Perhaps you were overly-ambitious when you made your New Year’s resolutions, or you can no longer commit to some of the goals you set.
The end of the year is when you are likely to re-examine some of the memberships and packages you have committed to and re-assess if you would like to continue them.
But, what are the options you can explore?
#1 Bite The Bullet; Terminate
The easiest thing that most people would do is to bite the bullet and terminate a package without looking back.
However, what often holds them back is sunk cost fallacy. Sunk cost fallacy refers to costs that have already been paid and cannot be recovered. As such, these costs should not have a bearing on your future decisions since there is nothing you can do to get it back.
Based on the sunk cost fallacy, terminating a membership or programme midway is not entirely wrong or a complete loss if you have already made up your mind or come to the conclusion that your package will never be fully utilised. It makes even more sense if there are recurring costs.
However, termination only makes sense if there are recurring costs. For instance, mobile telco plans may charge termination fees if you wish to end your service with the provider. Termination, in this case, should only be considered if the total recurring costs of completing the remainder of your plan exceeds the termination fees involved.
Costs of continuing can also include intangible losses. For example, potential benefits of your package diminish as you face the stress of underutilising your package or the emotional indecision of continuing something you cannot fully commit to. There is also an opportunity cost as your time and funds are tied when it comes to other programmes or items that you are more keen to pursue.
#2 Think About It; Suspend
It is possible that your commitment levels may vary based on other commitments or unforeseen circumstances.
In the case of a gym membership, you may be unable to visit the gym because of an illness or a vacation to another country. However, that does not mean that you do not intend to continue with your programme in the near future.
In such a case, most gyms offer the option to freeze or suspend your membership. This allows you to continue enjoying your gym membership privileges even if you do not fulfil the basic commitment. Examples of such benefits and perks are discounts and promotions at external vendors.
For gyms that offer specialised rates to individuals, exercising this option means that you secure your discounted rate when you resume full commitment. You also reduce the costs incurred as you pay less or only a nominal fee for the months that you cannot commit to as usual.
Some beauty packages with expiry dates also allow you to “extend” or “pause” your package. Commonly accepted reasons include travelling for an extended period, or if you are medically unfit to undergo the treatment for a set amount of time.
Suspending your package or membership can be an option for those who foresee a transitionary period where they may be busy with other things in life, and cannot maximise the full value of their package.
#3 Best Of Both Worlds; Sell Off Or Transfer If Possible
It is possible to do a transfer for services or packages that are not strict about ownership. Examples include online music or video streaming subscription services such as Youtube Premium, Netflix, or Spotify.
This is because membership to these services can be easily transferred or even shared. There is also no preclusion to using these services. Transferring or selling off the package or membership is convenient for those who want to cut their commitment to a service or package but already know of someone who is keen to take it on.
However, you need to be careful of any terms and conditions that deny instances of an outright transfer, or limit sharing to a certain number of people or fixed persons.
The Value Of Your Time And Money
Ultimately, there is little value in either regretting or staying in indecision. But, neither should the sunk cost of something you committed to be a justification for you to continue a package or membership you no longer need or really utilise.
Time and money are losses you incur when you remain in a programme, membership or package that does not suit your needs or one that you will definitely under-utilise. And, the opportunity cost and value of lost time and money, while intangible and hard to quantify, cannot be recovered.