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Missing Money; Subscriptions, Free Trials and Other Places to Check for Leaks

Sometimes in life routines can cause us to overlook areas of spending that are not necessary. However, neglecting these areas can cause a big dent in our budgets and stifle our best attempts to increase savings or bring a budget back on track. Here are some of the most overlooked areas of spending that could be impacting your finances.

Subscription Services and Free Trial Memberships

Sure $10 per month for a streaming service does not sound like much, but how many of these small subscriptions have you added up? And those free trial memberships? We all plan on cancelling, but inevitably they can slip through the cracks and end up as one of our unexpected and unneeded monthly expenses. Look through bank statements for subscriptions you may have forgotten about and cancel them. And avoid signing up for free trials.

Emotional Spending

Shopping when you are stressed, excited, tired, and hungry can spell trouble for our budgets. Be aware of how you are felling before you hit the stores or pull up Amazon. Try taking a walk, listening to music, or spending time with a friend when you feel like making unplanned purchases. The idea is to distract your mind, save your bank account, and make mindful decisions about your money.

Delivery Charges

The COVID pandemic brought about a lot of changes in how people receive household goods and personal services. Rather than pick up groceries at the store, we can have them delivered directly to our front door. We can also have furniture, a hot meal, and nearly any household good dropped off at our home. However, those delivery services often come with a price tag. According to a study by TechCrunch,”When accounting for Total Meal Cost, on the low end of the spectrum you would pay an extra 17% over restaurant list price when ordering via Seamless, while on the high end you would shell out a whopping 40.5% more when using Postmates.” That means a $50 meal could cost you $70. That could turn into a very large spending leak.

Failing to Shop Around

It is always good to comparison shop for services like auto insurance, cable or internet service, cell phone plans and any other service you commit to for an extended period. There are a few reasons for this. First, your financial circumstances may have changed since the you first signed up for service. Perhaps your credit improved and you qualify for a better plan. Or maybe, your current provider offers another plan that better fits your needs. Second, a different service provider may be able to offer sign on incentives that will reduce your costs. You may also be able to use the second servicers offer as leverage to secure better benefits or a reduced rate from the company you are with now.


We will wrap this up with avoiding unnecessary fees in banking. Many banks and credit unions, local and national, have accounts that are either no fee or very low fee. One of the only options missing in these accounts is the ability to write a paper check, but most offer a bill pay service where you can have payments sent to businesses. When looking for an account, consider your needs such as ATM access, number of debits allowed, money transfers, and learn about all the fees you could be charged. Use ATMs that are part of the financial institutions network and always ensure there is enough money in the account to cover all outstanding checks and point of sale purchases. The goal is to avoid paying fees by keeping the account in good standing and finding an account that fits the way you manage money.

If you are looking for additional help managing a budget, credit counseling from American Financial Solutions can help. Our certified credit counselors can help you assess your situation and provide options for how to bring expenditures back on track.

Published Jul 27, 2021.