We Are Slaves to Subscriptions!

As software continues to eat the world, we’re slowly becoming slaves to subscriptions. I don’t remember when I started thinking about this but it must’ve come up when I looked at our family budget. I realized that we as a family and I, are paying so much on monthly or yearly subscriptions that it just gives me great pause. What am I paying? On the surface, it doesn’t look like much but then you dig deeper and you realize you are hooked! Here are some subscriptions in our household:
Internet Subscription My monthly Internet subscription is something I simply can’t live without. All of us need this for work or schooling, especially now during the Covid19 pandemic. I don’t foresee canceling this anytime soon.
Mobile Phone Subscription This is another monthly subscription that my wife and I can’t live without. This is mostly for work, communication, and scheduling activities. Plus it’s a great way to surf the Internet when you are bored or find shopping deals. Just like the Internet Subscription, I don’t see us canceling this anytime soon.
Domain Hosting I support all my blogs and run some data scraping bots off Dreamhost. This is a yearly $200+ subscription for a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that is valuable to me. I’ve tried to move away from Dreamhost for something like AWS only to be dinged for every little nickel and dime by Amazon. Dreamhost makes it easy for me to maintain my blog and python related stuff and the once a year lump sum cost is nice too. I don’t foresee canceling this service soon either and I’ll be writing a detailed review of Dreamhost soon.
Netflix & Amazon Prime Ok, this is a good one. Especially now that Hulu, Disney+, and whatever else is out there is trying to get your $. How the hell did I end up with both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video? Easy, we have Amazon Prime (yearly fee) and didn’t like the selection, so we opted for Netflix. I’ve concluded that this is an incredible time and money suck for us. On top of this I also have a monthly HBO subscription that I signed up to watch Game of Thrones. We hardly watch TV or movies these days, so one has to go.
Going forward, I will be canceling Netflix. Not because I don’t like it but how many movie subscriptions do you need when you can go outside and work out in the yard with the family?
Data Storage This one caught me off guard. I have a yearly Dropbox subscription for 2TB of storage, a monthly iCloud storage subscription, and a yearly Google storage subscription. WOWZERS. How the hell did that happen? No matter how it happened, I will need to consolidate this over the next year. I use Gmail a lot and the Google storage makes sense there. The iCloud subscription costs me $0.99 a month for an extra 50GB of space for my backups, and Dropbox makes it nice to share a ton of my data back and forth between laptops. Still I can’t help by wonder which of these is the most important?
I think going forward I will keep the iCloud subscription because I need it for my phone and work. Backups and saving data via my phone has become too valuable NOT to have.
Since the family uses Gmail, I think I will drop Dropbox in the future and move to Google Drive. I had to say it but Google has some nice Documents/Sheets/Presentation cloud software that everyone is using. The only thing I will probably miss from Dropbox is Dropbox Paper. They make it so easy to take notes for things. Maybe I’ll get my company to pick up the tab for this one. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Streaming Music I pay a monthly fee for Apple Music. It’s a must-have for me, my indulgence. It’s available to the entire family too, so it stays.
Karate Dojo Tuition I’ve been taking Karate for over 4 years now and I’ve been religiously paying my monthly tuition. This is will not change and I can see myself paying this for several years into the future. Studying Karate has helped me in many ways, perhaps too many to list here. What I won’t be doing is joining a generic gym in the future.
Online Subscriptions This one is insidious. I forget about these and they usually have ‘auto-renew’ functions that keep dinging me monthly or yearly. I completely forget about them until I get a message that says “we’ve renewed your subscription” and then I go ‘DAMNIT!’ Granted, they warn you of the pending renewal via email but I always glean over those emails and miss them. There’s too much noise hitting my inbox these days too. I’m canceling these subscriptions when I find them or remember them.
Winc Subscription I have a monthly wine delivery subscription called Winc.com. I like them very much and I often joke that it’s my real ‘social security’ because pre-Covid19 pandemic, we’d always be going to our neighbor’s houses for parties. Bringing a great bottle of wine is always a hit, so Winc.com has become indispensable for me and for social people who enjoy a good dinner with wine. I like them so much that I actually invested in them.
End Notes / Time Sucks I’m sure there are more of these subscriptions lurking somewhere and I need to watch my expenses like a hawk. The economic effects of Covid19 have not been felt yet. Yes people are out of work right now and that’s an immediate problem but the wave has not worked its way through yet. It’s going to be frightening and it’s time to raise cash and cut expenses.
I might be setting myself up for potential failure but I’ve found that time sucks are usually correlated with expenses. I’ve been contemplating about time sucks a lot lately and I even tweeted about it.
We only have so much time in the world. Focus on a few things and do them well. Drop the noise.
— Thomas Ott (@neuralmarket) May 20, 2020 Right now the neural market trend for me is to focus on the few things that are important to me: Family, Work, Karate, writing, and cutting the cord on all the noise.