Money at 30: Putting My Subscriptions on the Chopping Block
Like many Americans these days, I have several different subscriptions. These include streaming services, business tools, and other various memberships. Until now, I’ve thought I’d done a decent job of keeping track of these subscriptions by maintaining a master list of them and felt fairly comfortable with what I’d let hang around. Despite this, something set me off this week, leading me to take a closer look at how much I was spending on a monthly and yearly basis.
My Cancelation Inspiration
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about the free streaming platform Pluto TV? Apparently I jinxed myself somehow as, yesterday, my apartment complex informed us that they’d be discontinuing the complimentary DirecTV perk it’d offered until now. This led us to look at how much a comparable service would cost and WOW! At this time, I’m not sure we’re willing to shell out $65+ a month to watch as few channels as we do — but this whole experience got me thinking about my subscriptions and inspired me to start making some cuts. First, however, I’d need to figure out where I could begin chopping.
To help me in my pursuit of finding cancelation targets, I turned to an app I knew was built for the job: Rocket Money (formerly known as Truebill). I’ve had this app on my phone for a while with intentions to review it, but figured I’d put it to the test by finally linking all of my credit cards and seeing what it could find. Sure enough, a few options quickly floated to the top of my radar.
So, without further ado, here are the subscriptions I recently parted with and how much I’m now saving as a result:
8 Recurring Subscriptions I Canceled or Changed
Starting things off, there’s a paywalled podcast that I’ve been considering canceling for some time now. That’s because, even though I still enjoyed the show on the whole, some aspects began to annoy me. On top of that, I felt as though listening to it was a waste of my time and distracted me from more productive things. So, when I decided to go on this purge this week, I knew exactly where to start.
With this move, I’ll now be saving $12.99 a month, which adds up to $155.88 a year. The good news is that the show does still have a free weekly episode, so I won’t be completely without it. In any case, savings: achieved.
On March 10th, 2009, the official Disney fan club D23 launched. I know this because I joined on that very day, making me a “Day 1 Charter Member.” Due to that status, I’ve held onto my subscription year after year… even though I can’t tell you the last time I opened one of the magazines that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful magazine — it’s just that I can’t bring myself to care. Meanwhile, in the past couple of years, the gift sets that came with renewal kept me re-upping despite not getting much value otherwise. Well, between a lackluster gift this year and my recent initiative, 2023 is the year I finally canceled D23.
Although my subscription level is advertised as being $99 a year, that’s before taxes and shipping or whatever they charge. All I know is that my last transaction was $111 for the year. That’s $111 I’ll now be hanging onto as my membership will officially not renew.
As a freelancer, I once saw value in having my own website. Here, I could highlight some of my work — and there was the added bonus of ranking well for my own name. However, seeing as I haven’t done much with the site in recent years, I started to wonder if it was worth it. Yet, since it was a business deduction, I kept shrugging and paying up. Well, until now.
This week, I logged into my Squarespace account and made sure it will not renew. Previously, this move would have saved me $144 for the year, but it looks as though the price actually would have increased to $196 this year. With that, my savings are really starting to add up.
Want to hear something funny? After halting my Squarespace subscription, I headed to GoDaddy to go ahead and cancel my domain registration as well. But, when I got there, I realized that I had turned off auto-renew and had yet to pay for this year. Because of this, my main URL hasn’t even been live for a month! I guess this highlights just how little attention I’ve paid to said site recently.
Anyway, these savings are pretty nominal compared to Squarespace, coming in at about $20 a year. Still, a Jackson is a Jackson, so I’ll take it.
Even though I use my GoPro Hero 8 with decent frequency, I can’t say the same for my GoPro Subscription. Having my footage backed up to the cloud is nice and getting a discount on accessories would also be great… if I were buying any. Instead, this was probably the subscription I came closest to completely forgetting I even had, making it a prime target for cancelation.
Parting with my subscription means I’m saving $5 a month. Again, this isn’t a huge amount, but it’s more the principle of the thing. Plus, it’s $60 a year a can tack onto my total.
This may be the dumbest one yet. I initially signed up for Paramount+ because I had an Amex Offer and figured “why not?” Since then, the service has been added as a perk of Walmart+ (which I happen to also have a subscription to thanks to my Amex Platinum card). Unfortunately for me, though, I forgot to cancel my paid subscription and switch to my “free” one. Oops. Luckily, it’s only been a couple of months.
With this change made, I’m reclaiming my $5 a month. Technically, this is another $60 a year saved — except I never really intended on keeping this subscription anyway. I guess I’ll count it for now, but let’s put an asterisk on it, shall we?
Turning to a legit business expense, Feeder is an RSS reader I use on a daily basis to help me find Disney news we should cover for Laughing Place. While I’m sure there are other products that are similar and might be free, I’ve really come to like this one and have all of my feeds on there now. In other words, swapping would probably be a pain.
So, why did I cancel it? Well, I didn’t! Instead, I moved from a monthly plan to a yearly one after realizing that’d be a better financial play. My savings: $1 a month — which is 12 whole dollars a year if my math is correct. Still, I put this on here as a reminder that, even if you don’t plan on canceling a service, there may be other ways to save money on them.
Finally, I’m going to cheat a bit and share one cut I made prior to this week’s bloodbath. Last month, I decided to reevaluate my Patreon subscriptions and make some changes. This led to me pulling the largest of my monthly pledges.
At $10 a month, this trim does make a decently-sized difference to my grand total. And, while I still felt bad about canceling, the creator has a large enough community that they’re still pretty well-off without me. So, while it may be a bit less for them, it’s also $120 a year more for me.
In total, as a result of these cancelations and changes, I saved myself $730 a year. What’s more, as a result of some of these cuts, I’ve also reduced distractions, eliminated a source of clutter, and, most importantly, practiced what I’ve preached! With that, while this round of cancelations may be over, I’ll be sure not to wait so long for the next one.