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Are your subscription services taking over your budget?

Are your subscription services taking over your budget?

Subscription services are becoming very popular in society and almost everyone has at least one subscription service they use frequently. Subscription services can range from beauty supplies, to television and movie platforms, and food delivery. There is no need to have every subscription service out there, but there is a way to have the services you want, at an affordable price.

A rule of thumb is, if you don’t use it, unsubscribe. Many use subscriptions just to watch the newest tv series for a month, then they never open the service again. This can cause the service to charge you each month even when you are not using it. Track your subscriptions by checking your bank statements often and keeping a list on hand as to what subscriptions you have and how much they cost, and get rid of ones you don’t use very often. Some subscriptions only charge you quarterly, which means you only receive their product four times a year. Given how busy your life may be, you may forget when these charges will appear on your credit card.

Here are some tips for saving money on subscriptions you use often.

  1. Beauty boxes are a relatively new type of subscription service. They tend to be low cost, but not every product in the box is useful to every person A way to get the most out of your beauty box subscription is to swap products with a friend that is also getting the same beauty box subscription. This is because every beauty box is unique, and no one will ever have the same products as someone else in their box. This way, you are spending money on products you will use.
  2. Streaming subscriptions are the one type of subscription service many people feel they must have. Watching cable television nowadays does not have all the movies and popular TV shows readily available whenever you want to watch them. While having a subscription service to each streaming service is most ideal, the cost can really get expensive. The best way to track which services you should have is to pick the ones you get the most use out of and cancel the rest. This could save you $20-$30 a month, which could be up to $360 a year.
  3. Take advantage of student discounts. Many subscription services for movies and music offer college discounts. This can help you save up to 50% off your favorite streaming services. As of March 2020, Spotify, Hulu, and Amazon Prime TV all offer student discounts to qualifying students.
  4. Use your skips. Skip months on your services when you know you will not be needing products. This is especially useful for food delivery subscriptions. Do you know if you will be on vacation when a delivery is scheduled to come? Put that service on hold and save yourself money.

There is no doubt that subscription services offer convenience, and at first glance, they may seem cheaper than the alternatives, such as watching cable television. However, the costs of all your subscriptions could be costing you hundreds a dollars per month. By using these savings tips, you will learn how much your subscriptions are costing you, and how you can take charge of your finances each month.

Written by Lisa Batz, Financial Wellness for College Students Peer Educator, University of Illinois Extension, Spring 2020. Reviewed by Kathy Sweedler, University of Illinois Extension.