Will Elon Musk be the straw that broke monthly service fee payments?
Probably not, because far too many Americans continue to push cash into the center of the service fee chart. An example: Musk’s $8-a-month “blue check for the masses” bet is sure to have plenty of takers.
That’s the problem for forgetful subscription consumers.
The thing is, monthly fees are so easy to get and can add up so gradually that consumers may not realize they’re paying so much for Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and New York monthly subscription fees. Times (among others).
According to a recent survey by market analyst firm C&R Research, the monthly subscription costs US consumers an average of $219 every 30 days. A separate study by Statista showed that American adults have an average of 12 monthly subscriptions, with millennials having an average of 17 monthly subscriptions.
As crazy as it sounds, most Americans don’t know they owe that much money for their subscriptions. The C&R study noted that survey participants thought they only owed about $86 per month for subscription fees, or $133 less than they actually owe for these fees. Additionally, with so many of these subscription fees on a consumer’s self-pay account, 42% of all subscribers were unaware they were being charged for the service.
“If you can’t remember all the monthly service charges you pay without checking your bank statement, you probably have too many,” said Andrew Latham, financial planner at SuperMoney.com. “Feeling anxious about your monthly service fee is another red flag for a consumer to start making changes.”
Tackling Too Many Monthly Subscription Fees
There’s an old British military quote that says, “Who dares, wins.” Who sweats, wins. Who plans, wins.
So it goes hand in hand with your fight against the aggressive accumulation of monthly subscription fees. With a solid action plan and disciplined execution, you can curb or even eliminate those annoying monthly subscription plans.
Here is a checklist of tips for doing just that.
Know where you are. To get started, review your monthly service charges (check your bank statements for best results) and see how many subscription services you have.
“Then figure out which services you absolutely can’t live without and consider paying for them on an annual or even semi-annual basis,” Latham told TheStreet. “You can often achieve substantial savings by paying lump sums.”
Start cutting back on services you don’t need or use. Now is the time to start shedding the herd and canceling the subscription services you don’t use or need.
“For example, you really don’t need Netflix in 4K when you don’t have a high-end TV to match it,” Latham noted. “It’s also a good idea to negotiate with service providers for lower fees or even share an account with a friend or relative.”
Press the pause button. If you’re not sure if a monthly service fee is worth it, stop service for a month or two. “You might find you can do just fine with free alternatives, like a library card or an account with a free streaming service like the Roku Channel or Tubi,” Latham added.
Always keep an eye on the costs. It’s always a good idea to check for services that may have gone up in price. “I recently negotiated lower prices for cable and satellite radio simply by calling customer service and asking for my old rates after the introductory promotions expired,” said Ted Rossman, principal analyst at the industry at Bankrate.
Take the DIY route first. While there are some good mobile apps that help manage monthly subscription fees, try charting your own path to lower subscriptions first.
“There are some services like Trim and Rocket Money (which absorbed the service previously known as Truebill),” Rossman told TheStreet. “However, they do charge a fee, so take a DIY approach if you can.”
“It’s ironic to pay a subscription fee to help lower your subscription costs, but some people find it helpful to automate the process and get outside help,” Rossman added.
While You’re At It, Look For Bigger Savings. Once you’re in full savings mode, work your way up and revise your larger monthly payments to really save some money.
“Monthly subscription fees can definitely cause a cash crunch, but it’s not the automated spending that’s causing people cash flow problems, it’s the manual spending,” said Joe Allaria, partner at Carson Allaria Wealth Management. . “Cars, homes, travel and food purchases are all non-subscription expenses that have taken by far the biggest dent in many of the struggling budgets I’ve seen.”
This is especially the case for Americans who have cash flow problems.
“If you’re in this scenario, get rid of your car payment of over $500 a month, stop booking expensive vacations, and stop eating out so much,” Allaria said. “It’s much easier to reduce your monthly budget by hundreds or thousands of dollars by making a few big changes than trying to cancel every subscription you have, only to free up a small amount of cash at the end of the month. .”
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