Keeping track of outgoings can be a trial, with daily life often getting in the way. And, while searching for the best deals in a bid to save money may be the aim, it could be that cancelling unused direct debits, standing orders and recurring payments could also save Britons money.
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According to new research by NatWest, Brits are wasting an astonishing £25billion each year due to not cancelling these unused payments.
From gym memberships and phone contracts to video streaming subscriptions like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the typical adult pays out £496 in recurring payments each month, and a huge £39 of that is spent on things that they do not use or want.
Over the course of the year, this adds up to a whopping £468.
Worryingly, the study has found that almost two in five (38 percent) of Brits leave it at least six months between reviewing direct debits and standing orders.
Meanwhile, one in 10 review them less than once a year.
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Money saving hacks: Sean discovered he had a huge amount of outgoings he had forgotten about (Image: GETTY • NATWEST)
Money Saving hacks: Sean signed up to a number of free trials and later forgot to cancel them (Image: GETTY)
According to NatWest, more than 2.6 million people (five percent) admit to never checking their direct debits at all.
Sean, 28, who lives in London, recently put his monthly expenditure under the spotlight – and made a shocking discovery.
Having signed up to an array of free trails, he had forgotten to cancel them, and since been charged – paying around £100 per month on services he hasn’t been using.
During an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Sean said: “I’ve got a little bit subscription happy in the last year or so. A few of them are free trials that I forgot to cancel.”
With the amount totting up to £100 per month, what first came to his mind when Sean had the realisation?
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“Just what a waste,” he told Express.co.uk.
“Especially around this time of year – it’s just been Christmas, we’ve been on holiday, and it’s a long gap between pay days.
“I’m trying to ration a little bit and eat out less, and do all of these things that I enjoy doing less over January – and you realise all that money is disappearing on stuff that I don’t use.”
While Sean explained he has used some of the services – such as Amazon Prime – others he hasn’t used in around a year. This includes a free three month trial of a VPN service which he used while in China.
Sean, who works in finance, admitted it was something he later “forgot existed”, adding: “That’s just been coming out of my bank account, £10 a month for the last year now probably.”
Money saving hacks: Sean spoke about his future plans for saving money during the exclusive interview (Image: NATWEST • SEAN)
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Apps for learning to play the piano and speak Spanish are among the things Sean has been paying for.
“I don’t quite want to admit defeat on some of them, but then there’s a whole bunch that I just forgot to cancel free trials that have turned into paid subscriptions that I just need to go through and clean up and cancel a few of them – which I will be going this week.
“That’s on my list of things to do now, now that I’ve been reminded of how many of them I’ve got.”
Sean explained he aimed to cancel about £90 per month-worth of services – saving him £1,080 over the course of a year.
With this substantial sum no longer automatically going out of his bank account, what does he plan to do with the money?
Money saving hacks: NatWest research found a typical adult pays out £496 in recurring payments each month (Image: GETTY)
“I think I’ll book in a few extra weekend breaks,” he said.
“I think in the short future, as soon as the month has passed and I’ve got that extra £90 I’ll go out for a nice meal and the rest of it can pick up into a holiday fund towards the end of summer.”
How can someone cancel a Direct Debit, Standing Order, or recurring payment?
NatWest explains: “You can cancel or amend Direct Debits and Standing Orders in Online Banking, or on Mobile Banking. You can also speak to your bank about any regular payments in branch or over the phone.
“For all regular payments, it is always best to contact the payee directly to cancel any service with them beforehand and check any relevant paperwork you hold – you may be in a contract and there may be penalties if you cancel, or you may be required to give the provider a period of notice.
“If you’re unable to contact the provider, then contact your bank for help.”