2 minutes reading time (342 words)

Take the plunge and cancel direct debits

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I once had a gym membership. It cost me about £60 a month. I did make an effort to go swimming a couple of times a week but to be honest the decision to ditch the gym was one of my better ideas. Firstly, swimming doesn’t make you lose weight – there were some really enormous people swimming loads of high-speed length which was evidence enough for me. Secondly, I found it a really depressing place to go: everyone was either ultra-competitive lycra-clad and young. Or – and this lot were in the majority – they were really old and tutted if you dared to take too long to use the costume dryer: it was like being in an unfriendly old people’s home. Thirdly, it was economically stupid. The nearby council swimming pool may not have flash showers with soap dispensers but it’s clean and empty if you can avoid the school groups. And it costs £3.55 a go – less if you sign up for a card. So I ditched the gym and my bank account gained weight.

Other direct debits I have ditched in recent years include emergency boiler coverage (I can call out a local expert if I need to and I get my boiler serviced by them too); bookkeeping fees (I do it myself now) and breakdown cover (fingers crossed, keeping my car maintained and serviced makes it less likely to go kaput). According to a report out today from TopCashback, Britons waste £448m each month on things they don’t use. As well as gym memberships, TV and music streaming services, credit reports, product delivery services (I guess that means things like Amazon Prime) and magazine subscriptions are other monthly payments for services that are unwanted, underused or unneeded. However it also found that 43% of those with unwanted payments didn’t cancel them because they couldn’t face the hassle of doing so. I think it’s time to face the fear: dive in and get rid of your unwanted direct debits – it will all go swimmingly, I’m sure.

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Saturday, 20 April 2019