Are you on subscription overdrive?

Would you pay $20 a month to heat the steering wheel of your car? That’s one of the latest innovations being introduced overseas by car manufacturers. While you can still pay upfront for digital services such as heating your steering wheel or your seats, manufacturers are introducing ‘in-car microtransactions’ in countries such as Britain, South Africa, and New Zealand. And they aren’t the only ones wanting customers to sign up for a subscription.

Once the preserve of magazines and newspapers the little and often way of making an income is a popular model for a lot of businesses. There are now subscriptions for everything from music and movies to baby supplies, toilet paper, and meal kits. The amount usually seems affordable when you take out another subscription. That’s why it’s so easy to say yes. But what about when you add up all the money that you’re spending on subscriptions?

The more we pay for things with ‘micro payments’ the harder it becomes to keep track of our payments. Often people say they’ve forgotten about a particular subscription, or they get stung by an auto-renewal, they think it might be handy later, or they just can’t be bothered cancelling it. As with any expense, it’s good to examine the value you’re getting from your subscriptions from time to time to see whether you might make a different choice.

Here are five suggestions for slashing your subscription costs.

  • Use it or lose it

So, you started with Netflix then added Stan, Binge, Apple, and Disney. Having multiple streaming services to choose from is great when you want to do some serious binge-watching on a rainy winter’s evening. But if you’ve signed up for the basic option of five services it’s probably costing you roughly $600 a year.

If there’s one or two that don’t really get used it might be time to cancel those services. Or whenever you add another subscription cancel one.

2) Chase a discount

If you’re wedded to a particular subscription service, could you get a discount by paying for a year upfront? The likes of Disney offer the alternative of paying $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year, for instance.

3) Is it still suitable?

Life moves on and the need (or want) that led you to sign up to the subscription may have changed. A meal kit service might have helped you to kick-start a healthier eating regime or inspired you to cook at home. Or perhaps you thought getting a regular beauty box would be fun until your drawers were overflowing with lipsticks and moisturisers.

4) Could you downgrade?

You might have taken out a family subscription to Spotify and now the kids have moved out of home. Trim a few dollars from the monthly cost by dropping back to a duo (for a couple living under the one roof) or an individual plan.

5) Would you like ads with that?

If you’re willing to let advertising creep into your viewing pleasure, you might find there’s a lower-cost subscription available.

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