Are subscription services worth it?

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As you may be well aware, there are so many subscription services to choose from. And while $7.99 here, $9.99 there, and a free trial month thrown in might not seem like that big of a deal, all of those subscription services can add up—fast.

And that’s just for TV shows and movies. That’s not counting music subscription services, online access to news sources, meal deliveries, a curated selection of athleisure, or whatever other monthly subscriptions you have on the go.

We’ve got some advice on the best way to make sure you’re balancing being entertained without letting your budget suffer.

Do the math.

Budgeting, in theory, is simple. Money going out needs to be less than money coming in. Easy, right? Except in practice, it’s a whole lot harder to keep track of what’s coming in and what’s going out on a monthly basis. Any subscription services you have need to be factored into your monthly budget, just like anything else.

Take Netflix, for example. The basic version is only $9.99/month ($13.99 for the standard or $16.99 for premium). Ten bucks a month might not seem like a whole lot, but if you have multiple streaming services, ten bucks across multiple platforms can really add up. Suddenly ten bucks times three is a slightly higher number.

It’s always a good time to take stock of your monthly expenses. If your subscriptions fit your budget, great! If not, it might be time to make some decisions.

Be realistic.

Whether you’re into sports or Real Housewives (maybe even both!), nature documentaries or the latest superhero big-budget blockbuster, there truly is something for everyone thanks to the variety of streaming services available. But how much time are you really spending in front of your screen (hey, no judgment here), especially once the weather is a little nicer?

As the seasons change, your habits might too. It’s a lot easier to binge an entire season when the weather outside is frightful than it is when the sun is out.

Just as the seasons change, so do the shows/movies on offer for various streaming services. If it’s been a while since you last logged on, it might be time to say goodbye and save a little extra cash for a sunny day.

Keep an eye on those free trials.

Free trials are a great way to access new content and get a sense of whether a platform is right for you. Just don’t forget that you signed up for them or you could be in for a surprise when your credit card bill is due.

The easiest way to do this is to set a calendar reminder for the day before your free trial is set to end. That way, your past self can give your future self a gentle heads-up that it’s decision-making time. And while another couple of bucks every month might not seem like that big of a deal, your budget may have other thoughts.

Still not sure? Check out what the Subscription Auditor has to say.