How to Save Big by Cutting Subscriptions You Don't Use
Take a close look at your next credit card bill and you’ll likely find a surprise.
Didn’t find anything unusual?
Take a closer look.
Chances are there’s at least one recurring charge for a subscription service you’ve forgotten or never use. Or if you do use it, it’s maybe once a month.
Wouldn’t it be nice to end subscriptions you don’t use anymore?
Some apps can do that chore for you, for a small fee. Or you can do it yourself for free by paying with your time to pore over your credit card bill and making the calls to cancel unwanted services.
Either way, here are some ways to start saving money:
The app Truebill claims that 84% of people have subscriptions they’ve forgotten about. It helps users find and cancel unwanted subscriptions.
One way it does this is by having customers link their bank accounts to Truebill so it can figure out what they’re paying for each month. Each recurring payment is grouped together on the app so you can easily see what services you’re paying for regularly.
Truebill gives you the contact information to cancel a subscription. A premium version starts at $3 per month and provides automated cancellations.
Truebill also lets people know if a subscription cost has risen so they can reconsider keeping it.
This is a similar service to Truebill. It charges $6 to cancel subscriptions that require sending a letter or making a phone call.
Trim also connects users’ bank accounts. It then analyzes spending patterns to find ways to save money. It also negotiates cable, internet, phone and medical bills.
It analyzes transactions to find recurring subscriptions. You can then ask it to cancel any you no longer want.
Have you ever gotten a free trial subscription to Disney+ to watch “The Mandalorian” or wanted to check out Apple TV+ for free for a week? Did you let a Netflix subscription start after watching “Stranger Things” when there’s nothing else you want to watch?
The credit card company Mastercard doesn’t want those free cord-cutting trials to continue as paid subscriptions if you don’t want them to.
It started a policy in January 2019 requiring merchants to get a cardholder’s approval via text or email at the end of a trial before they start billing. The message must include the transaction amount, payment date, and instructions on how to cancel. It’s only for free trials.
Manage Subscriptions on Your Phone for Free
If you subscribe to something through your phone, you can easily find recurring charges on it and cancel it.
On an iPhone, go to Setings > (your name) > iTunes & App Store, then tap Subscriptions to see if any appear. Expired subscriptions will also appear. You can tap on the subscription you want to manage, including hitting “Cancel Subscription.”
On Android, open the Play Store app. Tap the hamburger menu and tap Subscriptions to view a list of recurring purchases. You can then edit payment options or cancel the subscription.
Apps to Track Subscriptions Manually
Some apps that you don’t have to link to your bank account can monitor and notify you of recurring bills after you enter recurring paid subscriptions manually. They’re basically free bill reminders that can be used to track subscriptions.
The iOS app Bobby syncs data via iCloud, and has security with passcodes, Face ID, or Touch ID.
On Android, Subby does the same thing, notifying you of an impending charge and you can note when you’ve paid the bill.
Another option is TrackMySubs. You enter data and it will display the cost of each subscription and when the service is due to renew. Up to 10 services can be tracked on the service’s free tier. More can be added with an upgrade by paying $5 to $15 per month.
Make the Calls Yourself
You can, of course, check your credit card statement each month and track your recurring expenses. This shouldn’t be too much trouble.
The next step of calling to cancel subscriptions you no longer use or want is a little more work, but not much.
You should be able to cancel without making a phone call. It’s an app, right? And they should have “account information” areas to cancel subscriptions.
Still, some services make it difficult, so you may have to call. Be prepared to be put on hold, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when call centers are busy. Asking to stop a service is a simple request, so it shouldn’t take much time once you get through to a customer service representative.
If they can’t help or keep trying to offer you deals to stay, ask to talk to a supervisor so you can cancel.
The last thing you want is someone trying to convince you to keep a service you no longer use.