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4 Smart Steps to Manage Subscription Spending

February 17, 2022
Mother and daughter looking at a phone
Illustration of top households
Source: U.S. Households With a Top SVOD Service Steady at 78% | Video Streaming App Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022)

Trying to save some extra money? Consider reviewing how much you spend on subscription services in order to cut some unnecessary spending out of your monthly budget. In fact, a 2021 study revealed that most Americans vastly underestimate how much they spend on subscriptions by a whopping 340%! To get a holistic view of how much you actually spend on recurring services, consider making these four simple moves.

1. Take a broad look at your subscription services

You might think the biggest culprits siphoning off your budget each month are streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. With more and more streaming options hitting the market (Disney+, anyone?) these expenses can quickly add up. But don’t forget, there are many other categories that fall under automatic charges each month. Music, subscription boxes, gym memberships, cloud storage, food deliveries, and smartphone app charges all eat away at your budget. Subscription management apps like Truebill can help you identify these subscriptions by crawling your bank or credit card statements and finding recurring charges. An additional benefit is they may help you get better rates on existing bills by negotiating on your behalf.*


2. Review your subscriptions quarterly

Monthly subscription cost perception vs. reality
Source: The State of Subscription Services Spending

Once you realize how much you’re spending on subscriptions monthly, cut back on the extra services you don’t use frequently. Doing this audit shouldn’t be a one-time task; instead try to make it at least a quarterly habit. After all, you’re likely to add new expenses as your interests shift and you should make sure you’re still using the existing subscriptions. Set a calendar reminder to unsubscribe from unused services on a regular basis. There are a variety of apps that will review your subscriptions and prompt you to cancel if you haven’t used them recently.

3. Create another purpose for your new-found cash

Average monthly subscription expenses
Source: The State of Subscription Services Spending

As you free up additional cash from subscription services, don’t spend it on extraneous things. Assign that money to a new savings goal to stay motivated and mindful of your spending. Try using this streaming calculator to determine how much those monthly costs add up over a lifetime. Seeing the total figure over the course of decades illuminates how much you could save up for other worthwhile goals.

4. Set all your recurring subscription charges on a credit card

Subscription services aren’t a bad thing. They’re convenient and can keep you from spending on more expensive items, like going out to the movies or buying every new album you like. You can enjoy your subscription services and easily keep track of them by maintaining all these recurring charges on the same card. Consider utilizing your DCU Visa® Platinum credit card to consolidate your costs and easily review your subscription spending on a monthly or quarterly basis by reviewing your credit card statements.

Don’t have a DCU Visa® Platinum credit card? Apply now, and get smarter about tracking your spending with a low rate and no balance transfer fees.

Please note, membership is required to open a DCU Visa® credit card. Visit our membership eligibility page for more information.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.