Subscriptions To Cancel And Keep: A How-To-Guide

People cancel subscriptions for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps your priorities have changed, or you want to make room in your budget for going to rock concerts again—or giving back. Whatever the reason, this guide will help you decide which subscriptions to cancel, and point you to how to do it.


The subscription model boomed during the pandemic as people explored ways to stay entertained from home. Now, as we embrace a new normal, many are wondering what subscriptions to cancel and what’s worth keeping. The pandemic also put a glaring spotlight on deep-rooted inequities, which inspired a new record for charitable giving for racial justice efforts and COVID-19 relief. You might now be wondering how you can continue to sustain the charitable goals you set with a budget-friendly, long-term strategy.

This guide will help you decide which subscriptions you can live without by measuring the joy it brings you, the cost, and the value, and leave you with ways to integrate giving back into your budget planning. The practical tips you will find in this article can even be an avenue to giving back as you can put some of your subscription savings toward a monthly donation to a charitable cause you love.

What subscriptions do I even have?

There are so many subscriptions, it can be hard to keep track of. To keep everything organized, try apps for tracking subscriptions and for tracking monthly spending. Both typically group subscriptions so you can see all your monthly fees in one place.

After you’ve inventoried your subscriptions, your next step is to determine what to cancel and what to keep.

Should I cancel my subscription?

There isn’t a one size fits all answer to what subscriptions to cancel and keep. These questions will help you decide for yourself, so you can feel confident both in the subscriptions to cancel and in the subscriptions you add or keep:

    1. Does it spark joy?

    To take a page from Marie Kondo’s book, as you clean up your subscription list, consider which ones still spark joy, and which ones to thank and let go. Ask yourself questions such as “how do I feel about this subscription?” and let your feelings guide your next steps. As you’re doing this, really try to only select ones that inspire joy so you can better understand what you love in a subscription but also what you need in a subscription.

    2. Do I use this enough to be worth the price?

    A helpful way to weigh this question is to add up the annual cost of your monthly subscription. If you have multiple similar subscriptions, add the cost by category as well to weigh the annual value for you. Consider the other ways you could spend or invest that annual amount. If you’re spending $12/month that’s about $144 in a year. That could be 40 cups of coffee, one month’s electric bill, or a very impactful donation to a nonprofit fighting for climate or animal welfare. Does the subscription hold its value in this comparison?

    3. Do I have similar subscriptions? If yes, which are most valuable?

    This may be controversial, but depending on how much time you actually spend watching your TV, it may or may not make sense to keep all six of your streaming subscriptions. The same principle works for any area you have multiple subscriptions (gaming, fitness, subscription boxes, etc.). Consider the ones you use the most, what they have in common and what sets them apart, then choose the one that’s most valuable to you. Still unsure which subscription to cancel? The good thing is that you can always start it up again, so try going a month without some to help better define which ones you really want.

    Putting each of your subscriptions through this litmus test will reassure you in your decisions on what subscriptions to cancel and what subscriptions to add or keep.

How to cancel

So you’ve decided to cancel your subscription. Unfortunately, some companies make this difficult. Here’s an inventory of how-to guides to cancel subscriptions in different categories:

What to add or keep

You can get a thrill of freedom from canceling subscriptions you don’t use or want anymore! You can put that money somewhere that’s more valuable to you.

As you reconsider what subscriptions spark joy, consider adding a new monthly commitment that aligns with your values—become a monthly donor to a project that’s meaningful to you, and GlobalGiving will match your first monthly gift at 100%. Or join our GlobalGiving Project of the Month Club.

Find a project that sparks joy.


Featured Photo: 1000 Trees a Year 1000 Acres of Rainforest Forever by Camino Verde

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