Here’s a little personal finance exercise for you: Grab your most recent credit card statement and look for automatic monthly charges for subscriptions. Find any you’re not actually using and cancel them.
After reading this article, I know that most people won’t cancel their unwanted subscriptions. It’s not laziness – the problem is that the companies offering these services make it difficult to unsubscribe. For example, they may tap into your FOMO – fear of missing out – anxieties by showing what you’ll be missing if you leave.
Suggestion: Try doing an audit every 6 or 12 months on the online subscription you’re signed up for. Keep the good ones, cut those you don’t enjoy or use often. Multiple subscriptions can get pricey on a cumulative basis, so consider a subscription cap. Maybe you set aside $35 or $50 per month in total for subscriptions, or you pick no more than three services.
The subscription model of charging for things is catching on as a result of services like Netflix and Spotify. For example, the American Express Cobalt Card charges a monthly fee of $10 rather than the usual onetime $120 fee for premium reward cards. The smaller amount of the monthly fee seems more manageable, and that’s an issue. Add up a bunch of monthly charges and you end up with a big collective cost on your credit card every month.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list…
The home reno that pays for itself
You’ve probably heard that most home renovations increase the value of your home by only a fraction of their cost. Exception: Stone siding. Apparently, you can recoup 95 per cent of your outlay, compared to about two-thirds for a remodeled kitchen or bathroom.
About those hot stock tips from friends and family
Talking with others about investments can often make you feel like you’re missing out on something. Here’s some advice on how to screen out the noise and focus on what makes sense for your investing needs.
Mom, what’s your credit card number?
How online video game developers can lure your kids into spending money on your credit card, without your approval.
Warren Buffett says easy does it with debt
A blogger highlights Mr. Buffett’s sage words on debt – corporate and household – in his recent letter to shareholders.
Is your teenager learning about money in high school?
Hey Ontario teachers and parents of teenagers, Report on Business reporter Clare O’Hara is wondering whether your child’s high school has a mandatory financial literacy course in grade 10? According to Bill 69, you should - but has it been rolled out? Email Clare here.
Today’s financial tool
This calculator can help you find out how much your RRSP will be worth at retirement and how much income it might generate annually.
Q: On Jan. 21, 2015, and again on July 15, the Bank of Canada reduced its rate by 0.25 of a percentage point. On both occasions, the Big Six Canadian Banks reduced their prime rates by only 0.15 of a point, keeping 0.1 of a point for themselves each time. The Big Six never returned that 0.2 of a point to Canadian consumers as prime rates started to move upward in 2017. To this day, the 0.2 of a point that was withheld is benefiting the Big Six and not their customers. Why is no one talking about that? As customers, we are paying that extra 20 basis points on all of our loans.
A: A column I wrote back in 2015 on this stunt by the banks had the following headline: “Banks fail ethics test by not lowering prime rates.” I have had a few angry e-mails from readers on this matter over the years, but my overall impression is that people just accepted this move by the banks.
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.
How much should you expect to pay for extra-curricular activities for your kids? Sobering numbers in this interview with personal finance expert Kelley Keehn.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
- Is your company group RRSP any good? Here’s how to make the best of a bad plan
- Renovating without a permit a costly mistake
- Tax-saving tips for entrepreneurs, investors, snowbirds and everyone else (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
More Carrick and money coverage
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