8 Bills You Should Never Put on Autopay

Autopay Bills Cover

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Autopay Bills Cover
Cheapism / Serghei Starus/metamorworks/istockphoto

Automatic Headache

Setting your bills to autopay might seem like a great way to never miss a payment, avoid late fees, and build credit. But it also makes it easy to stop paying attention, lulling you into overspending and unintended consequences. It can be a big problem for monthly bills with variable amounts, or if you sometimes don't have enough money to cover all your monthly expenses in your bank account. 

Which bills should you avoid checking that autopay button on? Here are several that you should only pay the old fashioned way. 

Energy bill papers

1. Utility Bills

Electric, gas, and water bills can vary a lot based on everything from the season to houseguests. Chances are, you're already aware of these typical fluctuations, and you'd be able to spot any major changes that come from an error, faulty meter, or even a water or gas leak. If they're on autopay, you're more likely to miss an important problem.

Related: Ready To Save Big on Your Natural Gas Bill? Here's How

Watching tv and using remote control

2. Cable or Satellite Bills

You may think that your cable bill will be the same every month, but if you pay attention, you'll notice that they increase often. Cable companies are notorious for adding fees for everything under the sun, and god help you when those promotional offer periods end. 

A happy little girl playing and watching tv on a cell phone sitting in a car seat. Kids using electronics.

3. Cell Phone Bills

Just like cable bills, cell phone bills increase on their own all the time thanks to ridiculous fees. It's even worse if you're on a plan that doesn't include unlimited data, phone calls, or text messages. It's always best to check your monthly bill for anomalies — especially if you have kids who use your phone or teens on your family plan.

Amazon Prime delivery van on the street

4. Free Trials

We've all signed up for free trials and then gotten bit by the autopay feature that's inevitably turned on by default. When you sign up for any kind of free trial service, double check immediately that the autopay option isn't activated, or you'll be sorry. If the free trial requires you to leave autopay on, set up a reminder on a smart device a couple days before the trial ends to cancel it.

Related: 31 Simple Ways to Save Money Every Day of the Month

Costco Executive Membership Card

5. Annual Subscriptions

You can often save money on subscription services by signing up for an entire year at a time instead of paying monthly. But it's easy to forget when that auto debit is coming, and you might not have enough money in your account for a large withdrawal. Plus, in the case of something like a Costco membership, you might find that you go so little that it's no longer worth the price anymore.

Netflix App on a Apple Tv

6. Streaming Services

If you've cut the cable cord, chances are you did it to save money. Streaming services are getting more and more expensive, though, and it's easy to lose track of which ones you're actually paying for if you don't use them regularly. Paying your Netflix, Disney+, and Max subscriptions monthly will ensure you're only paying for what you actually use. 

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Gym Membership
Serghei Starus/shutterstock

7. Gym Membership

Unless you're a gym rat, it's a good bet that you may not be using your gym membership regularly enough to justify the price every month. Gym employees are great at talking people into autopay and annual memberships, too, which can make for a big surprise withdrawal.

Unicorn Gift Box

8. Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes for things like Japanese snacks and kids science experiment kits are fun for a while. Eventually, they get repetitive, boring, or the novelty wears off. Don't inadvertently sign up for another whole year by putting that monthly gift box delivery on autopay.