Are you wanting to save money this year?
One of the first places to look is unused subscription services according to personal tax accountant and financial advisor Patricia Nolan.
Patricia, who runs her own practice from home in Brisbane, said that she has noticed that many of her clients spend quite a lot of money on unused or under-utilised subscriptions.
“I recently helped one couple with preparing a household budget and discovered they spent around $300 per month on various subscription services.”
She said it included everything from subscription television to newspapers, various ‘clubs’ and online subscriptions.
“When they looked at how much of that they actually used, or needed, we saved more than $200 from their budget just like ‘that’!” she says.
“That’s about $2,500 more in their pockets every year and they’re not even missing what it is they’ve given up.”
She says the couple, both working and in their 30s, were “shocked” at how much they were paying out regularly.
“When I asked them to guess how much it was they were losing from their take-home pay, they thought it was about $50 – they were $250 off!”
Patricia says that the trend should be instead for ‘on demand’ payment.
“You shouldn’t have to pay for something unless you want it. We all know the technology is there to manage this from both the consumer’s perspective and the supplier.
Her suggestions for looking at subscriptions include:
1. Subscription TV: If you have more than one TV, do you need it connected at every TV? How often do you use the packages you’ve purchased? If you’ve bought ‘Sport’, for example, and only watch it once a week during the season, she says you need to consider how important that it is to you.
2. Newspapers: Why get a newspaper delivered now? You can read them online – free for some of them at the moment – and you don’t have so much paper to dispose of on rubbish day.
3. Online subscriptions: The danger is individually they all seem to be ‘not much’ but when you add them up, they can be quite a lot. If you don’t need to pay for it, don’t. If you only need one or two articles from a magazine, then contact the magazine and say that’s all your willing to pay for. And if you find you haven’t downloaded something to which you are subscribed for more than four months, then it’s time to ditch it.
4. Memberships: Sometimes these can be value for money and sometimes you just want to ‘belong’ to something. The latter is okay as long as you value the psychic benefits of being part of something. If you don’t, and if you find you’re only going to something intermittently, then don’t join again next year. Just go when you want.