One thing that can really bust your budget these days are the many subscription services. I call them the "Death of a Thousand Cuts" because in and of themselves they do not add up to a lot per month. This lowers your sales resistance with the thinking, "Oh, it's only a couple of bucks a month!" But those "couple of bucks" really add up over time as more and more services get added.

The Problem

As you have probably discovered by now, subscriptions aren’t just for newspapers and magazines anymore. They now extend to other forms of entertainment and computer services! In addition to the cable bill, there are services like

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime
  • Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.
  • Sirius or XMRadio in your car?
  • OnStar?

Plus software is also moving towards a subscription model. Do you have Office 365 for cloud storage, Word, Excel, etc.? Are you a photographer using Adobes many services offered online, like PhotoShop and Lightroom?

The Solution

These can get out of hand quickly, so along with creating and maintaining a budget, you should create a spreadsheet of every subscription you have, the monthly cost, and the dates they renew. You should then review it every month to see if you are still getting value out of them, or if you wish to cancel before they renew.

Watch your credit card statements to see if the monthly fee increases to a point where it is no longer of value to you. Has your initial commitment period expired, causing your bill to go up? Cable is famous for this! Then maybe it’s time to negotiate a new deal! But it’s better if you see it coming in advance and are proactive.

Keeping an eye on subscription costs is an important part of keeping track of your budget. By getting rid of little used ones (or those that have lost their value), while diligently adding the new ones, you keep the total from getting too high and creating the potential risk of deficit spending.

What's Your Story?

So what subscription services do you have and how much are they socking you for every month? How long have you had them? Are they still worth it? Have they added up to more than you thought every month? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it! Wrangling these expenses is an important part of keeping your budget on track!

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.
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