One way to reach your financial goals is to “set it and forget it” when saving and investing money.
You can even put important bills on autopay to avoid late payment fees. But not everything should go on autopay.
There are some bills that, once on autopay, can drain your bank account and bust your budget.
Here are some items to avoid putting on autopay.
1. Warehouse club memberships
Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club offer annual memberships. With these, you have the option to set up auto-renewal, so you’re charged automatically each year. Rather than assuming that you’re getting good value from the warehouse club membership, evaluate it at renewal time. Instead of mindlessly renewing your membership, you can decide whether it’s worth the cost you pay.
Costco allows you to manage your auto-renewal online. Select “Renew Membership” under your account and remove your “Auto Renew.” Similarly, Sam’s Club allows you to manage your auto-renewal online. Once signed into your account, you can go to the “Auto-renew settings” under the membership banner and uncheck the related box.
2. Amazon Prime membership
When you sign up for Amazon Prime, the default option is auto-renewal for an annual membership. Paying the annual fee is cheaper than the month-to-month rate, but when it comes time to renew, do you want to be stuck with the bill automatically? Consider whether you use Prime features enough to warrant the cost.
You can turn off your automatic renewal by going to “Manage Prime Membership” and clicking “End Membership.” It’s also possible to set up a reminder to end your membership.
3. Gym membership
Be honest: Are you really going to the gym that much?
When you sign up for automatic gym membership payments, you could be stuck paying for services you don’t use. Talk to your gym and ask if you can make month-to-month payments manually. That way, each time you go in to pay your bill, you can consider whether keeping up with the membership is worth it.
Remember to sign all the paperwork canceling your gym membership when you’re ready to save money and work out at home.
4. Meal prep services
Meal prep services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron deliver ingredients to make meals right to your doorstep. But what happens if you go out of town and forget to skip a delivery? What if you don’t use all the ingredients or make the meals? In some cases, if you don’t remember to change out your meals — which might be more likely to happen if your subscription is on autopay — you could end up with food you don’t like.
Review how often you make the food in the box. Perhaps it’s time to cancel your food box. Both HelloFresh and Blue Apron make it a little difficult to cancel, but you can do so from your account profile page. Both of these services give you the option to pause or skip deliveries. If you’re unsure about canceling, you can skip deliveries and see how things go. If you don’t miss the food delivery, go through with the cancellation and save money.