, the consumer, in the shape of discounts for a year-long commitment. That’s the selling pint. Convenient right?

The truth is most of us are wasting large amounts of money in subscriptions we don’t use. Subscriptions are easy to sign up for and hard cancel. Sometimes because companies make them hard to cancel, but even when they don’t it’s hard for us to pick up the phone or send that e-mail to actually cancel it. Since we are not physically paying for that subscription every month (the money is automatically taken from our bank account or charged on our credit card) we don’t feel the “pain” of that expense as much as if we had to pay for it personally over the counter.

As a matter of fact there are some businesses which whole business model is built around subscribers not using their service. Think gyms for example. If all members of a gym were to actually go and use it, even if they spread throughout the day, the place would just collapse. But they need those subscribing customers to pay for operations. Gyms now there is a small percentage or customers who will use their facilities regularly and a large one that will use them sporadically.

Cancel subscriptions you don’t use at all

Let’s start with the easiest, subscriptions you don’t use at all. If you haven’t gone to the gym for the past 3 months, cancel it. If you haven’t used any of the features that your LinkedIn Gold offers in the past 3 months, cancel it. If you haven’t read a single issue of that magazine that you get in the mail every month for the past year, cancel it!

You get the idea, right?

Consider canceling subscriptions you use sporadically

Moving on, there are other subscriptions which you use sporadically and therefore might think that are justified to keep. Well they might be, but probably not.

Some people are subscribed to spotify but they only listen to 3 different playlists all the time. If each of those playlists had 20 songs that will be 60 songs in total, which you could buy for $0,99 each on iTunes and stop paying $9,90 per month. Unless you are an avid discoverer of new music, consider buying your music instead of paying for a subscription.

Other people choose to pay a Dropbox or Drive subscription to increase the storage space of their computers. If you are not working on shared documents every day and sending links to huge files often, consider buying an external hard drive and cancel your subscription. And if you are thinking, “yes but I don’t want to carry a hard drive with me all the time”. You can get a 256GB SD card for $15 on Amazon, stick it into your card reader (which most laptops have integrated) and forget about it.

Let’s go back to the gym example for a minute. Let’s say you do go to the gym regularly. You’ve set a goal to go once a week, and most weeks you make good on that promise, but every once in a while you skip it because you are too busy or too tired. Consider canceling your subscription and paying for one-time passes when you actually go. Do the math of how much you would’ve spent on one-time passes over the past 3 months and see if its less than 3 months’ worth of subscription.

Keep the subscriptions you use all the time

If you go to the gym every morning before going to work, keep that subscription. If you are a graphic designer and sue photoshop every day for work, keep that subscription. If you watch a movie on Netflix every night, keep that subscription…

Subscriptions are not bad per-se, they can actually be a great thing, and they can save you money if you use them daily.

How much money can you save?

How much money you can save cancelling, or at least rethinking, your subscriptions will depend on what you are subscribed to to begin with, of course, some people sign up for more subscriptions than others, some cultures are also more subscription-friendly than others. But the average working adult can expect to save $40 to 100 per month by cancelling the subscriptions they don’t use or that they are overpaying for.