How many "free trials" have you signed up for and forgotten to cancel? Are you getting your money's worth from the gym you signed up for in January? What about that domain name you bought last year?
If you throw money at memberships and subscriptions, you're not alone.
"Millions of people sign up for 30-day free trials of things, intending to cancel without the 30 days — and then they forget. Or they sign up for certain services but have long since stopped using them," writes Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue in his 2016 book, "Pogue's Basics: Money."
"Either way, you're still getting billed, month after month. $9.95 here, $4.99 there. It's real money that you're throwing away. And it adds up."
Depending on what you pay for — meal subscription boxes, magazines, video or music streaming services, iCloud storage or styling services like Stitch Fix or Birchbox — cancelling just one monthly subscription could save you hundreds of dollars a year. If you eliminate multiple memberships, or one big one like the gym, you could save thousands.
For an easy way to get more money back in your wallet, follow these three steps:
1. Figure out exactly what you're paying for. Scan your last couple of credit card statements and look for those recurring charges that pop up every month. You might be surprised with what you find.
2. Ask yourself which subscriptions and memberships you can eliminate. Think about whether or not you truly need each one. If you can't remember the last time you used the service, that's a good sign it's time to get rid of it.
3. Cancel all unused or underused subscriptions. Most importantly, eliminate what you're not using right away. If you don't want to hop on the phone or cancel online, there are subscription management services like Truebill and Trim that will do it for you. All you have to do is link your credit and bank accounts and the app will automatically find any subscriptions you have and cancel any unwanted ones.
As for the subscriptions you end up keeping, or any future subscriptions you may sign up for, consider changing how you set up your payments. Rather than allowing a company to pull your money from your bank account or credit card, send money to the company each month. That way, you'll be more aware of exactly where your money is going.
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