Designed to save us both time and money, digital subscriptions have become an intrinsic part of our lives. Whether you’re looking to catch up on the latest episode of Games of Thrones, stay in touch with friends, or listen to some tunes from your favourite music artist, subscription services from the likes of Spotify, Netflix, Now TV, Sky and O2 make it all possible. However, the problem is that a lot of us don’t always use the services we subscribe to; think unused gym memberships, or mobile call allowances that remain untouched. Before you know it, your monthly bills stack up and you’re spending way more than you ever intended (or needed!) to . As we officially step into winter, it’s time to take back control of your spending.
Shane Clifford, CEO and Co-Founder of WonderBill, a household bill management app, shares his top tips on how to get the most of your subscriptions without breaking the bank:
Watch out for deals
Throughout the year, companies have a tendency to offer a range of subscription ‘deals’. If the deal seems to be too good to be true, ensure you look into the terms and conditions before signing up. Often, these package deals may include offerings you’ll never use – making it more expensive than if you just paid for what you required. Even worse, you might end up entering a lengthy contract – a sticky situation if you suddenly decide that you want to call it quits.
Time for an autumn clean
Most subscriptions are set to automatically renew, so if you’re not savvy, they can easily slip into your monthly credit card statement without realising you’ve just entered a whole new contract period. Don’t fall into this trap! Take a step back and look at the subscriptions you’ve been using so far. If there are any services you haven’t used for the past month or two, consider cancelling it, or scheduling the date it’s due to end so that you can give yourself a reminder. While there are some shows such as House of Cards that are exclusive to a specific platform, some services might overlap such as Spotify and Apple music. Try to limit yourself to one such service, and reassess if you need to resign up to it in a few weeks’ time.
Consumption versus usage
When diving into the world of mobile phone contacts, don’t be sold on overly generous allowances you’ll never use. Do you really need unlimited minutes or 8GB of data? Keep a check on how much data you actually use on a monthly basis and consider switching providers depending on usage, rather than the overall value of the package. It’s likely to end up being more budget-friendly in the long-term. This concept also applies to streaming content subscriptions such as Netflix and Now TV. Ultimately, if you understand exactly what you need and when you need it, you’re in a much better position to choose the right subscription for you.
Trial and test
Find the best services for you by testing out a few options. Most subscription services offer a free trial, and you can easily cancel them if you’re not happy so you’re not locked into a lengthy contract. Some trials last a few days and some last even a month or two, so make the most of them while you can.
Use the right tools for the job
Managing all subscriptions can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are endless tools and apps available that can help you take control of both your subscriptions and household bills. To make your life easier, try finding an app that consolidates everything in one place so that you can start to build an overall picture. Even if you’re in the middle of your contracts, it’s never too late to start monitoring your usage.
Sharing is caring
This may seem like the most obvious tip, but definitely worth doing if you aren’t already. Several services such as Spotify and Netflix allow you to share accounts with your colleagues, flatmates or family, where you can save several pounds rather than paying for an individual account.
As the entertainment world moves towards a subscription-based business model, it’s time to adapt your habits and budgeting skills so you can make the most of the unlimited content without breaking the bank.