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How to save money on subscriptions, from doing inventories to opting for annual deals – iNews

Three quarters of Brits are currently paying for subscriptions they don’t regularly use, whether that be video streaming services or gym memberships or food deliveries, new findings have revealed.
A survey, commissioned by open banking payments provider TrueLayer in collaboration with YouGov, also found that 38 per cent of the public have kept paying – accidentally or otherwise – for subscription service they’ve stopped using entirely, while almost one in ten (9 per cent) people with subscriptions say they spend over £25 per month on services they don’t regularly use.
Young people were shown to be losing out most, with half of 18 to 24-year-olds paying for subscriptions they have completely stopped using.
Commenting on the findings, TrueLayer’s head of bank partnerships Jana Reid said: “At a time when family budgets are under pressure, these figures demonstrate that people want more control over their finances and too many are caught in a subscription trap.
“The subscription economy has become an important part of how we buy products and services, but currently, it is difficult for consumers to see and make changes to the subscription services they use.
Here i, with the help of some money-saving experts, reveal some top tips to help curb spending on subscriptions.
Before you start scaling back on subscriptions, take time to go through your bank statements and work out exactly which ones you are signed up to. There are also apps, such as Money Dashboard, which lets you see all your accounts in one place, and can make this process much easier.
Be ruthless and cancel any services you don’t use or that you’ve forgotten you had.
Jo Thornhill, a money expert at MoneySuperMarket, says it’s useful to check if you are signed up for any duplicate services. She explains: “For instance, TV or music streaming – if you’ve got Amazon Prime which includes Amazon Music, do you need Apple Music or Spotify as well?”
Sharing subscriptions with your household or with friends and family is a quick and easy way of saving money. There are dozens of companies offering subscriptions that can be shared with multiple people.
For instance, Microsoft 365 Family allows you to share your subscription benefits with up to five other people, while Apple’s Family Sharing group, lets you share Apple subscriptions and eligible App Store subscriptions with other family members.
Netflix also allows you to share your subscription with people you live with, although the company has clamped down on password sharing in bid to generate extra income.
If you know you’re signing up for a service that you’re going to use in the longterm, it often works out cheaper paying annually rather than monthly.
Jo Thornhill of MoneySuperMarket says: “Paying an annual subscription can save you money, and all of this small savings can add up. For example, Disney Plus costs £7.99 a month, or £79.90 for the year. By paying yearly this saves you £15.98.”
Another example is Amazon Prime, with this service costing £7.99 a month or £79 for the year – a saving of £16.88 overall.
Personal finance expert Julian House points out that data from Compare The Market also shows that paying for car insurance upfront can shave £59 off your annual bill.
The average yearly cost of car insurance is believed to be around £400, so removing approximately 15 per cent by paying upfront could make a big difference to your finances.
He adds: “Across multiple industries, discounts are almost always offered on long-term, package deals.”
Consumer champion Which? highlights the importance of shopping around for subscription services to see which companies offers the best value for money.
When it comes to TV and films, the experts recommend using the free app JustWatch as it compares the best price for streaming shows.
They highlight that for example, Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders are available on Netflix and BBC iPlayer. The cheapest Netflix subscription is £6.99 a month, but if you already have a TV licence, BBC iPlayer is free.
Compare The Market also allows you to compare TV and movie streaming packages to find which one offers what you want for the best price.
There are many subscription services offering free trials and if you are savvy you can take advantage of these.
However, it’s important to remember to cancel your trials and it’s best to set a reminder in your calendar so you can opt out before payments start being activated.
On the entertainment front Brean Horne, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet, outlines some of the most popular free trails currently on offer with these as follows:
Once you’ve checked what subscriptions you’re signed up to, it’s worth asking yourself whether the service you pay for offers good value for money.
This isn’t necessarily about the cost of it, but about whether you get a good level of service and your money is well spent.
Brean Horne notes: “For example, if you have a food box delivered every two weeks but the cost of this is more than you would pay if you bought the produce yourself, it’s probably not worth the money. Similarly, paying for free deliveries for a year may not work out cost-effective if the company regularly offers free delivery or you only purchase a couple of times a year.”
Julian House adds: “Some people struggle to assess the actual worth of a subscription, opting to look at it as a mandatory fixed price in order to access a certain service. Rather than trying to guesstimate the market value of a subscription, I would recommend looking at how much you believe your time is worth.
“For example, if you’re paying £10.99 per month for Netflix and you watch three movies and two TV shows per month, on average, do you feel satisfied paying £10.99 to be entertained for that amount of time? It’s certainly cheaper than going to the cinema!
“On the flip side, if you regularly find yourself hopelessly scrolling through Netflix’s menus only to arrive at the conclusion that you’ve wasted 20 minutes and haven’t found anything to watch, then you might be better off cancelling your Netflix subscription and renting movies and TV shows on a one-off basis whenever something tickles your fancy.”
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