While there are apps and websites to help us keep track of our subscriptions, I have discovered a few money leaks by keeping track of them now. The subscription industry is huge, promising to make our lives easier! Less to keep track of. In a survey from 2018, the average person spent a little over $200 per month. Whoa…..$2400 per year on just subscriptions! These services can include internet, cell phone coverage, streaming services for video and music, food delivery, health and fitness apps, and more.
With a vast number of subscriptions you can sign up for and the large portion of your monthly budget that they can consume, it’s important to keep track of them. Be sure to cancel or pause any you aren’t using currently to save yourself money. While Amazon is one of our favorites, I went in and cancelled my automatic shipments this week. Sometimes a month from now I really don’t need that particular item and if the price has increased I wasn’t always noticing it.
There are two methods I recommend to my clients when trying to keep track of their subscriptions in our crazy world. This gives you a better insight into what you are spending your money on and whether or not some of the services are worth it.
Build a Subscription Tracking Calendar
The first method is to create a subscription tracking calendar. Use the calendar app on your phone or your computer, create calendar notifications for each of your subscription services. If a subscription is monthly, create a notification each month on the day it is due. In the event name insert the service and the amount. If you don’t have the subscription on auto pay, include a reminder a day or two before to be sure that you pay the bill. If the bill is annual, add a notification for the date each year that it renews. Again, add the amount and set a reminder for yourself so you can take the bill into consideration and adjust your budget. I like to have the subscription reminders all the same color so you can see at a glance when looking at your calendar the due dates.
This method may seem a bit tedious at first. But if you are finding yourself repeatedly with more month than money, this method helps find areas to tighten your spending. It can also ensure you don’t miss any payments.
Create a Subscriptions Spreadsheet
If most of your subscriptions are automatically paid or you don’t want to clutter up your calendar, I recommend building a subscriptions spreadsheet. You can do this in whatever spreadsheet software you regularly use. Key pieces of information to include are:
- what the subscription is (meal plans, medication, pet food, etc.)
- how much it costs
- frequency you are billed for it (monthly, quarterly, annually)
- payment due date
- what account (checking, credit card, etc.) the bill is paid from if paid automatically
- web address for managing your subscription and (optionally) your login information
Update your spreadsheet whenever you sign up for a new subscription or delete others so that you have accurate information.
This method allows you to keep more information and to track your spending over time. It may be you sit down one evening and scrutinize your different services and how much use you get out of them. Cleaning house so to speak.
No matter what method you choose, find one that works for you. As a reminder, notice when trial periods end and send yourself a notification. When you receive a scheduled text message on that day it gives you a gentle reminder. It allows you time to cancel the service if you don’t find yourself using it. In today’s world, subscription services seem to be a fact of life. Developing a strategy for managing them that works for you and can maintain is key!