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How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions?

  • July 13 2021
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How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions?

By Cameron Micallef
July 13 2021

Australians are continuing to pay for subscriptions they are not using, costing households up to $2,000 a year, new banking figures have revealed.

How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions

How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions?

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  • July 13 2021
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Australians are continuing to pay for subscriptions they are not using, costing households up to $2,000 a year, new banking figures have revealed.

How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions

Stats released by ME show lockdowns have become a major contributor to unused subscriptions, with Aussies signing up to more services as they battle ‘lockdown life’.

The research shows that the average Aussie is now wasting almost $200 a year on unused subscriptions per year.

However, middle-aged Aussies between 34-53 are likely to be the worst offenders, wasting $570 from a total spend of $2,196 annually on subscriptions.  

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ME’s head of home loans and personal banking, Claudio Mazzarella, told nestegg that many Aussies are overpaying for subscriptions simply because they have not tracked payments.

“It’s easy to sign up to something when we want or need it, but it takes a little more discipline when it comes to evaluating and cancelling, particularly when life gets busy,” he explained.  

Overall, close to 60 per cent of Australians currently pay for subscriptions or memberships, spending an average of $77 each month. The most popular being:

  • On-demand TV/movie streaming services - 65 per cent
  • Music streaming services - 35 per cent
  • IT storage or software programs - 25 per cent
  • Retail or delivery services - 25 per cent
  • Gym and fitness memberships - 24 per cent

The least used subscriptions or memberships are:

  • On-demand TV/movie streaming services
  • IT storage or software programs 
  • Music streaming services
  • Online or app subscriptions

What to do post-lockdowns?

With lockdowns seeing a rise in subscription services, Aussies are being urged to remain vigilant. 

According to ME’s findings, over half (52 per cent) of Australians who pay for subscriptions or memberships said they’ve signed up to more since the start of COVID-19.

Yet only 35 per cent said they’re still using them, despite continuing to pay for them.  

“As a first step, it’s important to track how much you spend on subscriptions and memberships, and add these into your budget so you can confidently manage all your outgoings. For instance, add ‘streaming services’ as a spend category in your budget,” Mr Mazzarella explains. 

“Next, be realistic about whether you’re getting good value for money. The money saved by cancelling a couple of unused subscriptions could go towards bigger financial goals.” 

Watch out for auto renewals

ME has warned Aussies that auto renewals are adding to their overall costs of subscription services, highlighting that an easy way to save money is to keep an eye out for them.

Mr Mazzarella warned that auto renewals catch people out even when consumers are setting up a free trial, urging them to set reminders prior to the end of trial when they first sign up to a product or service.

“Similarly, when taking on a new subscription, ensure you’ve noted the membership auto renewal settings, so it doesn’t sting you when you may not be using it.”

“Remember, any changes don’t have to be set in stone. See how you go after 90 days of not having a subscription or membership and see if it really impacts your life,” Mr Mazzarella said.

Do you really need this?

While the research has shown Aussies love a subscription service, an easy way to save money is by reducing the amount of services a household has.

ME’s Money Expert, Matthew Read, said the findings show Australians need to regularly review their subscriptions, always asking themselves, ‘Do I really need it?’  

“Subscriptions like movie streaming services and exercise apps can add a lot of value, entertainment and convenience to our lives, but it’s important to spend some time working out how much you spend on them and be realistic about whether you’re getting good value for money. The money saved by cancelling a couple of unused subscriptions could go towards bigger financial goals,” he concluded.  

How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions?
How much are you wasting on unused subscriptions
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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