Did you know that the average number of monthly subscriptions a person has is 3 or more? Many new start-ups have launched these businesses in a wide range of categories, including alcohol, baby items, contact lenses, cosmetics, feminine products, meal kits, pet food, razors, underwear, women’s and men’s apparel, video games, and vitamins to name just a few.
Online subscriptions are a sign of the times, and can often be positive and helpful! For example, if you often find yourself running out of pet food these days, all you have to do is find a company which auto-ships your pet food to you at your desired frequency. At the same time, however, auto-ships and monthly subscription boxes can cost you more money than necessary.
Suppose you’ve just found yourself hit with a charge on your credit card statement for a subscription that you had completely forgotten about. It does happen more often than you think. Sometimes people just don’t realize they signed up for a monthly subscription. Luckily, you can take a few easy steps to utilize subscription boxes wisely and save yourself from wasting money unnecessarily by getting rid of the ones you don’t use. Read on to find out how!
Keep track of all outgoing transactions
Take a look at your bank and credit card statements regularly (daily, if possible). By becoming mindful of the money that you spend, you can be aware of where you’re spending unnecessary money.
Go through all outgoing transactions from the past month
Search through your bank and credit card statements, line by line, with a pen and paper handy. Write down the name and amount of any transaction that is associated with a monthly subscription box or an auto-ship. If you see a transaction that you aren’t sure about, go to the company’s website, which handled the transaction (if applicable). On the company’s website, search for “manage my subscription” or “my orders”; search both of those histories to determine whether your transaction was a one-time purchase or a recurring subscription.
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Determine which subscriptions you actually use
Once you’ve made a list of every recurring subscription you have, determine which of these subscriptions you always use, sometimes or rarely.
For example, let’s say you subscribed to a monthly makeup shipment. However, when you think about it, you’ve only ever used one or two of the makeup items you’ve received; most of them sit in your makeup bag, unopened. This is a subscription which you rarely use.
On the other hand, let’s say you turned on “auto-ship” for a monthly shipment of multivitamins. You take your multivitamins every day, and you find yourself running out of vitamins around the same time that your newest shipment of vitamins arrives. This is a subscription which you always use. You get the idea. Next to each subscription, write “always,” “sometimes,” or “rarely.”
Cancel all shipments which you rarely use
There’s no use spending money every month on something you don’t use. It’s best to cancel a subscription that falls under the “rarely” category. To do this, visit the subscription box’s website, and look for a tab that says something like “manage my subscription.” There should be an option to cancel your subscription or to email or call the company to have your subscription canceled. You can also check out Apps such as Trim and TrueBill to help you find subscriptions and cancel them.
The “sometimes” category, on the other hand, is under your discretion. You may ask yourself these questions:
- Do I really need this? If not, cancel it.
- Is it making my life easier? If not, cancel it.
Is there a way to lower the frequency of these shipments? Many monthly subscription boxes give you the option to ship every two, three, or four months (for example), rather than every month. Again, check the website’s “manage my subscription” page, or contact the company to ask if you can lower the frequency of your shipments.
Think before you subscribe
It can be tempting to click that “auto-ship and save” button– after all, you save money doing so! Before you subscribe to anything in the future, however, ask yourself the questions mentioned above. Am I going to use this regularly? Do I really need this? Will it make my life easier? If not, do not subscribe and save yourself some money.