Save Your Budget - Audit Your Subscriptions
Aug 18, 2023
Do you know how much you’re paying for your subscriptions every month and every year? According to a West Monroe survey, most people don’t.
West Monroe surveyed Americans in 2018 and again in 2021 and found that consumers’ estimates about their monthly costs were only getting worse. According to the more recent survey, nearly 90% of consumers underestimate how much they spend on subscriptions, often by $100 to $300. And, it found, the average monthly spend went up 15% since the previous survey in 2018, for an additional $430 per year.
It’s easy to lose track of all the expenditures – subscription services permeate our market nowadays, offering services ranging from streaming to meal kits, shaving supplies, pet toys and more. Plus, autopay makes it easy for subscriptions to fly under the radar.
With the increased costs, it’s more important than ever to perform an audit of your subscriptions.
What Is a Subscription Audit?
Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. A subscription audit is simply a review of your subscriptions in order to catch any recurring payments you may have forgotten about. Plus, if all your subscriptions are paid through the same credit card account, pulling the statements from your institution’s online banking will be just a few clicks.
How to Audit Your Subscriptions
We recommend setting aside an hour at least once a year or every few months to go over your recurring costs. Especially if you’re doing this for the first time, pull all your statements from the past year to make sure you don’t miss any annual or semi-annual subscription fees.
If you’ve subscribed to any mobile apps, you can view your list of subscriptions through your mobile device as well. On Apple® devices, head to settings and tap your Apple ID to view your subscriptions. Android users can go to Google Play™, tap your profile icon and select “Payments and Subscription.”
Once you have your statements in front of you, make a list of all the recurring payments. We also advise including your mobile, internet and cable plans into this. According to the same West Monroe survey, many Americans view their mobile plan like a utility, but if you’re looking to save money, it’ll be useful to know how much you’re paying every month in case you want to negotiate better deals or switch plans.
Now that you have your list, see if there are any recurring costs that you have forgotten about, such as that free trial you didn’t cancel or a gym membership that fell out of use. If you aren’t using the service, cancel it!
Some subscriptions are more tempting to keep. Think long and honestly about how much you use these services, and if you’re truly missing something by cancelling your subscription. After all, do you really need to be paying for three different video streaming services, or a fitness app and a gym membership? If you’re not regularly using a service or saving money in the long run by keeping it, it may be time to say goodbye – for now, at least. You can always sign up again later if you truly miss it!
Future-proof Your Monthly Spend
Once your first audit is complete and you’ve cancelled the subscriptions you don’t need anymore, we recommend making a spreadsheet of all your current ongoing subscriptions. This will make future audits even easier. Make it as detailed as you like, though we advise at least including the renewal date and the monthly or yearly cost. You could also include a note about how to cancel the service if you decide to do so down the road.
Want to sign up for more free trials in the future? Try setting a calendar reminder to cancel them before the trial ends and your card gets charged – or worse, you forget about them entirely. Your wallet will thank you.
And finally, reallocate those savings! By clearing out your subscriptions and potentially getting better deals on your existing ones, you could save a lot of money each month. Put that money towards credit card debt, your regular or emergency savings, or even a nice, one-time reward for completing your audit!