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Stay on top of your subscriptions

Stay on top of your subscriptions

Category: Money

Updated: 11/05/2015
First Published: 11/05/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Do you spend money on subscriptions? If so, do you still use the service you're actually paying for? Chances are, you've signed up for one or two things that have fallen under the radar, and that can mean you're putting money straight down the drain.

Forgotten memberships cost you money

Whether it's a gym membership, TV streaming plans or even credit report services, you may not be using the subscription as much as you once did. But, despite this, many people forget to cancel their membership – research from TopCashback has revealed that 42% of those surveyed have continued to pay for a subscription they're not using, with a quarter doing so without realising the cost had increased.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common forgotten-about subscription is the gym membership (55%), followed by magazine and newspaper subscriptions (22%), credit reports (22%), TV streaming services (20%) and music streaming plans (15%). These forgotten subscriptions could cost you dearly, with 27% having continued to pay for a subscription for at least four months, while 16% kept paying for more than a year.

Don't think that free trials escape blame, either – these can come with hefty monthly costs after the trial period has come to an end, and if you're not careful, you could be caught out. This was exactly the case for 44% of respondents who signed up for a free trial and forgot to cancel before they were charged, while 29% even forgot after setting a calendar reminder.

If you think about it, it's no wonder that so many people forget about their subscriptions. If you don't use the service you could have simply forgotten that you signed up, and if you rarely check your bank statement, a few pounds here and there could slip through the net unnoticed. Well, it's time for things to change, because over the course of a year, those few pounds could easily add up.

Get back in control!

Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer affairs editor for TopCashback, commented: "Our research highlights that as more and more services become available to us, the costs are going unnoticed in our bank accounts. However, whether it's an often-used subscription or a newbie, it's important to review any subscription fee each month and ask the following questions: do I still use this service? Has the cost increased? Can I still afford it?"

It's a simple method, and if the answers don't add up, cancel the service. This is assuming that you're not tied in to a set contract – if that's the case, set a calendar reminder of when the contract comes to an end so you can cancel as soon as possible. But, if you can cancel straight away, it's definitely worth doing, and if you're savvy, you could benefit even more.

If you've kept those subscriptions for months on end, you probably didn't even notice the money that went out of your account each month, so why not make the most of it by putting that cash into a savings account? You won't be missing out as you'd have spent the money anyway, but by squirreling it away, you could build up a nice rainy day fund that can be put to far better use than unused subscriptions.

It's all about being in control, and if you make sure to stay on top of your subscriptions and check that you're not spending money needlessly, you could reap the rewards.

What next?

Compare easy access savings accounts for that rainy day fund

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.