We are always being told how important it is to cut expenses to “find money” in our budget. However, sitting down to do the cutting can feel like a punishment. Reviewing your subscriptions is a simple way to find money in your budget without feeling like crap about it.
Transitioning from two incomes to one, post-divorce can be a challenge. That is why you must know where your money is going. Keeping track of your spending doesn’t have to be an irritating task. One of the biggest financial vampires we have are subscriptions.
Subscription services are extremely handy. They can give us perks, help us stay stocked up on our favorite products, and provide entertainment. But they often go unused or forgotten. In this post, I’m giving you a simple strategy for putting money back into your budget., mindfully.
Step 1: Cancel
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’m always reminding you to cancel that free trial. Sure it may seem repetitive but we’ve all been there. We sign up for a thirty-day free trial then forget about it. That is until we see that 1st(or 3rd) charge on our account. Then we panic and cancel it.
Often you can ask for a refund if you’ve not used the service. More often than not, we just lick our wounds and accept that loss.
The best way to avoid wasting money on subscriptions that you aren’t using is the set a reminder in your calendar to cancel the subscription 24 hours before the initial payment is posted to your account.
Due to regulatory changes, most companies will send you a reminder email to let you know that your trial is ending soon. However, with our overcrowded inboxes, it’s easy to forget. So set that reminder immediately after signing up for that free trial and avoid the hassle of wasting money later.
Cancel unused subscriptions
These days it feels like there is a subscription for every darn thing. From toilet paper to breakfast cereal, you can easily end up with 30 different subscriptions which are nearly impossible to keep up with.
Do you know how many active subscriptions you have right now? According to a recent survey, 34% of Americans are paying for subscriptions that they don’t even use. Whew! That’s a lot of money being wasted.
A perfect example of this is streaming services. You may have cut the cord and ditched cable but are you saving money if you end up subscribing to 12 different channels at nine bucks a pop?
Have you subscribed to a channel because you wanted to watch a specific show then once the season was over you forgot all about it? It happens to the best of us but this is where setting setting cancelation calendar reminders comes in handy again.
Use the service for the event, show, or time frame you need it for then cancel it to save money. If you find you want to use it then you can ignore that reminder and go on your merry way.
Step 2: Combine
Combine similar subscriptions
Companies are getting wise to consumer “subscription fatigue” and are offering bundles to keep subscribers. Verizon offers a Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN bundle for free for their Unlimited plan subscribers. Apple has their Apple One bundle that has tiers of services that include unlimited streaming music, Apple TV, arcade, health, news, iCloud storage, and much more.
Unlike with single-service subscriptions, when you bundle services that you like, you are usually, less likely to cancel.
Take a look at your subscriptions and make a note of similar services. I recently found that I was paying for a fitness app as well as additional cloud storage. When I took a look at the bundle tiered bundle offered by Apple, I was able to add $25 a month, $300/year, back into my budget by simply canceling those single services and upgrading my AppleOne Subscription.
If there is a single service that you are subscribing to take some time to see if there are bundles available that could save money in the long run.
Step 3: Review
Review your subscriptions
It may seem like a no-brainer that you should review your subscriptions but it’s often easier said than done. The hard part is that people usually have no idea exactly how many active subs they have at any given time.
Apps like Rocket Money allow you to track all of your subscriptions in one place but charge a monthly subscription for premium services. If you don’t want to connect a 3rd party company to your accounts, you can track your subscriptions manually.
Create a note or file on your phone and list all of your subscriptions or you can use a free tracker like mine, to track your subs with pen and paper.
Whichever method you choose, make sure that you create a consistent habit.
When to review your subscriptions
Consistency is key for any new habit. If you want to supercharge your ability actually to stick to your new review plan, you have to make it easy to do.
If you haven’t noticed I’m a huge fan of setting digital reminders. Most people use their phones for everything these days. Why not use it to help you achieve your budget goals as well?
How often you schedule a time to review your subscriptions is up to you. However, I recommend a timeline of every 6 months. I have found that most people naturally tend to review their spending at the beginning of the year and during the summer. Stacking this habit with your natural tendency to want to review your overall money goals is the perfect way to stay on track with your subscription spending.
Empower yourself, Sis
The beauty of rebuilding your financial life after divorce is that you get to build your life based on your goals. Every time you build a new financial habit you add a new layer to your money confidence.
If you made it to the end of this post I know you are serious about finding money in your budget. So schedule some time this week to sit down and list all of your subscriptions. Cancel the ones you aren’t using, bundle similar subscriptions, and don’t forget to cancel those free trials.
This process doesn’t have to take a ton of time either. The first time you do this it may take about an hour but after that initial setup, you will simply have to review your list and update or modify it as needed.
I’d love to hear how much you save after. Once you’ve given this a try, share how much money you find in the comments.