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Brits waste £494m a month on subscriptions: seven ways to save money

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27/03/2019
Brits collectively waste £494m each month on subscriptions that provide poor value for money, a study has shown.

Nearly half of people surveyed said unforeseen price hikes are what they dislike most about subscriptions.

However, nearly a fifth never review their subscriptions and more than a quarter have continued to pay for a subscription without realising the price had increased.

Half of consumers are currently paying for at least one subscription they either do not use or get value for money from, according to the latest instalment of the ‘Forgotten Subscriptions Index’ from TopCashback.

The most unused subscriptions include gym and fitness memberships (33%), TV streaming services (29%), music streaming plans (21%) and product delivery services such as Amazon Prime (11%).

The top reason people continue to pay for subscriptions that provide little value for money is that they might use them at some point.

Another reason for hanging on to subscriptions is ‘FOMO’ – Fear of Missing Out. One in 10 avoid cancelling so they are kept in the loop about the latest shows on the likes of Netflix.

Adam Bullock, UK director of TopCashback, said: “Lots of companies are moving towards subscription-based products as they offer sustained, predictable revenue. And consumers love subscriptions as they offer immediate, convenient access. But our report shows consumers are continuing to pay for the periods of time they’re not using their subscriptions and are losing money as a result.

“As well as keeping an eye on subscriptions to see if they’re still worth the money, moving to pay-as-you-go options is a much more cost-effective approach. And until companies offer variable price plans, cancelling and re-joining can reap rewards as you can access new sign-up discounts and cashback offers.”

Seven ways to cut subscription costs

1. Get a handle on the subscriptions you’re currently paying for. Go through your bank accounts and work out the total cost of all your subscriptions to see if you can still afford them.

2. Be realistic about whether you’re getting value for money. When was the last time you used the service? Are you using it enough to warrant the cost? Can you still afford the monthly payments? Are there cheaper alternatives? If you feel like you’re not getting value for money, you’re better of ditching it.

3. Do some research to see if there’s a way you can pay-as-you-go for the subscriptions you feel you aren’t getting value for money from.

4. For the subscriptions you keep, make a note of when the contract is up so you stay on top of it. Each time a subscription is up for renewal you should decide whether you still need it and can afford it.

5. Set calendar reminders for free trials to ensure you don’t end up locked in a subscription you either don’t want or can’t afford.

6. Haggle for a cheaper price. If you feel you’re paying too much or the service you’ve received hasn’t been great, speak to the company to ask for a discount.

7. If you have the funds available, it’s often worth paying for subscriptions you know you need and use regularly, upfront for a year. Most places will give you a discount for signing up for longer periods of time as it ensures a steady revenue for the business.

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