How to save money on subscriptions

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As the cost of living crunch continues, people are finding new ways to curb their spending, including new ‘stay-cay’ holiday plans and adopting loud budgeting habits.

You might be surprised to learn how many subscriptions you’ve signed up to without realising it. These might be for streaming platforms, deliveries, wine clubs, clothing, fragrances and even toiletries!

Just by ditching old, unused or expensive subscriptions, Australians are saving on average $56 each month or more than $670 each year.

Here are some top tips from NAB Retail Customer Executive Larna Manson to save money on subscriptions and how to do this in the NAB app.

 

Work out where your money is going

It can feel impossible to keep track of all the subscription payments you might have signed up for along the way.

The Spending tool inside the NAB app can help you categorise all your weekly, month, quarterly and annual subscriptions and direct debits all in one place. If you don’t bank with NAB, your bank might have a similar tool.

  1. Click on More and then Spending
  2. Scroll down to Money Out and click on Subscriptions
  3. Click filter to change the account or the date range to show annual, monthly, or weekly subscriptions

Once you have a list, consider:

  • What is the subscription and what are you using it for?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What account does it come out of?
  • How often is it debited?

 

Explore your options

Once you’ve got a grasp on all the different subscriptions you’re signed up to, explore your options:

  • Pause or downgrade a service: You might find you can downgrade or choose a newer or cheaper plan that contains ads, reduces the number of devices you can stream on or the number of regular deliveries.
  • Switch plans: shift from individual plans to family or partner plans to split the costs.
  • Bundle subscriptions: Some platforms offer you the option of bundling multiple subscriptions in one place so you can see and manage them more easily, and even apply discounts when you have multiple services.
  • Use it or lose it: if you aren’t using it, pause it to work out if you need it, or cancel it altogether.

 

De-clutter

If you’ve decided to cancel or pause a service, make sure you know where that option is.

Sometimes you might find the option to cancel or pause a service is buried deep through a platform’s account settings, profile or payment options. You might even find the words ‘cancel’ or ‘unsubscribe’ aren’t obvious and you’ll need to toggle a payment button from ‘on’ to ‘off’. It depends on the platform.

  • FAQs available on a subscription platform’s website can help you track down the option you’re looking for.
  • If you can only cancel via live chat, or by calling up, set time aside in your day to do so.
  • Cancel directly through your app store, it is as simple as pressing “cancel subscription”.

 

Set a reminder

Everyone loves a free trial period but you’ll often have to provide your payment details at the point you sign up and you’ll be automatically debited after that.

Set a reminder in your phone or calendar to re-assess the service a few days before payment comes out.

You might find you can sign up and cancel straight after at the same time so you can take advantage of the free trial and decide if it’s worthwhile, without the risk of missing the payment date.

 

Don’t feel guilty

Many platforms, services and subscriptions will tempt you with discounts, credits or other benefits to stay before you can make it through to cancel or pause.

“The most important thing is not to feel guilty,” Larna said.

“Try to resist the temptation of half price, free months or other retention offers, especially if you’ve made the decision to cancel or pause your service.”

“Remember, you’re in control of what you’re spending or saving money on.”

 

Find more personal finance articles on NAB News.

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