We subscribe monthly to so many things these days – TV streaming, music streaming, premium content for podcasts and newsletters. Each item individually may seem like only a few dollars per month, but what is easy to lose track of is how many subscriptions we have. Do we even still use some of the things we’re paying for monthly? Today we’re going to take stock. (If you prefer to watch video, scroll to the bottom of this post.)
Print off one complete month of bank account AND credit card statements. With a highlighter in hand look for one specific type of transaction – monthly subscriptions. Anything you pay for monthly where the payment automatically comes out of your account or charged to your credit card that is not a utility bill. Do not judge at this point whether or not these are services you need. First, just get an overall look at what you subscribe to.
Once you’ve highlighted all of your subscriptions – streaming services, music services, digital magazines, premium newsletters, extra insurances on digital purchases, gaming apps…. I found an insurance payment on my five-year-old laptop once! FIVE YEARS of $10/month! The laptop isn’t even worth it after one or two years. (Companies count on you forgetting!!)
- Step 1 – Highlight all of your monthly subscriptions.
- Step 2 – Add them up. You may be surprised how much you’re spending each month on subscriptions.
- Step 3 – Consider each subscription individually. Do you use it? Does it add value to your life? Did you even remember signing up for it? Intentionally consider the impact of each subscription. Is it worth the money you’re spending on it each month? Be ruthless, this is your hard-earned cash.
Be careful of your thought process as you go through this exercise. It’s very easy to get caught up in thinking, “But it’s only $5 or $10 per month, that’s nothing, so I’ll just keep this subscription.” Five or $10 per month adds up and quickly. If you have five subscriptions at $10 per month, that’s $50 per month.
An idea to consider going forward, especially if you enjoy your subscriptions, is do you need them all year long? For example, if you have subscriptions to both Netflix and Disney+ for TV streaming, could you pay for Netflix for six months and then switch over to Disney+ for six months? Do you really need to have them both all year or can you get caught up on your shows in a shorter amount of time?
As your looking over your banking statements, be careful not to get distracted by the other things in your account that catch your attention… If you want to scare yourself with how much you spend on coffee every month, fine, but do that after you’ve completed this task.
The most important step of this challenge today, is to go through each subscription that is no longer serving you and take the time — right now, to cancel the ones that no longer make sense.
Ongoing attention to where you’re spending your money is important. I’d encourage you to repeat this exercise every six months to one year to evaluate if your subscriptions are still serving you. Our priorities change over time.
I welcome your ideas, thoughts, and questions in the comments below.
Remember you can share your journey with me and others by using hashtag #MarchMicroMinimizing, and tag me on Facebook or Instagram using handle @suzannegouldenILC.
Here’s me talking about subscriptions!