If you’ve started digging through the newspaper for grocery coupons or cutting back on going out to save a few bucks, I’m certainly not going to tell you to stop. But I am going to tell you about another place where you could easily save money: subscriptions you don’t really need. How many charges automatically go to your credit card and how many do you really want? Now is a good time to reconsider all your subscriptions.
I usually don’t have more than two issues of any magazine around. I subscribe to just enough to get me through a month of gym visits, although I fell behind over the holidays. My husband, on the other hand, has a huge stack of unread magazines. If you don’t read everything you receive, take each one out and take a hard look at it. If you don’t like it, call up right now to cancel before it auto-renews. You may even get a refund for the balance of the subscription.
You may not even think about all those monthly charges that show up from various websites. Did you accidentally sign up for a recurring subscription? Did you forget to cancel within the free window? Did you stop using the service after a while? If you use it, is it a service you really need? Scour your bill for recurring charges and consider cancelling them.
For many people cancelling cable is ridiculous. I would never cancel cable entirely. We have, however, reduced our premium subscriptions. Consider keeping a cable log to see how often you really watch those channels. Is it worth the monthly fee or would it be cheaper to rent the movies/shows on DVD? If you watch mostly network TV, can you cancel cable entirely?
If you don’t go more than ten times a month, you’re probably wasting your money. There are many cheaper ways to work out. If you tell yourself that keeping the membership will motivate you to go, think again. Has that motivation worked so far?
If you’ve got teenagers, then you probably have gaming subscriptions. They may pitch a fit about cancelling them. If they do, tell them it’s now their responsibility to pay for the subscriptions. It can come out of their allowance or other money they earn, but you shouldn’t be eating all those monthly fees unless you actually use the service.
Cell Phone Subscriptions
I’m not suggesting you get rid of your cell phone. I am suggesting that you take a good look at your bill. Do you need the full data plan? Do you need all those minutes? If you have kids, do they exceed the text-message limit? Consider having them pay for an unlimited plan or making them pay for over-limit texts.
I love our Blockbuster membership, but I do wonder if we’re getting the full value. We currently get three at a time. In the summer and the holidays, we watch a lot of movies. But during the TV season, we don’t always watch three a week. Figure out how many you rent every month. If you watch three movies a month and have a $20 a month plan, that’s over $6.50 a movie. You’d be better off renting them from a local store or hunting for a Redbox machine. However, if you watch 12 movies a month, then you’re only paying $1.66 a movie – definitely a good deal.
Book or CD Clubs
I’ve been a member of two book clubs. My husband belonged to a CD and a DVD club. We both cancelled our service once we’d fulfilled the requirements. Some publishers also have their own clubs that send you mysteries or romance novels every month. Usually these include books that aren’t sold in stores, or the books are discounted. However, it may not be worth the money if you don’t get around to reading those books.
Do you read the newspaper every day? For some, the daily paper is still a must. I cut back to Sunday only ($1 a week) a few years ago. Right now, the paper has shrunk so much, that I really only do it for the coupons. I recently noticed that the coupon circulars are delivered to my apartment building in a big bundle. If that continues after we move, I may cancel the Sunday paper altogether.
If you start looking through your bills, I’m sure you’ll find at least a hundred dollars in recurring bills that you could get rid of. Since you don’t really need them in the first place, it’s an easy way to cut back without suffering.