How to Cancel Unwanted Subscriptions

in Save by Lacey Langford, AFC®

Subscriptions are everywhere. From streaming services to online memberships, it’s easy to accumulate rack-up subscriptions without even realizing it. That’s not even factoring in the frequent moves that come with military life. The financial drain caused by unwanted or unused subscriptions can sneak up on you. In this article, I’m going to share the importance of identifying and canceling unnecessary subscriptions to keep your budget under control.

Identifying Unwanted Subscriptions

One of the first steps in canceling unwanted subscriptions is to identify them. Often, these subscriptions lurk in the background, quietly deducting funds from your account each month or year. Review all of your bank and credit card statements to find services you no longer use or need, like a gym membership you got for your New Year’s resolution or a Paramount+ you signed up for to watch the Super Bowl.

What’s the Subscription Worth?

Once you’ve identified potential unwanted subscriptions, assessing their value is key. Ask yourself whether each subscription aligns with your current needs and the financial goals you’ve set for yourself. If a subscription no longer serves its purpose or provides you value, it’s time to let it go.

Steps to Cancel Unwanted Subscriptions

Canceling subscriptions may seem like it’s going to be an all-day project, but it will take less time than you think. It’s a necessary evil step to get control over your spending. The best/easiest place to start is to go to the service provider’s website and follow their cancellation procedures. If not, you can contact them directly using their website’s “contact us” information. Or, if you have a lot of unused subscriptions to cancel, you could use a subscription cancellation app to make the process easier. Here’s an article on Apps That Help You Cancel Subscriptions.

Avoiding Future Unwanted Subscriptions

Ben Franklin was right, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prevention is critical when it comes to managing subscriptions. Before signing up for a new service, think long and hard if it’s worth investing your time and money. Remember to make it a habit to regularly review your subscription list and eliminate any services that no longer serve you before they start eating away at your budget.

Benefits of Cancelling Unwanted Subscriptions

The benefits of canceling unwanted subscriptions are plenty! Not only will you save money in the long run, but you’ll also reduce clutter and digital noise in your life and reduce the time spent managing those things. You’ll have more control over your finances and time by simplifying your subscriptions.

The Psychological Aspect

Despite the financial benefits, many people hesitate to cancel subscriptions due to psychological barriers. Overthinking a cancellation can lead to inaction. Whether it’s FOMO, aka the fear of missing out, or the fear of facing your financial realities, overcoming these fears is important to achieving financial freedom.

Subscription Alternatives

Instead of paying for multiple subscriptions, consider exploring free or cheaper alternatives. Many services offer basic versions at no cost, while others provide similar features for a fraction of the price. Additionally, consolidating services can help streamline your expenses and reduce clutter. If you know you only want to use a streaming service or a subscription for the free trial, be sure to set a reminder in your phone to cancel before they automatically charge you.

Legal Considerations

Know your rights when it comes to canceling subscriptions. Consumers can often cancel subscriptions at any time with no penalty. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of each service to ensure you’re not being charged unfairly. If you have any doubts, call or visit Consumer Affairs on the military installation closest to you to get their expert advice. Also, review your rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). You can brush up on your rights with this article on the SCRA.

Tips for Negotiation

If you encounter difficulties canceling a subscription, don’t be scared to negotiate. Many service providers will waive cancellation fees or offer incentives to keep you as a customer. Be polite but firm in your negotiations, and don’t hesitate to escalate the issue if necessary or, again, reach out to Consumer Affairs. They can also help you negotiate.

Impact on Credit Score

Unpaid subscriptions can drag down your credit score, mainly if they result in missed payments or overdraft fees. By proactively canceling unwanted subscriptions, you can avoid potential damage to your credit.

Bottom Line on Unwanted Subscriptions

Canceling unwanted subscriptions is part of running your household and budget. It’s a crucial duty to achieve financial freedom. By identifying unnecessary expenses, assessing their value, and taking decisive action, you can regain control over your finances and reduce digital clutter in your life. Don’t let unwanted subscriptions pile up and drain your bank. Start canceling them now to save your hard-earned money.


Will canceling subscriptions affect my credit score? Cancelling subscriptions won’t directly affect your credit score, but unpaid subscriptions sure will. Like anything that goes unpaid, it can lead to missed payments, impacting your credit rating. How can I track all my subscriptions? You can use a simple spreadsheet or a subscription management app to track your subscriptions and expenses. Is it worth paying for subscription management apps? I always prefer to try all free methods first. I would use a spreadsheet first. If that doesn’t work for you, then a subscription management app could be worth the investment if you actually use it, and it helps you save money by identifying and canceling unused subscriptions. What should I do if I can’t reach the service provider to cancel? If you cannot reach the service provider, consider contacting your bank or credit card company to block future payments. Or reach out to Consumer Affairs or a financial readiness office near you and ask for assistance. Featured image by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier