Signing up for yet another subscription service—Netflix, Audible, a food delivery service, or an exercise app—is easy. What’s an extra expense of $9.99 per month? You’ll barely miss it, right?
Unfortunately, too many Americans are putting more of their hard-earned paychecks into monthly subscriptions than they realize. A recent study found that Americans grossly underestimate how much they spend on subscriptions—they spent an average of $237.33 per month, which is 297% higher than what they initially estimated.
A Billion-Dollar Industry
The subscriptions market is generating billions of dollars in revenue every year. And Americans are too easily and readily letting go of their disposable income to make these companies even more wealthy.
Of course, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with a subscription service—if Blue Apron is helping you eat better, and Hulu is saving you money on cable, that’s great. The problem is when you don’t know how much you’re spending on all your subscriptions, or when (or how) to cancel the monthly subscriptions you don’t really need. Getting your subscriptions under control will help you free up money in your budget for other financial goals.
Maybe you want to find out how to cancel all subscriptions on your credit card or debit card, or just how to cancel unwanted subscriptions. This guide will help you get smarter about subscribing—and canceling.
How Much Am I Spending on Monthly Subscriptions?
Chances are, you’re spending more than you think on your monthly subscriptions. Each one individually might not seem like a big investment, but add them all up, and you could be spending hundreds of dollars each month.
Easy to Begin, Hard to Control
It’s really easy to spend money on subscriptions—after all, the services are fun and useful. Not only that, but many are hard to cancel, or try to lure you back with discounts and free months when you attempt to say good-bye. Sometimes you might forget that you signed up in the first place, or a free trial you started automatically charged your credit card before you could cancel.
To free up money in your budget and cancel unwanted subscriptions, start by finding out exactly how much you are paying each month. Set aside an hour or so to do an audit of your services. Find out which ones you’re using and how much you’re paying. Consider your monthly payments, such as app subscriptions on iPhone or Android, as well as annual ones such as Amazon Prime.
Common Subscription Services
Can’t remember what you’ve signed up for? Look through your credit and debit card bills. And run through these common subscription categories to jog your memory:
- Music streaming
- Gaming services
- Movie/TV streaming
- Cloud storage
- Beauty subscription boxes
- Home security systems
- Diet and fitness apps
- Web hosting
- Digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions
- Dating apps
- Loot boxes
- Internet and mobile phone
- Children’s apps
- Children’s subscription boxes
- App subscriptions on Android and iPhone
Which Subscriptions Should I Cancel?
Once you’ve done a personal audit of your subscriptions and totaled how much you are spending on everything, it’s time to let go of some of them. Definitely cross out the ones you don’t use or didn’t know you were still signed up for. For each remaining subscription, ask yourself: Am I getting any real value out of this?
For example, signing up for the Dollar Shave Club sounded like a great idea six months ago—never run out of razors again! But would it be cheaper to buy a big pack at Costco?
A premium MyFitnessPal subscription sounded great too—except you haven’t logged in for a month. Maybe the free version is good enough for now.
It’s Okay to Keep Useful Subscriptions
Of course, you don’t have to get rid of all your subscriptions. If you own a web-based business, you need internet and web hosting. If your Birchbox makes you really happy every month, and if you’re reading The New York Times online daily, keep those subscriptions for now.
You may decide you just want to find out how to cancel all subscriptions on your debit card or credit card, and that’s OK too.
How Do I Cancel My Recurring Subscription?
It would be great if you could hit one magic “unsubscribe” button and let go of each recurring fee at once. Unfortunately, you have to log into your account for each subscription. Companies don’t make it easy for you to walk away—you may need to look around for the unsubscribe page. If you can’t find it, try a Google search for “how to unsubscribe” and name the subscription.
App subscriptions on iPhone or Android are simpler to cancel.
- For iPhones, go to Settings > Apple ID (where your name is at the top) > Subscriptions. You’ll find a list of current subscriptions. Tap on one to cancel it.
- For Android, open the Google Play app and select Menu > Subscriptions. Select Cancel Subscription next to the ones you want to quit.
Do you get a refund if you cancel a subscription? The answer really depends on the individual company. Some will refund you if you recently made a payment, and others will continue to give you access to their service until the next billing cycle.
Take Control of Your Finances
Ready to get your subscriptions under control? You can do it! And you won’t regret it. Canceling unwanted subscriptions will simplify your life, tighten up your budget, and help you find extra money to put toward debt payments or savings goals.
Do you need some financial help right now? Consider a short-term loan from Power Finance Texas. You can apply online and get cash sent right to your checking account.