Author Topic: I'm in subscription hell  (Read 3830 times)

Emily2651

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I'm in subscription hell
« on: July 16, 2018, 11:18:48 PM »
[Caveat: I am newly returning to frugality after a lengthy hiatus. Much work to do.]

Thanks to Prime Day, today I took stock of how many freakin' subscriptions we have in our household. It's out of control.

- Amazon Prime ($119/year)
- Spotify ($9.99/month)
- Thrive Market ($59.95/year)
- Calm app ($59.99/year)
- NYT online/Sunday delivery ($41/month)
- Idler online/print (£125/year)
- Nautilus print subscription ($39/year)
- Photoshop ($9.99/month)
- YNAB ($50/year)

!YIKES! The annual cost of this mess is $1225.24.

I am horrified.

I've already stopped Amazon Prime from auto-renewing. I'm also going to shed Thrive, Calm, the NYT; won't renew the Idler and Nautilus. For now, I'll keep Spotify and YNAB; husband says he can't give up Photoshop. Total annual savings: $935.48. It's a start.

Am I the only one with ridiculous subscriptions? 

englishteacheralex

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 12:03:47 AM »
I hate subscriptions and avoid them like the plague. Here's what we have:

1. Amazon Prime (I hate it. DH likes the streaming entertainment options. I'm trying to get him to cancel it.)
2. Netflix (Not a big fan of this, either. I used to like it when it was DVDs; the options were way better. But Netflix is helpful if you have kids, which we do. And we do watch plenty of shows on it.)
3. NYT ($7/month online subscription--I get an educator discount. I read hundreds of articles/month so I really get the use out of this.)
4. Ranger Rick (a Christmas present for my son. He loves getting the actual magazine in the mail. I think it was $12 for the year?)

Other than that we have no subscriptions IIRC. Anything monthly gives me hives.


Raymond Reddington

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 12:51:48 AM »
Ouch.

We dropped all magazine and newspaper subscriptions a while ago. There is plenty of interesting, free content out there, and the costs of subscriptions are almost never justified. For every interesting event we hear of through a magazine, it could be just as easily discovered through Facebook or other means, and there is tons of free content out there if you want to pick up knowledge or skills, so learning from a paper or magazine is almost never worth the cost because the majority of what comes in doesn't get read anyway.

I've always been good with spreadsheets, so we've never been tempted to pay for any sort of budgeting apps, but that's an individual decision.

Food subscriptions are a tough call. I'd say you have to weight the cost of your annual savings on food through the subscription vs. the alternative. Food is definitely an area we are looking to cut expenses too. We occasionally get Blue Apron. My wife is an excellent chef, but cooking for two is hard due to portion size and Blue Apron is good with that, plus it gives her recipes that she can tweak or try to recreate on the cheap later. It's nice every once in a while, but we try not to do it too often. It's an ongoing process, and we're still trying to find the optimal mix while generally eating healthy.

The sleeping app, unless one of you has an extreme difficulty sleeping, I'd look to drop. And even if you do, a white noise machine can be purchased for less than the yearly cost of that app.

soccerluvof4

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 05:07:35 AM »
We went through this awhile ago and now have that we pay for just Netflix, Spotify for the 2 kids in college and MLS package which was Birthday gift for my son which is $4.99 a month. That obviously doesnt include interenet and stuff but otherwise that its. No magazines or things of that nature and that all comes to about 30$ a month. We bought Roku's for the tv's a while back and that has alot of content as well and has paid for its self over and over again and removed any buffering problems. They were only like 50$ a piece and they as I said have a ton of free content.

Malkynn

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2018, 05:42:05 AM »
Why not get rid of all of the subscriptions and then just bring back the ones whose absence really affects your quality of life?

Dee18

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2018, 05:53:08 AM »
Keep in mind you can do free trials with most subscription services.  And you can repeat those each year.  Or you can sign up for a month, and then drop the subscription.  Amazon prime might be handy at the holiday season if you would otherwise mail some gifts, so get the trial then.  Also, check with your library.  Mine has services called Overdrive and Hoopla that provide all kinds of media content....way more than I have time for.

