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Updated on Tuesday, April 19, 2016
If you struggle each month to stay on track of your budget, you might be looking for some ways to cut back. Probably the best place to start with a budget breakdown is to consider any monthly subscription services that you’re paying that you might not be getting the full use out of. If it’s possible to cut some of those out of your life, you could potentially save hundreds of bucks.
But it might leave you a little down in the dumps to go cold turkey from your monthly pick-me-ups. Here are some tips on how to cut back on monthly subscription services without feeling like you’re actually giving too much up.
1. Take a month to assess
If you’ve decided to trim your budget by cutting out some monthly subscription services, there’s no need to cut everything all at once — and you probably shouldn’t. Cutting out all the fun things you look forward to each month may leave you more vulnerable for spending in other areas to compensate. Instead, take a month to really assess how and when you use each subscription. Are you using Netflix two hours every day, but you’re rarely on Spotify because you use the radio or Pandora at work? How often do you really making it to the gym each month, and is there any way you could forgo the fancy (expensive) gym membership for free weights at home and a run in the park? Keep track of your subscription use in an Excel spreadsheet so you can look back at it at the end of the month and determine what you can really afford to give up — both monetarily and emotionally — and what you would miss too much.
2. Consider a streamlined subscription instead
If you really can’t imagine giving up your subscription services — any of them — then at least consider cutting back where you can. If you pay full price for each one of your subscriptions but only use a few of them infrequently, is there a way that you could switch to a lesser plan for a month or two to see how that works? Even trimming the cost on subscription services will help your bottom line, if you can’t outright cut them out.
3. Share and share alike
If you have friends with similar interests, perhaps there are some subscription services you can share with them to cut down costs.
4. Is there something cheaper that will work the same as your subscription?
These days there are so many different options for subscription services that if you haven’t done any research in a while on the latest options, you could be spending more than necessary on subscription services when something similar — and just as awesome — is available. Cable alternatives are an easy one since there are so many (Netflix, Hulu, streaming antennas, Prime Instant, PlayState Vue, etc.), so take some time to research what each offers, what their prices are, and which one is really best for you.