Subscription Creep

Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operations

By: Mike Cashion, MFF Director of Operations

It happens to us all… When was the last time that you took an inventory of all of your recurring subscriptions? Over the last nine months of basically being confined to home, it may not be surprising that we all signed up for new subscription services to stay entertained.


Now is a great time to sit down with a warm cup of coffee and take a look at your recent transactions (bank, credit card, ApplePay, Paypal, etc) for the last two months. Let’s dive in.

  1. Review line by line each item that you paid for over the last two months
  2. Look for and make note of every recurring subscription
  3. Write down how much you are paying and how often [weekly, monthly, yearly]
  4. Ask yourself: “Do I really use this, need this or really see value in keeping this?”


After making your list and adding up how much you are actually spending, you may be a little surprised at how much these subscriptions actually cost. Now take the list that you just created. As you read through the list, ask yourself if this subscription is something you want to keep or if it is something you no longer need or want.  Write next to each line: “keep” or “cancel.”


The next step is to go back through the list again. This time, look at the items that you labeled “keep.” For each item you wanted to keep, log in to your account for each service to see if there are any discounts available. Look for options where you can pay annually for the service at a discount.

Often, when we sign up for a service or follow an advertisement, it leads us to an introductory monthly offer that is attractive and then the price goes up. When the price goes up, the service may cost more than the value we experience as the customer. No business wants to lose a customer and will often give strong discounts for customers that commit to them over a longer period of time.


At this point, you have decided what you definitely want to cancel, what you are definitely going to keep, and the subscriptions that you want to keep but don’t make sense at the current price point. If you can cancel online, go ahead and cancel the services you don’t want anymore. For the services you definitely want to keep, see what you can find online (switch to an annual plan to save money if you can), and if no info can be found, it is time to call customer support.


Call customer support for both the definite keeps and the would-be-nice-to-have services, but not at this cost. When talking with customer service, they will want to keep you as a customer, and this is your opportunity to negotiate the price with them. Listen to what they are saying and express your interest to cancel. When they ask you why you are canceling, let them know that you enjoy the service, but the current cost does not justify continuing with the service. This is your way of gently telling this person they have a chance to retain you. Listen to them, let them talk, and when they try to get you to stay, ask them what discounts, deals or options are available if you are to remain a customer.

Have a pen and paper ready so that you can take note and do some calculations while speaking with the rep. If you do not get enough of a discount to remain a customer, then continue with your plan to cancel the service. There is no need to spend your hard earned money if you are not receiving  the value that you would like from the service.


Do you always get a great discount or retention deal? No.
Does it take some time? Yes.
Will you be more informed on your overall spending? Yes.
Will you end up saving money? Yes.
Will the exercise be meaningful? Absolutely!

A Journey to Personal Financial Success

Standards of Financial Literacy (SFL), MFF’s signature program, supports the concept of personal financial freedom by giving participants of all ages the insight to set goals, track net worth and apply acquired knowledge. This online, self-paced program is ideal for individuals and groups alike.

Upon successful completion of SFL’s six-module course, participants become an MFF Fellow. Becoming an MFF Fellow is the ticket to access additional MFF courses and opportunities for mentoring, networking, internships and hands-on projects. These are the opportunities which allow MFF Fellows to continue their journey to personal financial success.

To learn more about this exciting program, click here. 

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