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Bottom Line Up Front

  • These days, it seems almost everyone has an online subscription, such as Spotify or Netflix.
  • While it might be nice to subscribe to a variety of online services, the costs can add up without you realizing it.
  • Cut the costs of your online subscriptions through family sharing, finding free alternatives and canceling subscriptions you rarely use.

Time to Read

3 minutes

Millions of subscribers pay for mobile apps like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime. But, if you’re subscribed to more than even one of these services, it can be difficult to manage subscriptions.

Here are a few ways you can keep track of these services to help improve your personal finances: 

Split the payment with friends or family.

While family plans cost more than individual accounts, you can split the recurring payment between other users. This helps you save money and spend less overall on upcoming bills. Sometimes these multiple-user plans even give you extra features—for example, Netflix’s tiers meant for multiple screens also offer HD and UHD streaming, neither of which are available in the lowest tier.

Seek out student or military discounts.

Services such as Spotify and Amazon Prime offer 50 percent off their subscription price if you’re a college student, while others like the music-streaming service Tidal offer military members a discount. Check your subscription account balance to see if you are taking advantage of these discounts. If you take on a new subscription, make sure you elect to receive this discount.

Find free alternatives.

Do you need to pay for that ad-free Spotify subscription? Could you rely on YouTube instead of paying for providers like Netflix and Hulu? Next time you’re in the Apple store on your iPhone or iPad, or the Google Play store on your Android device, check to see if there are free alternatives to the apps you’re interested in when making your next app purchases.

Cancel redundant services with subscription management..

You may have some overlap between your services. For example, you may pay for Amazon Prime for their 2-day shipping benefit, but that means you get Prime Video streaming included with your subscription. By subscription tracking, you may find that having Prime Video in addition to Netflix, Hulu and/or cable TV is redundant for your needs. You could probably unsubscribe from one of them. 

Subscribe only when you need it.

Maybe you only watch one show on a particular streaming service. Instead of paying for a subscription you’re hardly using all year round, you could re-subscribe whenever a new season is released and unsubscribe from your membership once you catch up.  

Track how much you save.

Once you start swapping out and canceling your subscriptions, you can stay up to date on how your changes are impacting your bottom line. Using mobile and online tools like Bill Payalerts and notifications, and Card on File puts you in control of your recurring payments and subscriptions. 

Next Steps Next Steps

  1. If you want to keep track of your monthly spending, we have a great Monthly Spending Calculator which you can use to track your outgoing funds. Once you’ve audited what you’re spending, you can start to think about what’s really important to you to keep. 
  2. If you do end up canceling some of your unused subscriptions, that money could be put into a savings account to start working for you. Our Savings Goal Calculator is a handy tool that will help you determine what you can save for a potential rainy day.

Disclosures

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.