Money Smarts Blog
Week 3: Financial Housekeeping Challenge
Jul 14, 2020 || Nikki Dingman, Contact Center Agent
Automatic billing can be a lifesaver when it comes to the essentials, but for anything discretionary, you want to make sure that each month you actively chose to continue paying for any memberships or subscriptions. Don’t let a company keep pulling money from your account if you no longer want their products or services.
Review paid apps.
Scroll through your phone and evaluate every paid app. Unsubscribe from anything you don’t need any more and hold onto that cancellation number for at least 2 billing cycles to make sure the cancellation was successful. While you’re at it,
make sure your smart phone is set to require a password in order to purchase a new app. This could save you from future impulse buys.
Review memberships for shopping services.
A number of online retailers offer a membership program that provides free shipping; is your membership still a good fit for you? If you have a club or warehouse membership, is this still a good deal? Do you order enough online groceries to benefit from
a delivery membership? Or could you save money by doing a store pick-up instead?
If you decide to cancel a membership, carefully read through the terms and conditions to see what the process is and then save the cancellation number for at least 2 billing cycles to make sure the cancellation was successful.
Pro tip: Avoid the free sample trap. Free samples are great but that can lead to costly monthly subscription costs if you don’t cancel in time. Make sure you set a reminder on your phone before the subscription auto renews.
Take a hard look at recurring payments.
From sample boxes to fitness memberships, there are thousands of fun ways to spend your money. Here are some questions to ask yourself about recurring payments:
- Are you satisfied with each of your recurring monthly purchases? Or is it easier to keep paying to avoid confrontation that may be involved in canceling?
- Do you really need your favorite coffee app to automatically withdraw from your credit card or bank account when pre-paid funds are getting low?
- Are you getting good use out of everything you’re paying for?
- Even if you enjoy it, would you reach your financial goals sooner if you hit pause for a while?
Create a spreadsheet or bust out some pen and paper to make a list of all such recurring payments.
Take a Compass Playlist
Knowledge is key to financial success. And with the internet, it’s all around us. Compass is the online tool to help you find your way along your financial journey. Our Compass Playlists allow you to select topics that mean the most to you – like owning a home or preparing for retirement. Each topic is broken into easy-to-digest courses that you can browse and learn at your leisure.
Pro tip: complete one playlist by July 31, 2020 and be entered to win $500.*
Challenge: Cancel Unused Digital Subscriptions/Memberships
Review all your digital content subscriptions and memberships, make sure you are still actively choosing to pay for each individual service. Think about your TV and video streaming services, your music streaming services, your audiobooks and your gaming services. Unsubscribe from anything you don’t need any more. Don’t forget to hold onto that cancellation number for at least 2 billing cycles to make sure the cancellation was successful.
Pro tip: Use our Money Management service or a tool like Mint.com to view all your recurring charges in one place. For each recurring payment, ask yourself these questions: Does it still make sense for you to keep this service? What financial goals could I reach sooner by canceling this?