How to program automated alerts before one of your monthly subscriptions ends with Actiondesk

Jonathan Parisot
Jonathan Parisot
January 18, 2019

The problem: It’s hard to keep track of your subscriptions


We live in the “subscription era”. The business model of many online services is a monthly subscription fee.

This is great overall. Instead of paying a steep price up front, we pay a much lower amount every month and reassess monthly if we really need the service. The problem is, whether in our business or professional lives, we’ve subscribed to many services.

At Actiondesk, we’re a small startup, and we already have 12 subscriptions, costing us 510€ (~ $580) every month.

Those various services all renew at various dates. It’s very common to forget that you subscribed to one service and keep on paying for a service even when you’re not using it anymore.


The solution: Google sheets and Actiondesk


With 10 minutes of your time, google sheets and actiondesk, you can program an automation sending you an email 2 days before any of your subscription periods end.


First step: list all your subscriptions on a google sheet


You’ll have to list:

  • Name of service
  • Day of the month when it renews (if it’s 29, 30, 31 you should put 28, which will avoid having problems in February)
  • Amount


It should look like this:




You can just copy this google sheets template.


Step 2: Setup a workflow in Actiondesk


  • Sign up on to get access to the beta
  • Create a new workflow
  • Connect your google sheets account
  • Import the sheet containing the list of your subscriptions
  • Click on Program actions / Gmail
  • In filter, input the following formula: AND(Renewal_Day-DAY(NOW())<2,Renewal_Day-DAY(NOW())>0)
  • What does this mean? We want to send emails only when the delta between the renewal date and today’s date is between 0 and 2.
  • In recipient, put whatever email addresses you’d like the emails to be sent to
  • In the body and object, you can inject variables coming from the table. For example:
  • Object: {Service} renewing on the {Renewal_Day}
  • Body: Subscription for {Service} (amount: {Amount}) is renewing in 2 days, on the {Renewal_Day}. Think about canceling it if you're not using it anymore!
  • Publish your workflow to run every morning


Step 3: Chill out


Two days before any of your subscriptions renew, you’ll get an email looking like this:




You could also include some more andvanced things. Here are two things we do at actiondesk:

  • Some of our subscribtions are annual, we set up alerts two weeks before those renew
  • For some subscriptions, there is no question, we will not cancel them (for exemple, we won’t stop using gmail or slack). For those, no need to get an alert. To exclude them, we added in the google sheet a column “Send_alert”, which is filled with “Yes” or “No” accordingly.
  • In your filter in actiondesk, you just have to add this condition (Send_alert = “Yes”)


With Actiondesk’s starter plan you have one workflow for free, so don’t hesitate to try it out!


PS: You could also send a slack message to yourself or in a specific channel. This is actually what we do at Actiondesk!