In the UK, the average person spends £9.90 a month on a subscription they don’t use – a whopping £120 a year. Too often, that’s money wasted on subscriptions that don’t get used or you forgot about. Think that free trial you forgot to cancel. Or the streaming service you keep around long after the show you’ve been watching ends. Don’t worry, it happens to us all.
Cutting back on unneeded subscriptions is a great example of a quick money-saving win. Card-based subscriptions such as streaming services rarely have contracts or cancellation fees, so it’s a relatively painless way to save money without sacrificing things you actually care about.
What type of subscription are we talking about?
A subscription is a recurring card payment that is set up to charge automatically. Your card will continue to be charged until you cancel – whether you use the service or not.
These subscription-based services have become much more popular in recent years. They especially took off during lockdown, when subscribers to online services like Netflix soared, and many people found themselves with cash to spare and unable to leave their homes.
Fast-forward to 2023. These days you can get online subscriptions from dishwasher tabs and toilet paper to craft beer and streaming services. Companies like these models because it provides a guaranteed stream of income each month. That’s great for them but not always so good for your wallet!
‘What’s the harm in £5 or £10 here and there?’ you might ask. But it can really add up…
|Subscription||Monthly Payment||Yearly total|
|Netflix (basic package)||£6.99||£83.88|
|The Gym (average price for a basic membership)||£26.99||£323.88|
How they Hook you in
Most services offer free trials or other promotions to get you in the door. If you play your cards right, these can be a real bargain. Don’t forget to take advantage of the offer before the trial ends, and watch out for steep price increases afterwards. Remember – companies aren’t doing you a favour by offering a free trial – so use them to your advantage.
How to break up with your subscription provider
While many of the larger companies make it easy to cancel, the option can still be hidden away on their app or website. To save you time, we’ve put together a list of links for how to cancel with the largest subscription providers:
Third-party services like Trim or Cancellation Club are also worth checking out. These services will help ensure that all of your accounts are up-to-date and properly managed so that they don’t bill any unwanted charges or renewals. This can also save time because they automate much of this process for you – you won’t have to log into every individual site yourself!
Tips for Kicking Your Subscription Habit
- If you have multiple people in your household who use the same subscription service (e.g., Netflix), consider sharing one account with them instead of having separate accounts for each person. Just make sure this is allowed by their T&Cs.
- Try out free trials before committing yourself fully to a paid monthly plan – and definitely before making an annual commitment. Make a note or set a calendar reminder to cancel a few days before the payment is due.
- Make sure you know how to cancel at the same time as you sign up for the subscription. Often companies will make it super-easy to register but will force you to call them or go through a series of steps to cancel.
With the cost of living continuing to rise, subscription management is a handy skill to have. Think of it as a hack that enables you to save money without sacrificing your quality of life – helping you to spend more on the things that matter to you and less on the things that don’t.