If you’re like most people, you have already subscribed to several services. Did you know that the average US consumer spends around $273 each month on subscriptions? That’s a lot of money, especially if you don’t have extra cash to spare.
While they can be helpful if you need food and groceries delivered to your doorstep regularly, subscriptions can take up a considerable chunk of your monthly expenses. And if your income can’t cover everything, you might even end up borrowing money often just to pay it all on time.
Here are a few tips for how to save money on subscriptions and get a better grip on your budget.
Are Subscriptions Actually Worth It?
A subscription can be worth the money if it’s something that you regularly use that makes life more convenient for you and your family. For instance, a grocery subscription service would be worth spending money on if you’re always too busy or tired to go grocery shopping yourself. Your Spotify subscription would be worth it if you frequently listen to music.
However, your YMCA or gym membership is pointless if you barely go there. Do you need a monthly box of clothes, toys, or jewelry? Are they being used or just contributing to clutter?
Top 8 Tips for How to Save Money on Subscriptions
You’re here to learn how to save money, so let’s jump into that. Here’s our best advice for saving money on subscriptions.
1. Stick to One Service per Category
There are many kinds of subscriptions to sign up for. Those who love to watch TV and movies can pay for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, or Paramount Plus. While it’s tempting to subscribe to several so you can always find what you want to watch, is the selection worth it when you’re paying the full price each month?
Instead of subscribing to multiple services at a time, try to limit yourself to one subscription service per category. That means sticking to one streaming service, one grocery delivery service, and so forth.
If you still want to enjoy the other services’ features, you could pause your current subscription and then switch to another for a couple of months. If you’ve finished all the shows you wanted to watch on Netflix, pause your plan and explore what Hulu has to offer for a while. This way, you don’t have to pay for both subscriptions simultaneously.
2. Consider Annual Instead of Monthly Subscriptions
Subscription services often give you the option to pay for an entire year at once. While it does mean you’ll have to pay a significant amount upfront, you won’t have to think about the monthly payments anymore. This can make it easier for you to set aside cash for other expenses later on in the year.
You may also find yearly subscriptions more attractive since they tend to include discounts that make them cheaper. For example, Apple Music’s monthly plan costs $9.99 per month, which would be almost $120 a year. But their annual plan only costs $99 a year. While $21 in savings doesn’t seem like much, imagine all the money you could save by opting for discounted annual plans on all your subscriptions.
3. Scale Back On Services
If you only really need the bare essentials for a service, why pay for a premium, more expensive plan? Downgrading to a more basic subscription lets you enjoy the features you want without having to spend more than you have to.
Netflix’s premium plan costs $17.99 and lets you watch unlimited shows in Ultra HD on TVs, laptops, or mobile devices. But what if you don’t need 4K resolution because you mostly watch on your phone? You could just subscribe to the Basic or Standard plans instead, which still let you watch all the shows you want but only cost $8.99 and $13.99, respectively.
4. Search for Cheaper (or Free) Alternatives
Like the products but not the subscription fees? You could look for ways to enjoy that product at a lower price or even for free. If you’re subscribed to a meal-planning and delivery service, they may offer recipes online that you can try out for yourself using cheaper ingredients. Or, if you love books, why not get a library card instead of subscribing to Kindle Unlimited? Borrowing physical or ebooks costs nothing, and you’ll support your local library too.
5. Share Subscriptions
Today, many digital subscriptions offer family plans that are often priced only slightly higher than individual plans. You could subscribe to such plans instead, add your family and friends, and then split the bill with them. You’d then get all the benefits of an individual plan for less money.
Another option would be to keep your individual subscription but share the account login details with someone else willing to pay their part if the service allows it. But make sure you’re sharing it with someone you completely trust to avoid any security problems.
6. Unsubscribe from Subscriptions You Don’t Use
While receiving subscription boxes for pet toys, games, or clothes can make life more fun, ask yourself whether you need them. Does your pet need a new chew toy each month? Do you need new clothes all the time?
You may also be signed up for other services that you don’t use that much. For example, you might have subscribed to Kindle Unlimited since you love books, but you always end up on Audible instead. Keep the one you use!
When money is tight at home, you’ll want to prioritize essentials like electricity, groceries, or the internet. The same idea applies to subscriptions. Which ones are more important or used at the moment? Unsubscribing from services you rarely use or need will leave you with more cash to work with each month.
7. Buy Instead of Subscribing
Buying goods and services individually can sometimes save money over paying a monthly subscription fee. For instance, if you only need fast shipping for your online orders a few times a year, then you might be better off paying for expedited shipping in those instances instead of opting for an Amazon Prime membership. Or perhaps you’re not ready to commit to a gym yet since you barely have time for it. In that case, pay per visit instead of signing up right away.
8. Always Monitor Your Subscriptions
The easiest way to lose money from all your subscriptions is by not paying attention to what services you’ve signed up for in the first place.
Make it a habit to check your bank statements every month, and then list all the subscription services that come up. Doing so will help you keep track of what you’ve been paying for and let you decide whether it’s still worth subscribing to or not. Tracking subscriptions will also keep you updated on any upcoming payments that need to be included in your budget.
Power Finance Texas Can Help
Knowing how to save money on subscriptions can open up your budget for goals like building an emergency fund or moving to a new home. But there may still be times when you might need some fast cash to get you through your monthly expenses.
If you’re ever in a tight financial spot, Power Finance Texas can lend a hand. We approve online personal loan applications within minutes and send amounts of up to $1,250 by the very next day.