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From music streaming to gym memberships, UK adults are spending an average of £18.62 a month on subscriptions – and some of that could be money wasted.

Are you paying for subscriptions you’re not using?

From music streaming to gym memberships, UK adults are spending an average of £18.62 a month on subscriptions – and some of that could be money wasted.

Popular subscription services also include delivery plans, credit reports, magazine or newspaper subscriptions and hobby memberships and we’re spending more on them than ever. TopCashback found the average spend in 2017 is up by £3.38 from 2016.

Yet despite the outlay, a third of us (36%) feel we don’t get the best value from the services. The research also found half of people don’t use their gym membership at all, while only two in five (38%) use their TV streaming service every day.

So how do you work out if you can save money on your subscriptions? We’ve put together a five-step action plan to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.

Find out exactly what you’re paying

Take a look at your bank statements and note down all the subscriptions you’re spending money on. If you started off with free or discounted trials, you might find they cost more than you expected. You might even have one or two you completely forgot about.

It’s also worth thinking about the total cost too, and whether you can afford it. Added together they probably cost far more than you thought. Are they worth it?

Work out whether you’re using your subscriptions enough

It’s easy to sign up for a subscription thinking you’ll use it. You might have started with the best intentions, but how often do you actually go to the gym? Or do you find you’re still listening to old albums rather than streaming new tunes? 

It helps to work out the cost per use to get an idea of whether the subscription is worth it. So if you’re only using your TV streaming service for a couple of programmes a week and it’s costing you £8 a month, it might be cheaper to wait until you can binge the whole boxset in one go through a pay-as-you-go service or DVD.

Some subscriptions are seasonal too. If you’re likely to be spending the spring and summer nights and weekends out, you’re less likely to take advantage of any home-based services you’re paying for.

Make a note for when subscriptions renew

Most services will auto-renew, so make a note in your calendar for when this happens, particularly if the subscription is annual. This way you’ve got a visual nudge or alert to prompt you to reassess if you actually want to keep subscribing or not.

Some subscriptions will have a notice period, often 30 days, and you might need to cancel four or five working days before the renewal date to get the cancellation processed.

Cancel the ones you don’t use

If following these steps suggests something is bad value, then cancel it. You can always start the subscription up again if you decide you’re missing the service.

Check there aren’t any penalties or fees for cancelling early, though it’s worth asking if you can get a refund on some services you don’t want to keep using until you can end the contract.

See if you can get a better deal

Often you’ll be offered a cheaper price to come back once you’ve cancelled, or you might be able to track down other ways to save on your subscription. But don’t do it on a whim. Only sign up once you’ve followed these steps again. Even if you’re making savings, if you’re not using the subscription it’ll still be money wasted that you could use for something better.

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