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Don’t forget to cancel – are you wasting money on subscriptions?

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There's no doubt that many of us relied on subscriptions during the various pandemic lockdowns. From streaming services, to beauty boxes, to Beano for the kids, for many they seemed like a worthwhile treat. But now that things are moving back to normal, are you paying for things you don't use?

Though there are often savings to be made by committing to something rather than buying it each time you need it, we think it's also likely you're paying for a subscription you don't want or no longer need.

We’ve three simple steps to make sure you are on top of your spending and not wasting money on unused subscriptions.

1. Audit your bank statement

Gather together your most recent bank and credit card statements and take a look at what you’ve been buying. If you notice a regular payment, check if it’s something you regularly use. If not, it could be worth cutting back.

If you can go back a year, you might also pick up on annual payments that auto-renew like travel insurance.

2. See how much you waste on unused subscriptions

MoneyHelper has a Budget Planner tool which helps you calculate just where your money is going and how much you would save by cancelling a service.

Enter in the cost of your music streaming or club membership and you might be surprised how much it costs you in a year.

Any subscriptions you’ve signed up to will have a renewal date. Find it and make sure you put a note in your diary so you know to cancel. For annual contracts, you should ideally do this five weeks before to avoid missing the notice period (often 30 days).

Even better, if you can cancel the subscription as soon as you sign up, it’ll mean you definitely won’t forget later in the year. If you want to carry it on, then it’s easy enough to sign up again.

3. Cancel what you don’t need

If you don’t use it, don’t pay for it. Phone, email or write to the provider and get the subscription cancelled. At times this can be tricky and frustrating but persevere!

Watch out for any penalties if you try to leave early, but also ask if you can get a refund – especially with magazine subscriptions.

It’s worth keeping an eye out for retention deals. To keep your business you might be offered another month at a reduced price. That’s great… as long as you use it. Otherwise you’re still paying, albeit less, for something you don’t need.

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