If you’re worried about energy bills, the cost-of-living crisis or out-of-control inflation, you might be considering cancelling some of the regular subscriptions you pay for to save some cash.
It’s hard to know where to get started when budgeting and looking to make savings. Many people tell me they find the whole process depressing and give up without making much progress.
But there are some relatively painless cuts you can make to goods or services you’ve signed up to pay for in the past but might have forgotten about. Lurking on your bank and credit card statements – and even your mobile phone bill – are a whole heap of debits for things you probably don’t want or need. Finding them can be a bit of a nightmare. You usually have to trawl back through over a year’s worth of transactions to find the random annual debits that you might have missed.
There’s a great new free app that has only just launched called Little Birdie that makes it much easier to find these subscriptions and – coming soon – cancel them too. But in the meantime, here are some of the things you might want to look for and how much you can save by cancelling them.
Cloud storage, streaming and anti-virus software
We often click to pay a little extra to store data on ‘the cloud’ – though most of us aren’t really sure how this works in practice. Because we can sign up to cloud storage when we buy laptops, phones, tablets, anti-virus software, and anything linked to the internet, chances are you’re paying for more than one service – which you don’t need. Save £150+ each year.
The same goes for music streaming. Did you get nudged in to paying for YouTube or Spotify ad free? Was Apple Music the easiest way to listen? Pick one streaming service and settle for adverts. Cancel two and save £240+.
As for anti-virus software, it’s vital, but do you know some firms charge you three times more when your deal auto-renews? £100 saved per renewal if you switch or negotiate a big discount.
The quest for love can be costly, especially if you’ve signed up for a free trial of ‘premium’ services and ended up being charged. Because dating in reality wasn’t on the cards over the pandemic, you may not have checked the websites you’re signed up to and therefore might not even be aware you’re paying extra each month.
Prices range from £7.99 to £50+ a month, so cancelling even two of the cheaper ones can save you £200+ Oh, and if you told them to stop charging you and they didn’t you can ask for your money back.
Mobile phone and gadget insurance
Whenever you buy a new phone or upgrade, chances are the business will try to sell you a new mobile phone insurance policy. If you assumed that the old policy would be cancelled, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Though it should be obvious to businesses that you don’t need your old policy any more, they often don’t remind you to cancel. In fact, I helped a man claim back over £800 for four forgotten policies he had on his bank account.
Best of all, if you or your family have a number of gadgets, you can move them all to a multi-gadget policy for £20 to £30 a month. If you’re currently paying a tenner for each gadget and consolidate them to one insurance policy, you are saving £480
You’ll spot lots of things you might not remember having authorised on your account. All you need to do is tell you bank you have not authorised the payment and they will cancel it. It’s often possible to claim this money back too, if the business can’t prove they were allowed to debit you.
Going through your accounts can be a drag, but as soon as you see how much you can actually save – without abandoning all of the fun things – you won’t regret it.
Martyn James is a leading consumer rights campaigner, TV and radio broadcaster and journalist.