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How to manage your subscription services and save money

TV, gym, meal delivery, music, software – there’s a growing list of things you can access via subscription services.

Subscriptions can be a convenient way of paying for services, but they can also be easy to forget. A 2019 study in Europe found that 1 in 3 people are paying for subscription services they don’t use1, which means spending more than they need to each month. Even if it’s just an extra charge of £8 a month, that’s almost £100 extra you’re paying out each year.

If you’re looking to cut back on your spending, managing your subscriptions can be a good place to start.

Here’s how.

1. Review your transactions

Start by going through your bank and credit card statements, or looking at your standing orders or Direct Debits for the last 3 months and identifying all the subscriptions you’re being charged for. Make a list and also add the monthly (or yearly, if you pay annually) cost.

2. Cut what you don’t use

Are there any services you’re paying for that you haven’t used in the last month? Is this inactivity temporary, or are you unlikely to use the service anytime soon?

If you can’t see yourself using it in the near future, you may want to consider cancelling it.

3. Assess what you do use

Look at the remaining services - are you happy with what they offer? You may be using a service, but feel you don’t really need it. If you’re unsure, and assuming there are no penalties for cancelling and starting again, you could try going without the service for a month to judge how much value it’s really adding to your life.

4. Look for cheaper alternatives

With the remaining items on your list, are there any cheaper options that would provide a similar service? If there are, consider whether or not you want to trial one to save money.

How to cancel a subscription

What you need to do will depend on the type of subscription you have. If it’s a subscription set up through the App Store or Google Play Store, you should be able to cancel through your phone. See how to do it for:

If you’re an HSBC customer, you can cancel a standing order or Direct Debit at anytime online, or using the mobile app. But make sure to check how to cancel the subscription service first, and follow what you need to do. If you just cancel the standing order or Direct Debit and you’re in a contract, there may be a penalty.

What next?

With any money you’re saving from reducing your subscriptions, what do you want to put it towards? For example, you may want to:

Looking ahead, it could be worth reviewing your subscriptions every 6 months to make sure you’re happy with where your money is going.


1Opportunities for retail banks in the subscription economy, minna technologies, June 2019

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