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Entertaining or draining? How to curb your subscription addiction

We’ve never been so entertained. It’s the roaring 20’s all over again, only instead of hitting the town, we’re… staying in.

Every film, every hit record, and every episode of every TV show ever created are at the tip of our fingertips. A few taps on your screen (and a tap, tap, tap on your bank account), and the world’s biggest screen stars, pop stars and comedic acts are yours for hours on end.

Remember when you had to fight your sibling for the remote and wait a whole week for the next episode of McCleod’s Daughters?

Entertainment has never been so accessible. But that access comes at a price. How much is it costing you?

The how to: lighten your subscription load

In this blog I’ll show you how to:

1. Check your subscription load.

2. Cancel what you can.

3. Lighten what’s left.

Refraining from subscriptions will improve your savings and help with attaining your savings targets. Sounds good, right?! Let’s get started.

1. Check your subscription load

Are we getting lost in the sea of entertainment?

The likes of Netflix, Stan, Kayo and Apple have made it so easy to subscribe (how thoughtful of them), that it’s not surprising many of us don’t even know what or how many subscriptions we have active. Did I remember to cancel Amazon Prime after that 7-day free trial? ????

So, let’s make a list and check it twice.

Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down every single subscription you know you currently have. Disney, Hulu, Binge, Spotify, OnlyFans, Xbox Game Pass, Sportsbet*, that fitness tracker you signed up for and logged into once… all of them.

Next, download your latest bank statement and find all the recurring payments going out of your account.

Now, next to each subscription write down the last time you used it.

2. Cancel what you can

When was the last time you watched something on Disney? When was the last time you logged a meal on MyFitnessPal?

If you haven’t used it in the past four weeks, cancel it. Most subscriptions are easy enough to reactivate, so you can return to Stan when your favourite show does.

If you’re sitting there thinking it’s only $30 a month. That’s $360 a year. It adds up. That $360 is the sort of thing that will make a big difference to your overall financial situation. Setting some limits and being conscious about the content you’re consuming – or just paying for – might just flip a new money mindset switch and create a consistent habit that will reap great results down the line.

*A note on betting apps and subscriptions:

While a great TV drama is addicting in its own way, there are some addictions that might not be as simple to resolve as simply hitting the unsubscribe button. If you are being affected by gambling, please reach out for support. Gambling Help Online offers free, private and confidential services Australia-wide 24/7.

3. Lighten what’s left

As for what’s left? Let’s see how much we can lighten it.

Have a think about:

  1. Sharing your subscriptions: opt for package options that allow multiple screen users at once and split the cost with your family or friends. Ensure everyone pays for a different service (say goodbye to the freeloaders), share the logins, and you don’t have to part with a single service.
  2. Rotating your subscriptions: you can’t watch them all at once. Choose which streaming service you’ll want to watch most this next month or two, then hit pause and move onto the next service.
  3. Making the most of free-to-air On Demand services: there’s a lot of free content being offered online by all the major free-to-air players, and it’s actually good! If you have a smart TV (and we’re guessing you do), you can consume away with minimal ads. Your program will be back on before you can even make a cup of tea. Our fave is SBS On Demand for a huge variety of shows, movies and documentaries from across the globe.

Bonnie’s wrap

I’m all for a good binge! I’m not here to tell you to cancel the lot and take up reading or (God forbid) hiking instead.

Here’s all I want you to do, then you can get back to the latest episode of Succession:

  1. Set aside 10 minutes to make a list of all your recurring subscriptions. All. Of. Them.
  2. Cancel anything you haven’t used in a month.
  3. Share or rotate what’s left.
  4. Check out the free-to-air On Demand services. They’ve come a long way, promise!
Related to: Happy Habits
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