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Unsubscribe for More Savings

May 06, 2024 | Margaret Ann Haake


Planning for your future can be as easy as reviewing your monthly subscription list and canceling what you aren't using. We developed a convenient list to help you make sure you aren't throwing your money away on useless subscriptions anymore.

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Last week, I got hooked on a Wondry podcast. While I have grown to love a good crime podcast, the commercials really kill the momentum.  So, I told myself I have the $5.99 to pay for a one-week subscription, so why not give myself a commercial-free treat? As I pressed subscribe, I made a mental note to cancel this subscription when I finished the show. A week and one miracle later, I remembered to cancel the Wondry subscription and how to get to the area on my phone in charge of canceling. 

As I pressed Settings-Name-Subscriptions, feeling like a fully grown adult, I noticed, to my horror, a few additional monthly subscriptions I had paid for and not used for many months. Between these two apps, I was throwing away $35/ month. I am also sure I have other subscriptions I had forgotten about.

So, what’s the big deal? It’s $35. Let’s take this money out only for five years. With an initial $35 investment and $35 in a monthly contribution at an estimated 10% year-over-year return, I was tossing $2,600.00, and over ten years, it is $6,700. 

I don’t subscribe to the mindset of other Investment Advisers who say you'll be rich if you don’t get that morning latte. Get the latte…enjoy the latte. But I hate to be wasteful, and the subscription-based model is counting on you forgetting about the one-week subscription you signed up for. 

I built an easy-to-follow process to locate and manage your paid subscriptions.

  1. Locate all of your subscriptions 
    1. Start by gathering information about all your subscriptions. This includes streaming services, magazines, gym memberships, software licenses, and any other recurring payments. Here’s how to do it:  
      1. Check bank and credit card statements: Review your bank and credit card statements for the past year to catch any subscriptions that renew annually.
      2. Audit your email: Search for keywords like "subscription," "billing," "invoice," or "renewal" in your email inbox.
      3. Use apps: Consider using subscription tracking apps like Truebill, Mint, or Bobby, which can automatically find and list your subscriptions by connecting to your financial accounts.
  2. Evaluate usage 
    1. Once you have a list, evaluate your regular usage for each service: 
      1. Usage frequency: Mark the services you use daily, weekly, or rarely.
      2. Value for money: Consider if the joy, convenience, or utility you get from each subscription justifies the cost.
      3. Decide What to Keep, Reduce, or Cancel
    2. Make the hard decisions: 
      1. Keep: Services you use frequently or that provide significant value.
      2. Modify: Look for cheaper plans, family plans, or promotions to reduce costs.
      3. Cancel: Services that are rarely used or do not justify their expense.
  3. Monitor for changes 
    1. Price changes: Watch for emails or notifications about price increases.
    2. Service changes: Be aware of changes in the terms of service, benefits, or content availability that may affect the value you get from your subscriptions.
  4. Tips on managing subscriptions 
    1. Consolidate 
      1. Shared Plans: Opt for family or shared plans with friends or family to reduce individual costs.
      2. Bundles: Some services offer bundles with other popular services at a discount.
    2. Use free trials: Try it before committing to a subscription.
    3. Set reminders for the subscriptions you decide to keep: 
      1. Renewal alerts: Set up reminders a few days before each subscription renews. This gives you a chance to reassess before being charged.
      2. Review annually: Set a yearly reminder to review your subscriptions again. Needs and usage can change over time.
      3. Trial periods: Set a reminder to evaluate and possibly cancel the service before the trial period ends to avoid unwanted charges.

Consider this little blog your sign to take one minute out of your day if needed. By following these steps, you can better manage your subscriptions, ensuring you only pay for what you truly need and use, potentially turning that wasted $35 a month into real money.

The views presented herein are solely those of The Hollub & Svejda Group and do not necessarily represent the views of RBC Wealth Management. The current status of issues discussed in this article is subject to change based on market conditions and industry fundamentals. Clients should work with their Financial Advisor to develop investment strategies tailored to their own financial circumstances. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


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