About 10 years ago I joined the David Lloyd fitness club in Milton Keynes. It seemed a good idea at the time. My membership only lasted 16 months because, quite frankly, I found I wasn’t using it enough to justify the monthly subscription which was about £70 per month.
Whilst a member, I discovered that the club boasted a membership of 7,000 people. Bearing in mind the club could probably only fit maybe a few hundred people in it at any one time if all members were to turn up at once, I figured there must be a very high percentage of members who either never turn up or do so only on very rare occasions. I dread to think how many members they have now.
David Lloyd has 122 clubs and 600,000 members. That means they have an average membership of nearly 5,000 people per club. It strikes me there are significant numbers of people wasting their money on subscriptions which aren’t being used.
David Lloyd isn’t of course the only organisation reaping the benefit of unused subscriptions. There are countless others as I discovered recently when I reviewed some of my own subscriptions.
I reviewed four monthly app subscriptions and I discovered I was only using one of them! So I decided to cancel three subscriptions immediately. The saving was £270 a year.
The reason I had kept the subscriptions going was because I kept telling myself I would start using those apps soon but I never got round to it! Sound familiar? I expect so but don’t worry about it as you are not alone.
So how do you cancel your existing unused subscriptions and how do you stop yourself from getting into that situation again?
Well the starting point is to review your automated payments from your bank account be they standing orders or direct debits. Simply cancel them directly with the bank first. Then contact the organisations to inform them that you have cancelled their services. Do however check whether or not there is a notice period before you can cancel.
The next step is to review your recent credit card statements to find out if you have any recurring payments on your account. Again contact your payees and cancel these services.
Last but not least contact external payment providers such as Apple, Samsung and Paypal to cancel any unwanted subscriptions. The best way to do this is either through an app or on their website.
So what other automated payments should you look out for? Well if you have a gym membership subscription and rarely visit the gym you should cancel your subscription.
Other automated payments worth cancelling if rarely or never used include the following;
Sports memberships e.g. golf club
Discount clubs such as Amazon Prime
Don’t fall into the trap of kidding yourself that you may use the service in the future. You are unlikely to change your habits.
If you cannot easily find a way to cancel a bank automated payment such as a direct debit and you know there is no notice period just cancel it. You will receive reminders but you can safely just ignore them.
So once you have cancelled these automated payments how do you ensure you never fall into the same trap again?
Well, the simplest thing to do is review your bank statements and credit card statements once a month and ask yourself do you really need the service or not. Ask yourself when was the last time you used it. If you rarely, if ever, use it just cancel it. If you ever wanted to use that service again you could always re-apply for it. Often new subscribers get special offers or deals on re-joining a service.
So you now know what to do when you next check your bank or credit card statement. Cancel those automated payments for services you don’t use anymore. You know it makes sense.*
*The contents of this blog are for information purposes only and do not constitute individual advice. Before cancelling you should appreciate that once cancelled it could be time consuming to reinstate. Additionally, if the service has been used and payment is cancelled, you may be subject to a debt which would need to be settled and could be escalated into a County Court Judgment, CCJ and possible debt collection.