With so many subscription-based businesses on the market that offer convenience at a low monthly rate, it can be easy to end up spending more than anticipated on multiple at a time. From entertainment to wellness, beauty to education, these services offer a convenient and tailored approach to accessing a variety of products and experiences.
However, maintaining a healthy financial balance is essential to ensure that subscriptions remain a boon rather than a burden. It is important to understand the art of managing subscriptions, offering practical insights and real-life examples to help you make informed decisions regarding how subscriptions fit into your budget.
Understanding Your Financial Landscape
Begin by scrutinising your financial situation. Calculate your total monthly income and categorise your expenses into two main categories: necessities and discretionary spending. Necessities include rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, insurance, and debt payments, while discretionary spending covers non-essential items such as entertainment and subscriptions.
For instance, if your total monthly income is £3,000 and your necessities cost £2,000, you have £1,000 available for discretionary spending, including subscriptions. From here you know exactly how much you can budget for subscriptions.
Evaluate Your Subscriptions
Start by listing all your current subscriptions and their associated costs. This might include streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, fitness apps, beauty subscription boxes, meal kit deliveries, and more. Evaluate each subscription’s usage and its impact on your life.
For example, if you rarely use a particular streaming service, consider cancelling it or downgrading to a lower-tier plan.
Prioritise Based on Value
To make the most of your subscriptions, focus on those that align with your goals and well-being. For instance, a subscription to a meditation app that helps you manage stress might hold more value than a magazine subscription. If fitness and health are priorities, a subscription to a virtual fitness program could contribute significantly to your physical and mental health.
- Fitness and Wellness: Let’s say you’re committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Instead of subscribing to multiple fitness apps and wellness services, prioritise one that offers a holistic approach. A subscription to a comprehensive wellness platform like “WellWorld” might include workout plans, meditation sessions, and nutrition guidance, all in one package.
- Entertainment: If you’re an entertainment enthusiast, consider evaluating your streaming subscriptions. If you have Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, assess which platforms you use the most and consider downsizing to just one or two. This way, you can fully enjoy the content you love without overspending.
- Learning and Skill Building: Subscriptions can also be a fantastic way to learn new skills. However, if you’re subscribed to multiple online learning platforms, it might be wiser to choose one that offers a diverse range of courses. For instance, a subscription to “SkillSync” might provide courses on coding, photography, cooking, and more.
Limit the Number of Subscriptions
Too many subscriptions can quickly escalate your expenses. Instead of subscribing to everything that catches your eye, limit yourself to a certain number. For example, decide to maintain no more than three active subscriptions at any given time. This constraint forces you to carefully choose the subscriptions that truly enrich your life.
If you’re torn between various subscriptions, consider a rotation strategy. For instance, during the winter months, you could subscribe to a streaming service and a cosy book subscription box. In the summer, you might switch to a subscription that focuses on outdoor activities or gardening. This approach keeps things exciting while maintaining a budget-friendly balance.
Monitor Your Spending
Consistently monitor your spending to ensure that subscriptions remain in check. Utilise budgeting apps like Emma to track your expenses and set limits for discretionary spending. Regularly reviewing your financial situation helps you identify any patterns of overspending and make necessary adjustments.
Emma makes it easy to not only track your spending across multiple accounts but to also create custom budgets, monitor recurring spend, as well as, save and invest all in one platform. With Emma, you can budget for your subscriptions so you can stay firmly in control of your finances.
Subscriptions can undoubtedly enhance our lives by providing tailored experiences, entertainment, and opportunities for growth. By understanding your financial landscape, evaluating the value of each subscription, limiting their number, and practising moderation, you can achieve a harmonious balance between luxury and necessity.
Remember that the key lies in making conscious choices that align with your priorities and financial well-being, enabling you to enjoy the benefits of subscriptions while staying firmly in control of your budget.