If you’re like me, your bank account is constantly being hit by one subscription or another – but how many of them do we really need?
You may find that you don’t use a service or product enough to continue paying for it monthly or annually For instance, in the case of a streaming service, money expert Clark Howard says here are some questions you can ask yourself:
“When you see one of those monthly subscriptions, think about it: Do you watch it? Do you go there? If it’s no longer of value to you, cancel that subscription!”
Can You Cancel These Subscriptions To Save Money?
In this article, I’ll list categories to look at to help you decide whether you can save money by canceling some subscriptions. (You may have even forgotten you have some of them!)
It’s worth noting that some subscriptions cost more if you pay monthly rather than for the whole year. Do the math to see if it makes sense for you to pay monthly or annually for a subscription if you plan on canceling it before it expires.
Subscriptions Quick Links:
- Shopping Memberships
- Gym Memberships
- Cable or Live Streaming
- Credit Monitoring
- Cloud Storage
- Games and Other Paid Apps
I’ve chosen only those subscriptions that allow you to sign up again at any time.
Belonging to a shopping loyalty program can be a real money saver, but how many shopping memberships do you need?
Like me, you may have signed up for Amazon Prime to take advantage of the free shipping and other benefits. For $139 a year, Amazon Prime gives you a slew of perks, including exclusive deals on purchases online. But do you have to be a year-long member?
Every January, I cancel Amazon Prime for six months in order to save that $14.99 monthly fee. I typically re-up during the second half of the year when Prime Day, Black Friday and end-of-the-year sales are happening.
Here are some of the top shopping loyalty programs and the standard costs of their annual memberships:
How To Cancel Your Shopping Membership
Most shopping memberships can be canceled through your online account, by phone or in person at the store.
Amazon says, “Paid members who haven’t used their benefits are eligible for a full refund of the current membership period. We’ll process the refund in three to five business days.”
Walmart says it won’t refund canceled memberships. “If you cancel before the end of a paid period, you’ll have access to membership benefits until the end of that paid period,” it says on the store’s website.
To cancel your Costco membership and get an immediate refund, you’ll need to call Member Services on the phone at 1-800-774-2678 or speak to a team member at the front counter of the wholesale club near you.
Sam’s Club will give you a refund for immediate cancellation, the retailer says. You can also opt to have your refund issued on a Sam’s eGift Card. To start the process, just visit the store’s membership desk or call 1(888) 746-7726.
Gym membership subscriptions may come in handy if you’re committed to staying in shape year-round, but what happens if you slack off at some point? News flash: Those monthly payments will continue to be withdrawn from your account.
Let’s look at some of the most popular gyms and how much they cost annually. Note that some gym memberships are not as cut and dry as others: Some fitness centers charge one-time initiation fees, while others require that you pay the first and last month’s dues when you sign up. Here’s what I would pay every year for these gym memberships where I live:
How To Cancel Your Gym Membership
Gym memberships are among the hardest to cancel because they don’t typically have an opt-out method on their websites. In general, you have to state in writing that you wish to cancel your membership.
That’s what I had to do to get out of my LA Fitness membership. I had to go to the website, print the cancellation form and mail it to them via U.S. mail.
The LA Fitness website says, “A cancellation postmarked at least 5 business days before your next billing date should result in no further recurring billing. If less than 5 business days, you may be billed one more time. If this occurs, LA Fitness will refund that additional billing.”
How to go about canceling a membership at Gold’s Gym depends on the location. Check with your local facility.
You may be able to cancel with Planet Fitness online depending on the type of membership you have. In other cases, you may have to fill out a cancellation form at the front desk of your home club or send a certified letter requesting cancellation, according to the company website. Because each Planet Fitness location is a privately-owned franchise, the cancellation process may vary from club to club.
Cable or Livestreaming
One thing I always do to save money is to cancel my YouTube TV subscription each February (when the NFL season ends) and sign back up around September when the season begins again.
Instead of paying about $876 for YouTube TV year-round ($73 a month), I’ll pay half of that to stream sports, live TV and more.
Here are some top streaming services and how much they cost annually for their basic ad-free packages:
What To Know Before You Cancel Your Streaming Service
- Pay attention to your billing date: Some streaming services will allow you to keep access until the conclusion of your billing cycle.
- Log in from a computer: It’s easiest to cancel from a desktop or laptop computer.
- Look for the discount email: Several days after you cancel, it’s typical for the streaming company to try to lure you back with a deal. In the case of YouTube TV, the service emailed me several deals to sign back, but I resisted until football season.
“If you cancel with time left in your billing period, you can use Netflix until the account cancels automatically at the end of the billing period,” says the Netflix website.
