Consumer Alert: How subscription services are busting the budget and what to do about it

Consumer Alert: How to manage subscription cash creep

Consumer Alert: How to manage subscription cash creep

This Consumer Alert takes a look at your subscriptions. We’ve all done it. We sign up for a free trial then forget to cancel the subscription. It’s the subscription cash creep. If you stream your TV shows or music, have memberships with Amazon and a gym, it all starts to add up. And what’s more, it’s all on autopay so you sign up and forget it.

And that’s dangerous. Most folks who cut the cord with cable do so because they’re trying to save money.  But when your streaming services start stacking up, you’re not saving diddly squat.

A survey commissioned by CNET, a digital consumer technology publication, found that on average we’re paying $91 a month on subscriptions. Millennials are paying the most, $119 per month.

Millennials and Gen Z are also the groups most likely to sign up for a free trial and forget to cancel it, 65 percent. And 67 percent of all the respondents said they’re paying for at least one subscription service that hiked the price in the last year. But you can manage those price hikes. In fact, there’s an app for that.

“We at CNET recommend Rocket Money,” said Nick Wolny, Managing Editor of CNET. “That’s our editors’ choice, but there are several different budgeting apps that have as one of their features is a subscription monitoring feature. So it looks for those recurring charges that you have on your bills every month, and if one of those recurring charges suddenly changes in price, it will give you additional notifications about that — just making sure that you’re aware that those same services are increasing in price, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to keep them.”

Rocket Money is also CNBC’s top pick. But CNBC also lists four others they say are top-notch. Click here for those recommendations.

Other ways that survey respondents said they save on subscriptions include bundling streaming services and rotating subscriptions. But the first thing to do is to take a look at what you have, and drop what you don’t use.