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Clear Your Tech Clutter—and Your Credit Card Bill—by Doing a Subscriptions Inventory

Follow these easy steps to make sure those streaming services and publications you pay for monthly still bring joy, information and help.

Clearing your tech clutter
Credit: Getty Images

It’s been a long pandemic, and I look back over the past two years and can only marvel at the adjustments I’ve made, the numbers of times I’ve found my feet within the “next normal,”  and the myriad ways I’ve worked to make my home a sanctuary of comfort and calm despite the ever-shifting landscape outside the door.

Not all of my innovations have been positive, though. Chief among the “not my proudest moments” is a recent realization that my number of paid subscriptions—including streaming services, online and print publications, and discount “subscribe and save” programs—has ballooned beyond all reason.

I’m trying not to berate myself for taking the bait of seven-day free trials (and then forgetting to cancel) or for adding another subscription to my ever-growing list simply because it felt like an easy thing to do at a time when nothing felt easy. 

But at the same time, I’ve been taking some time lately to really examine what I’m signed up for and to cancel subscriptions that no longer bring me joy, information, help or convenience. I’m not canceling everything—not even close—but I’ve found it a meaningful exercise. Taking a “subscriptions inventory” gives me a full picture of what I’m committed to and gives the chance to make smart decisions about what I can do to save my inbox and credit card bill from unneeded clutter.

For example, I love audiobooks, but my subscription to a paid audiobook app came with a new credit every month. Noticing that I have 8 credits (for 8 books) in my account, I decided to cancel the monthly payment while I work my way through that audio-bounty. When I’m back in the market for more credits, I can decide whether and how to renew my subscription.

Some streaming services, I realized, give me access to the same content as is available on others. So why was I paying for both? I canceled the duplicates with a smile on my face.

Are you persuaded to try this for yourself? Start your own “subscriptions inventory today” by following these easy steps:

–Review your credit card statement and make a list of anything on it that’s a subscription charge.

–Organize your list by category (i.e. delivery service, streaming platforms, reading material).

–Mark subscriptions you’re either sure you aren’t using or enjoying any longer, or would consider canceling.

–Wait a day or two, and then return to the list. Confirm your decisions (or change your mind).

–Log into your subscription accounts and cancel the ones that no longer serve your happiness and growth.

I hope that once you’ve done this, you’ll feel the satisfaction of saving some money, and also of knowing that the commitments you’ve made are for items and services that are investments in the joy, ease and usefulness that serve your life today.

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