That’s the same with Disney+, Paramount+ and Hulu: When you cancel your subscription, instead of receiving a refund, you will be able to continue using the streaming service for as long as the subscription period lasts.
There are several options for paid credit-monitoring services including Equifax’s Credit Monitor ($4.95 a month), TransUnion’s service ($29.95 a month) or Experian’s IdentityWorks ($24.99 a month). But, the common denominator with all of them is that you’re wasting money.
“No one should ever, EVER, pay for credit monitoring,” Clark says. “If you want credit monitoring, do it for free. There are so many places where free services are now available. The easiest of all is to just go to Credit Karma. You get credit monitoring and dynamic credit scoring for free. Credit Sesame is a great free resource as well.”
How To Cancel Your Credit Monitoring Service
To cancel your credit monitoring service, you’ll typically need to log in to your account.
In the case of Equifax’s Credit Monitor service, inside your myEquifax account, you can click on your name in the top right corner and select My Account then Cancel Subscription. Alternatively, you can call their customer care team at 1-888-Equifax (1-888-378-4329).
To cancel Experian’s paid credit monitoring service, IdentityWorks, you must contact the credit bureau by phone.
TransUnion says you can cancel by logging into your account and clicking on “Manage Account” or by calling customer service at (855) 681-3196.
None of these services offer prorated months or partial refunds.
If you’re paying monthly for cloud storage with Google Drive, DropBox or iCloud, you may want to consider a free service instead.
But note that, once you end a paid cloud subscription, you won’t be able to access what you have stored on that service. So have a plan in place before you cancel.
If your device’s storage space is full or close to it, you may choose to download the files to another computer (which is what I do) and/or delete the ones you don’t want.
Here are some yearly prices for 2 terabytes with the top cloud storage services:
How To Cancel Your Cloud Subscription
To cancel your cloud subscription, you’ll have to log on to your service.
For Dropbox, you can cancel or downgrade your service by going to Settings, Plan, and then to Cancel Plan. DropBox says on its website that if you don’t see the Cancel Plan option, “you may have purchased Dropbox on your mobile device. If so, you’ll need to cancel your plan from the app store on your device.”
According to Google, “Google storage plan purchases are non-refundable. The amount of storage you purchased is yours for the length of the subscription, even if you decide to cancel it. In some countries/regions, you can end your subscription immediately and receive a partial refund.”
To cancel your iCloud subscription, the process is easiest on an iPhone. Here are the steps:
- Go to Settings and tap on your name at the top.
- Tap on iCloud > Manage Storage > Change Plan
- Tap on Downgrade Options and choose Free
“For iCloud, Partial refunds are available where required by law,” it says on Apple’s website. “If you recently changed your iCloud+ plan, contact Apple within 14 days for a refund.” You can request a refund on Apple’s report a problem page.
For pCloud, the cancellation process is based on how you signed up for the service.
By using several cloud services up to the free storage limit, you may be able to save money on storage options.
Music subscriptions are another thing that you should consider shedding. Here are the annual prices for the most popular:
- Spotify Premium: $119
- Apple Music: $132
- Tidal: $120
- Amazon Music Unlimited: $132 for non-Prime members/$89 for Prime members
Here’s How To Cancel Music Subscriptions
To cancel your music subscription, you will typically have to log on to your account and go to the settings.
To cancel Spotify Premium, for instance, log into your account, under your plan select “change plan,” scroll to cancel and click “Cancel Premium.” It’s that simple.
The way you cancel with each provider will vary slightly, but the commonality is that you shouldn’t expect any partial month refunds. Though you will get to keep using the service in the meantime.
And, remember that if you ordered your subscription through a third-party provider or app, you may need to go there to cancel.
Games and Other Paid Apps
It’s easy to forget about the mobile apps we pay for on a monthly basis. I recently canceled a Microsoft 365 Personal account, which cost $69.99 a year, which I’d forgotten about.
How To Find Your Paid Apps
You could look through your phone’s apps and manually see which ones you pay for, but there’s an easier way: On the iPhone, tap on Settings, then tap your name, and go to Subscriptions to see everything you’ve subscribed to on your device.
On an Android phone, the steps will vary based on the model and which version of the operating system you have. In general, you’ll need to open the Google Play Store app and tap the menu, where you should see Subscriptions or Payments and Subscriptions.
As you can see, there are many subscriptions you may be able to cut. Two strategies that will help you save money are:
- Canceling your membership for half the year: This can work for those services that have seasonal benefits. In my case, that would be YouTube TV and Amazon Prime.
- Downgrading from a “premium” service: If you find that you can’t cancel the subscription outright, perhaps you can downgrade to a lower tier to save money.
Remember to evaluate each subscription, asking yourself how much you use them and whether it’s worth it. You might be surprised by how much you can save.