This financial mistake cost me hundreds last year
Signing up for auto-renewing subscriptions was expensive.
the main points
- I signed up for many free trials and forgot to cancel.
- It was charged to a credit card that I don’t use often, so I didn’t check my statements regularly.
- As a result, I spent hundreds of dollars unnecessarily.
Last year, I accidentally spent over $100 on purchases I didn’t mean to make. This happened for a simple reason, and that’s because I fell for a common trick that marketers carry out.
Here’s how I wasted hundreds of dollars
The mistake I made was simple. You have signed up for free trials for many different services. I actually did this in an effort to save money.
First, I chose to try DashPass because I was able to save on delivery fees to do so when I ordered food. I also signed up for a free demo tutorial app for my son, as well as for a free trial of HBO Max because I wanted to watch a movie that I would have had to rent or was available on HBO with a free trial subscription.
However, the problem was that I subscribed to these apps and then forgot to cancel them before my credit card was charged. The trial subscription was then converted to a permanent subscription. I didn’t intend to keep any of it, mainly because we seldom order food, seldom watch TV, and seldom let my son use his tablet because we worry about spending too much time in front of the screen.
Unfortunately, I signed up for HBO through Hulu, and subscribed to other apps through my Apple account — both tied to a credit card I don’t use often. Since I don’t charge a lot on the card and I set it up for automatic payment, it was almost six months before I logged into the account and I saw what happened and realized I was paying $10 a month or more unnecessarily for each of these unwanted signups that I no longer I use it.
The total costs weren’t huge, but they were more than $100 in wasted money over time, for services that didn’t actually add any value to my life.
Here’s how I’ll avoid this in the future
Realizing my mistake, I quickly canceled these unwanted subscriptions – and made a plan to avoid it from now on.
First, before signing up for a free trial, I’ll think carefully about whether the hassle and risk of forgetting to cancel is worth it. I would have been better off, for example, if I had just paid $3.99 to rent the movie and been done with it instead of trying to save a few bucks and it ended up costing me a second.
Second, if I sign up for a trial like that, I’ll make a note in my calendar right away with the date it needs to be canceled so I don’t forget it again. And third, I’ll be better at checking my credit card statement from now on — even if I don’t use the card regularly.
In fact, free trials like this are offered, in part, because many people forget the fact that they signed up and end up paying for the service for months or even years. Sometimes it can be worth taking advantage of if doing so saves you a good amount of money or if you are really interested in trying out the service to see if it is worth it.
But, before you sign up, be aware of the potential risks that you could end up paying for months if you’re not careful and take steps to avoid making the mistake you did.
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