Looking online for software and solutions, it’s pretty hard to miss the massive amounts of Software as a Service (SaaS) and pay-as-you-go online services, not to mention your Apple Music, Spotify and Netflix subscriptions. All these services are so enticing because they offer you a low monthly fee, that these days we are so used to, often we subscribe without a second thought. But 10 bucks here, 6 bucks there can eventually add up if you’re not keeping track, and you can find yourself looking at your bank balance and wonder where all that money went.
This is why it’s important to constantly re-evaluate all your subscriptions, SaaS, and other microtransactions that are occurring on your accounts and make sure you’re getting the best value out of everything.
Sometimes Software as a Service can be frustrating because of the constant monthly fee, but that's where it’s also good for you because you can re-evaluate each month and make a decision on whether you are actually using the service or not.
Step 1 - Identify your monthly and yearly subscriptions
Use your favourite notetaker app (mine is Evernote) to make a list of your recurring monthly/yearly subscriptions and make sure you are using them all
Just as your would normally budget how much you spend on groceries, eating out, buying coffee, firstly identify your ongoing subscriptions. Use your bank statement to help you as often in this step you find services that you forgot that you were even subscribed to, which are just siphoning away your hard-earned money. I found this out recently when I had left my Dropbox Subscription running after moving to Google Drive.
When you identify a culprit, don’t delay! Login to that account and immediately unsubscribe/deactivate that service.
Step 2 - Explore Alternatives
Gone are the days when you got your mobile phone plan and just blindly renewed it every year or two. Online services are constantly evolving, and a service that served you well at one period in time, might not be living up to expectations now.
This might mean comparing Apple Music to Spotify or Google Drive to Dropbox, compare features and pricing, and make sure you’re getting what you need.
Step 3 - Explore your payment options
Savings can be had for subscribing annually, instead of monthly
Although we are mostly talking about monthly subscriptions here and the flexibility of being able to start and stop when you please, sometimes there are services that you love and wish to use for an extended period. And often service providers will reward your ongoing loyalty by offering discounts if you subscribe annually.
I’ve done this for Evernote, Google Drive storage, and even my Squarespace subscriptions, where the pricing drops from A$22 a month to A$16 (a saving of A$72 a year), just for subscribing annually. Obviously this means you need to have extra cash in the bank at the time, but if you do, it makes sense for a significant saving.
Sometimes you can save just for being a family
Another avenue that is sometimes available is purchasing multiple services as a family. My wife and I both use Apple Music and back when we got engaged and started combining our finances, I noted that we could both make a saving if we subscribed to Apple Music with a Family Subscription. It would have cost us A$23.98 a month for two individual subscriptions, or just A$17.99 a month for a family subscription, saving us A$6 a month, or another A$72 a year. And if you have kids as well, that saving could work out much more!