The Courier-Mail

Video for now, not for­ever

- AN­THONY KEANE

NEW MODEL: Foad Fadaghi ONLINE sub­scrip­tions are trans­form­ing the way we pay for stuff, de­liv­er­ing po­ten­tial cost sav­ings but also rais­ing the risk of get­ting stung fi­nan­cially.

From mu­sic, games and video to so­cial media, soft­ware and data stor­age, the pop­u­lar­ity of sub­scrip­tion ser­vices has boomed. For ex­am­ple, the num­ber of Aus­tralian users of sub­scrip­tion video on de­mand ser­vices, such as Net­flix and Presto, has surged from 315,000 in De­cem­ber last year to more than two mil­lion to­day, re­search group Tel­syte says.

“It’s a busi­ness model that’s be­ing adopted across the spec­trum of en­ter­tain­ment,” Tel­syte man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Foad Fadaghi says.

A few dol­lars a week for an app or ser­vice is not ex­pen­sive but sev­eral to­gether can waste a lot of money, so check and can­cel sub­scrip­tions you don’t use. Ap­ple and Google have online guides show­ing how to do this.

Fadaghi warns that lock­ing in a longer-term sub­scrip­tion may be un­nec­es­sar­ily ex­pen­sive if prices are com­ing down.

“Keep an eye out for new ser­vices; look for ser­vices that have a free trial pe­riod and look at advertisin­g-sup­ported al­ter­na­tives or even free ver­sions,” he says.

Mike Chalmers, the founder of buy­ing ser­vice Buy­ol­o­gists, says sub­scrip­tions can of­fer a cheaper way to get some­thing be­cause you pay less up­front.

But if your in­ter­est and us­age wanes over time the cost per use ef­fec­tively climbs, he says.

Chalmers says the big­gest trap is not read­ing the fine print when you first sign up.

“You may be com­mit­ting to a long min­i­mum term with­out re­al­is­ing it, and of course once you sign up it’s up to you to re­mem­ber to un­sub­scribe if you stop us­ing it, as most mod­els re­new your sub­scrip­tion au­to­mat­i­cally, of­ten with­out any no­ti­fi­ca­tion,” says Chalmers .

Fi­nan­cialAd­vi­sor.com.au prin­ci­pal James Ger­rard says: “Five years ago if you wanted to buy a piece of soft­ware you would pay $200 and get it. Now you pay $10 a month, for­ever.”

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that peo­ple keep track of all the things they sub­scribe to.”

Peo­ple with kids can use tech­nol­ogy to limit their chil­dren’s abil­ity to sub­scribe, Ger­rard adds. NOW is the time to springclea­n your home loan and save your­self some se­ri­ous dol­lars.

As we kiss win­ter good­bye, there’s a great op­por­tu­nity for you to cut your mort­gage by get­ting ahead on your re­pay­ments.

The Re­serve Bank of Aus­tralia meets again to­mor­row and it’s widely tipped the cash rate will stay on hold at 2 per cent.

But don’t be com­pla­cent – a quick scan of your mort­gage de­tails could help you sig­nif­i­cantly cut down your over­all costs. Here are five sim­ple tricks to shave down your mort­gage at a faster rate.

SPELL­ING IT OUT: Credit card ex­pert Peter Arnold helps to ex­plain some of the terms that lenders need to know.

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