How much are you paying in monthly subscriptions? 1

Time to budget check: How much are you paying in monthly subscriptions?

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Nov 30 2021 12:16 PM | Updated as of Nov 30 2021 05:43 PM

Before life in lockdown, our family was enrolled only in 3 subscriptions: for our mobile phone services, Spotify and Netflix. Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, we discovered streaming services for Korean and Chinese drama, in-game subscriptions, sticker packs for messaging services, YouTube Premium, Japanese snack boxes, organic fruits and vegetable boxes, Cloud storage, and so the list goes.

Subscription services are actually nothing new. Retail companies looking for a steady stream of revenues offer attractive subscription services to consumers, and the stickier their offer, the more you – and your wallet - become entangled in their pricey web. Now is as good a time as any for a budget check and discover if your subscription services are draining your budget.

#1 Write them all up

The best place to start is to find out just how many subscription services you are paying for. Is it 1, 2, 3 or as many as a dozen? You can start with your credit card statement to see what you are paying for. Go to your tablet plus your mobile phone too and discover all the subscriptions you are enrolled in.

#2 How much are they costing you?

When your list is ready, write next to them the fees you are paying. This may be a monthly rate, or quarterly or annual depending on which payment mode you signed up for. For the quarterly or annual prices, divide them by 3 or 12 so that you can see the monthly cost for each subscription service.

#3 Good or bad news?

Did the list shock you? Let’s hope that it will at least show subscription services you actually use, and that you are not paying for something that you sampled once and then forgot about. In my case, I discovered I paid an annual subscription for a video streaming service to watch one drama with no ads. In hindsight, I should have chosen the monthly package. 

#4 Decide what to keep and what to cancel 
If your total cost is much, much more than you expected, it’s a good time to start canceling some subscriptions. You may want to use a 3 point ranking system: 1 for must keep, 2 for negotiable and 3 for junk. Your priorities will determine what are the 1s, such as Cloud storage for all your photos, or mobile phone services because you do not want to downgrade to a prepaid line.

#5 Time to negotiate

I had several 2s, so I looked at cheaper ways to keep those subscriptions. If you haven’t discovered family packages, check it out for huge savings. With YouTube Premium, you can continue to enjoy the ad free access and more and share with as many 5 others for as low as P239 monthly. Single users pay P159 so the family rate is a sweet deal. I also found out that some of the Chinese dramas are available on YouTube so one of my 2s became a 3 so more savings for me.

#6 Say no to automated renewals

One reason subscription fees can get out of hand is when you agree to automated renewals. This means they can keep charging you until you proactively cancel. Consider turning off automated renewals unless it will result in a higher fee (no more special rate) or inconvenience to you (such as losing files from Cloud storage). Plus, if you cancel automated renewal, chances are the service provider will write you before cancellation if you want to extend and then you can decide to say yes or pass.

#7 Make a budget and stick to it

Once you finished spring-cleaning your subscriptions, why not make a budget and stick to it? Nothing wrong with trying new services but if you have a budget, you can quickly check if you will be spending over it. A budget also helps you to stay on track such as you can try a new subscription but you need to give up one first. One big red flag is if you are subscribed to more than 2 or 3 video streaming services. Where would you have the time to watch it all? Friendly reminder here: you are also supposed to be working to make money to pay for all those subscriptions.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.


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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.