One in ten millennials admit to spending upwards of $200 a month on subscription services ranging from Birchbox to Netflix to the gym
Unsubscribe to this wasteful way of life.
Roughly one in ten millennials (9.3%) admit to spending $200 or more every month on subscription services, ranging from Netflix to Birchbox, according to a survey of 600 millennials between ages 18 to 34, recently published by Instamotor.
Often, these subscriptions are a waste of our money. Indeed, according to previous research conducted by consumer finance organization Hiatus, consumers spend more than $500 billion per year on subscription services, but more than 70% say they’d have cancelled their subscriptions previously — except, they forgot. “You could be wasting hundreds of dollars per year by not keeping track of your subscriptions,” said Hiatus co-founder David Callis in a statement.
Here tips on how we can cut back on our expensive subscription habits:
- Make a list: It’s easy to forget which subscription services you’ve registered for, says financial advisor David Rae. “You might be surprised, if you go back to your credit card [to find that], ‘I forgot I have Hulu; I haven’t watched it in six months. I forgot I have two gym memberships.” Track monthly charges on your latest billing statements, and tally up how much they’re costing you; if you really want to be thorough, go back over a year’s worth of bank and credit card statements and check for subscription charges.
- Cancel services you haven’t used within the past month: “If you’re not using [one of these services] within the first 30 days, that should be enough time,” to assess whether or not you’re going to use it at all, says consumer tech analyst Rick Singer, founder of GreatApps.com. “If you go to a store and buy something new, you usually want to use it right away,” Singer says, noting that subscription services ought to follow the same premise. If you’re not using it, cut it, and remember to be careful about signing up for those pesky free trials too. Often, after the first seven, 14, or 31 days of free access, you’ll start accruing a sneaky charge.
- Eliminate redundancy: There are some programs that are exclusive to one streaming entertainment service or another, like Game of Thrones to HBO Now or House of Cards to Netflix. But, undoubtedly, there’s a lot of overlap between leading services, like music platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music. Try to limit yourself to one or two related services, and reassess if you feel deprived in a few weeks’ time, experts advise.
- Split up the services among friends: One way to make subscriptions more affordable is among your friend group is to assign each friend to pay for one. For instance, you could pay the monthly subscription for HBO Now and invite your friends to watch Game of Thrones at your place every week, while another mutual friend of yours pays for Netflix and hosts you and your social circle when you gather to watch Stranger Things at their place. Rae says this is a great way to have access to your favorite entertainment options, at a lower cost to each singular member of the group.
- Find cheaper alternatives: When it comes to subscriptions like gym memberships, you don’t need to splurge to get in a workout. Singer points out inexpensive options like Planet Fitness, where memberships cost just $10. “If someone needs to cut back and still wants to do something, you can go to a place like that.” The same can be said for music streaming apps like Tidal and Apple Music — Tidal can charge you as much as $19.99 a month if you opt for the “High Fidelity” streaming option, but Singer says most users are likely to be just as satisfied with the lower cost Apple Music option at $9.99 a month (or Spotify at the same price, for that matter).
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