What are Automatic Credit Card Payments Really Costing You?

It really irks me when I think I’m doing a good job of tracking my credit card expenses, and then I see all those automatic monthly charges that I forgot about on my online statement. I have several services charged to my credit card each month, but I routinely forget about them until it comes time to pay my monthly bill.

So it got me thinking, how much is really being charged automatically each month to my card, and are those goods and services worth the costs (or am I just being lazy by not cancelling them)? Here are my monthly automatic charges with the daily and yearly costs listed next to each. I’d encourage you to calculate the daily and yearly costs for your monthly expenses too to help you make a better decision about keeping or dropping them.

Item Monthly Charge Daily Cost Yearly Cost
Gym Membership $39.95 $1.33 $479.40
Ozarka Water Delivery Service $29.95 $0.99 $359.40
Netflix 3-at-a-time Plan $22.95 $0.77 $275.40
Housekeeping $88 $2.93 $1056

Gym membership

The daily cost seems well worth the gym membership to me, but the yearly cost is pretty high. My gym is open almost 24 hours, and I can take classes for no additional cost there too. I try to get to make it work out at least three times a week, which comes out to about $3.33 a visit. Considering that one quality piece of home gym equipment would cost the same as about two years of membership dues, but wouldn’t give me nearly the variety I get at the gym and would take up square footage in my house, I think the costs are worth it. The climate here isn’t very conducive to running or biking outside for a good part of the year (I admit, I’m kind of a wimp). So I think the gym is a good year-round way to try and stay fit.

Water delivery

I drink a ton of water, but the quality of tap water in my city isn’t that great. I don’t want to waste a ton of plastic water bottles either, so a water delivery service makes sense for me. Each month, Ozarka delivers four 5-gallon containers of water to my house. I use it to fill up a reusable water bottle that I carry almost everywhere I go. If I were to buy bottles of water on-the-go instead, I would end up spending about $58 for the same amount of water that I have delivered. I think spending $0.99 a day or $359 a year is worth it to have continuous access to clean water.

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I’ve had my Netflix subscription for almost five years now. There have been times when I’ve thought about cancelling, but I think it actually saves me quite a bit of money. Because I have Netflix, I don’t go to the movies all that often nor do I pay for premium cable. This alone saves me approximately $480 / year. If I were to rent a movie once a week (which is about how often I watch a Netflix), I would spend approximately $12 a month (but it would also require driving to and from the rental store). I like Netflix because I can store the movies I want to see in a queue, and then they are conveniently delivered to my house. No late fees and great customer service too. However, if the mail service drops to only five days a week, I’ll have to reconsider Netflix because I won’t get movies as quickly as I do now.


When I lived in an apartment the size of a shoebox, cleaning wasn’t that much of a drag. But now that I’m in a two-story townhome, doing a thorough cleaning job could take up an entire Saturday. So I’ve opted for a cleaning service that comes every other week. This is my largest automatic monthly credit card expense, but I can’t help but feel that it’s worth it. I know I could save a bundle cleaning myself, but I just don’t know that it’s worth the stress or the time. Plus, my cleaning service uses all of their own products, saving me the expense of cleaning supplies. And as a bonus they practice “green” cleaning, which works just as well (in my opinion) as harsh chemicals. I could shop around for cheaper housekeeping, but I trust this one to enter and exit my home when I’m not there, without letting my pets escape through the front door in the process. While the cleaning bill adds up to a pretty big yearly figure, the peace of mind and the time saved is worth the price tag to me.

Other bills

Spend some time thinking about your other bills in this way too. Is you mobile plan really worth $3 a day? Do you really want to spend $600 a year for cable? Looking at your expenses from a daily and yearly perspective will help you decide if they’re worth the cost.  If they’re not, do something about it instead of just continuing to pay the bill. Don’t let complacency get the best of you!

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