They lurk in the shadows. They feed when no one is watching. And you invited them in.
They are your monthly and annual subscriptions and they are here to suck you dry.
For many people, both professionally and personally, keeping track of where money goes is a universal concern. With the rise of auto-renewal and subscription services it has never been easier to lose track of who is getting paid what and how much they are being paid.
“Vampire Debt” is the process by which these subscriptions and auto-paying services begin to accumulate and drain your bank account of money, but are done quietly and slowly enough that it goes unnoticed. Thankfully there are ways to kill vampires.
As in many circumstances the first step is identifying the problem. In this instance it begins with a series of questions.
• How many subscriptions or auto-pays are currently operating?
• Who and what are they and what value do they provide?
• How much do they cost?
• Are they all being paid from one account or from several? If several, how many?
These four questions should begin to frame the problem fully and allow for ample understanding of the current situation. From here the problem can begin to be addressed fully.
Following the diagnosis comes the decision making process. Examine the items and determine what services or subscriptions are critical. If it is used daily or is the cornerstone to the system, designate it as “Keep”. From there take any other service or subscription and weigh its value to its cost. Systematically move through each service and designate it as “Keep” or “Cancel”.
Once everything is labeled it is time to consolidate. Begin by shutting down all services or subscriptions designated as “Cancel”. Then take all the services marked “Keep” and place them under as few payment accounts (credit cards) as possible. If they can be moved to a single card do so. That will make it easier to manage and maintain monthly.
With the vampires removed the final step is vigilance. At least twice a year re-do the process as needed and make sure any new services stay within your current system. In no time at all your Dracula sized will be reduced to little Vampire Bat.
By: Paul Davis, Jr.