What better way to lose money than forget that you’re paying it? Many subscription models bank on two fundamental principles to squeeze extra payments from their customers. First, these companies hope that you’ll forget about that recurring credit card charge. Second, they make canceling a hassle, and hope that customers will give up instead of canceling their service.
Subscription services appeal to our love of convenience. Thousands of companies now offer a variety of subscription services. Companies such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Hungry Harvest deliver ready-to-make meals or produce to your doorstep for a recurring weekly or monthly charge, while other niche companies offer a variety of useful services. Have a dog? Bark Box will deliver treats and chew toys. Need to shave? Dollar Shave Club delivers shaving products straight to you at a discount. Pretty much anything you need can be delivered to your door.
Subscription-based companies hope you’ll love their product indefinitely…but that’s likely not the case. And when you’re ready to cancel, they hope that you’ll forget so they can squeeze a few more deliveries and earn those extra few dollars out of you. Here’s how to better track and end automatic subscription services.
Identify all Subscriptions Services Now
Before adding any more, sit down and identify all the subscription services you currently use. While most of us have entertainment subscription services (cable, shows, phone, music), you may currently enjoy others including some of the following:
- Food: Blue Apron, Imperfect, MunchPak, MistoBox, Bon Appetit
- Clothes: Stitch Fix, Kidbox, Trunk Club, Wantable
- Pets: Kitnip Box, Bark Box, Rescue Box, Loot Pets, Pooch Perks
- Personal Hygiene: Dollar Shave Club, Sudz Club, Smile Box
- Creativity: Kiwi Crates, Darby Smart, Sketch Box, Creation Crate
- Niche: Vella Box, Hippie Holiday, FabFitFun, BeautyArmy
Once you’ve identified them, quickly chart which services are weekly, biweekly, monthly, every three months, every six months, or yearly. Gather all the info, and then get ready to…
Read all the Fine Print
Before you agree to any subscription service, it’s imperative to read the small print. How often will your card be charged? When will it be charged? How do you cancel? When do you need to cancel to avoid an unwanted delivery? Know the rules before you sign up, or review the rules if you’re already signed up.
Immediately Make a Calendar Note
While knowing when the company will charge your card for their services for budget purposes, it’s more important to know when you need to cancel. So for example, if the company charges your card on the 15th of each month, but you need to cancel two weeks before this charge, you should make a note on your calendar that you’d need to cancel the service on the 1st of the month. You could also set a helpful reminder with Alexa or Siri. Forgetting this information would lead to an extra delivery or a late termination fee. Highlight this date so it pops and set it as a recurring notice. Review your calendar monthly to decide if you need to cancel any subscriptions.
Just Do It
When you decide to cancel, do it immediately. Don’t hem or haw. Be prepared to endure a maze of pressing buttons and waiting to talk to someone on the other end. Unfortunately, many services don’t allow customers to simply click and unsubscribe from their services; it’s part of their business model.
Trim exists as an AI assistant that works on your behalf to identify and cancel unwanted subscriptions and negotiate lower rates when possible on monthly services like cable. It was developed to help individuals stay on budget. Users must link accounts such as credit cards, so do your research to determine if Trim would be right for you. Reviews span the spectrum from great (saved the user money) to horrible (attempted to negotiate cable bill without user’s approval). The program is currently free to download, but will take a percentage of profit if it successfully lowers a bill.
On a final note: many companies offer discounts when you sign up if you subscribe on a three month, six month, or yearly basis. Watch for these subscriptions as the charges are easier to forget when they only happen twice or once a year. You may save on the monthly deliveries, but it’s easier to miss the cancelation period.