budget talk

The Added Cost of Being on Auto-Pilot


We all know being disorganized can cost us money. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rushed out to buy something I know I already own but can’t remember where I put it. I’m getting better at being organized but one thing that can also eat away at your budget is payments that are on auto-pilot.

I’ve signed up for services, memberships to sites etc. without thinking about how payments are made during the second year. A couple of times I’ve been sent e-mails saying thank you for staying on as a customer for another year.

But what, you say, I didn’t make a payment to you. In fact, I wanted to cancel.

I’ve lost count how many times it’s happened to be in the last year or so. When I’ve checked if they are indeed right and were able to automatically renew my membership or service for a year, I’ve discovered that yes, they can and it’s my own fault for not being diligent.

These days it seems like it’s a default setting for most companies to put your account on auto-renewal and by the time you realize it, you’re paying for another year. That’s fine if you really want it but if you don’t, well, it’s wasted money.

I’ve been slowly checking all my services and memberships and going through the process of unchecking the auto-renew box on anything I no longer want to keep.  Some of them don’t let you do that and instead you have to simply cancel. In those cases, and so I don’t lose the remaining part of the membership I’ve already ready paid for, I’ve made a note on my calendar that a few days before the subscription or whatever ends, I’ll cancel it.

It’s also a great opportunity to look at all the things you’re still paying for that you may no longer use or have an interest in. I have three this year that fit that category and I’ve worked out I’ll be saving close to $300. That’s $300 that would have wasted had I not been watching for the auto-renew feature on these sites. If it’s a service or something you do use, it’s a good time to also check if they’re giving you the best price. I switched my domain registrations off of auto-renew and changed to a service offering much lower prices.

So bottom line is look at payments that are on ‘auto-pilot’. Are they still things you need and if they are, is someone else offering you a better deal?


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