We’ve officially become a nation of subscribers.
From TV streaming services to food and meal delivery kits, personal hygiene products and beauty buys, fitness subscriptions, as well as crafts kits and toy boxes, there isn’t anything we aren’t happy to subscribe to.
Yet many of us are vastly overspending on subscriptions, shelling out a monthly sum on services we don’t need or use.
We’re all guilty of signing up to subscriptions and not keeping tabs on them. Read on for some easy ways to monitor your outgoings, as well as some ideas on how to consolidate your subscriptions to save your hard-earned cash.
You don’t need as many as you think you do
Here’s a staggering figure: Over 13 million households in the UK had Netflix in the first quarter of 2020, a number that’s continuing to rise. Thing is, lots of those households are likely to also have Sky, NOW TV, Amazon or Disney+, too.
That’s the thing about subscription services: They’re kind of addictive. You find a produce box with vegetables, and then you decide you should also start getting one with fish. Or you decide that a weekly flower delivery would simply be fabulous on top of those wine kits you’re loving.
While subscriptions are a treat in the post every time they show up, as well as a lovely way to support small businesses - OK, they’re ultra-convenient too – we don’t need them all. Give your subscription services a good audit to determine which ones are worth keeping because you’re enjoying and using them, and which ones can be ditched.
If you live with others, it’s worth checking in to see if they want to split the cost on any subscriptions with you.
You probably have a couple you’ve forgotten to cancel…
Almost a third of adults in the UK are paying over £100 on subscriptions they no longer want - or need, according to research from Marcus Goldman Sachs.
The best way to remedy this? Well, it’s going to involve a deep-dive into your direct debits, which we’d recommend anyway if you’re trying to save money (you should know what you’re spending on, and start diverting some money into a savings account automatically each month).
We’d also suggest setting up notifications whenever your direct debit subscriptions do come out of your account, so you’re aware of what’s happening, when - and exactly how many you have on the go at once. This will help you keep track of where your money is going, so that you can trim any non-essentials and start saving.
Try bundling your services together
Subscriptions fall into a couple of different categories: The luxury, rather lovely but not strictly necessary ones, and the absolute essentials that we can’t survive without (weekly produce box to save us from making unnecessary supermarket trips).
If you have your broadband, phone and TV with a few different providers, you could be missing a trick - and giving yourself extra hassle: bundling your services makes it easier to pay it all in one bill, and will likely be cheaper, too. Start comparing broadband deals now at Compare the Market, which will bring up various options when you type in your postcode. Then you can further personalise your search based on factors like speed and contract length.
Skip a delivery - and make the most of discounts
If you’re keen to save on your subscriptions but don’t want to give them up entirely - you don’t have to. Take a look at how regularly you’re subscribing, and simply reduce your costs by skipping a delivery or changing the schedule so you’re receiving items on a monthly, rather than weekly, basis.
If you’re disciplined, you can also benefit from hefty discounts and freebies with loads of these subscription services: Magazines and papers, as well as streaming services like Audible, Amazon Kindle and Amazon Prime, often provide access for a month or two for free.
Recipe boxes like Hello Fresh tend to discount heavily for the first couple of boxes, and you can also get discounts for referring others who subscribe. Just remember to make a note of when your free offer is up so you don’t end up paying for something you don’t need.
Meerkat Your Bills, Meerkat Your Life with Compare the Market’s online comparison tools
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.