FireHiker

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2018, 09:52:40 AM »
Good working cutting a lot of it so far! The only subscription I have is Amazon Prime. Netflix is included with my cellphone bill (T-Mobile, which is cheaper than our old AT&T plan even with the Netflix, and we love the unlimited data and international plan. No, it's not the most Mustachian out there, but it works for us for right now). My teenager had Spotify but he cancelled it recently. We are doing a 30 day free trial of the Amazon Family Unlimited Music plan and will decide if we're keeping it in a few weeks. I've been using the Amazon Music that comes with Prime to listen at work all day for years; now that my husband and son want to use it too we decided to do the trial and see if we really get enough value out of it to justify the expense.

It's really easy to get sucked into subscriptions; good job realizing it had happened and deciding to do something about it.

ditkanate

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2018, 09:53:06 AM »
Netflix
Hulu
Apple Music (wife)
Online access to Local Newspaper $6.93/month

Getting rid of Prime has saved me so much money.  Not so much from the subscription price but from the ease of spending money on Amazon. 

Rubic

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2018, 11:36:51 AM »
Monthly subscriptions:
  • Internet: $20 (Xfinity)
  • Mobile phone: $14 (Republic Wireless, includes refund on unused data)
I'm fortunate enough to be added to my Dad's plan on Amazon Prime, as I would
not pay for it otherwise.  Youtube and books handle most of my sedentary entertainment
needs wants.


dave__

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2018, 12:00:59 PM »
husband says he can't give up Photoshop.

If he's using a Mac, this is a worthy substitute: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/affinity-photo/id824183456 $35.

FireHiker

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2018, 02:43:32 PM »
Getting rid of Prime has saved me so much money.  Not so much from the subscription price but from the ease of spending money on Amazon.

I think this is interesting because I find it's been the opposite for me. I always used to add more things to my order for "free shipping"...since getting Prime I don't do that anymore and find I indulge in a lot fewer impulse purchases/add ons.

DragonSlayer

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2018, 02:44:35 PM »
husband says he can't give up Photoshop.

If he's using a Mac, this is a worthy substitute: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/affinity-photo/id824183456 $35.

Or there's Gimp, which is open source and free. It's a bit of a learning curve, but it can do most of what PS does.

Raenia

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2018, 03:23:03 PM »
Congrats on starting to cancel things, it's wonderful how little we missed some of ours when we started cutting.

Our household subscriptions are:
 - Amazon Prime
 - Economist Magazine (weekly)
 - Harper's Magazine (monthly)

Prime we keep because we have the student price, and use it for watching TV more than buying things (though the free shipping is nice when we do buy something, a few times a year).  Having Prime let us cancel Netflix last year, so I count it a win.  The two magazines are gifts to DH from various family members, so I don't know what they cost.  Probably wouldn't keep them if we were paying for them, but DH likes them - lets him keep abreast of the world getting sucked in to news sites online.  I think it's a good balance.

Emily2651

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2018, 06:13:52 PM »
I hate subscriptions and avoid them like the plague. Here's what we have:

1. Amazon Prime (I hate it. DH likes the streaming entertainment options. I'm trying to get him to cancel it.)
2. Netflix (Not a big fan of this, either. I used to like it when it was DVDs; the options were way better. But Netflix is helpful if you have kids, which we do. And we do watch plenty of shows on it.)
3. NYT ($7/month online subscription--I get an educator discount. I read hundreds of articles/month so I really get the use out of this.)
4. Ranger Rick (a Christmas present for my son. He loves getting the actual magazine in the mail. I think it was $12 for the year?)

Other than that we have no subscriptions IIRC. Anything monthly gives me hives.

I forgot about Netflix! ::facepalm:: Just canceled our streaming subscription and downgraded the DVD plan to a $4.99/month option.

Sailor Sam

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2018, 06:35:50 PM »
Hmm, I'm probably somewhere in subscription purgatory. I've got Audible at $16/month, and Hulu at $9/month. I also mooch off my wife's Amazon Prime subscription. But the phone. The phone! That's my true excess, at $70/month.

lhamo

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2018, 10:48:15 PM »
We've got:

1)  Prime-- student edition via DS.  We don't buy THAT much stuff, so probably would do fine without it.  The video service has been good.

2)  Phone service -- DH and DD on the Tmobile senior plan ($60/month total) and DS and I both on Google Fi (Averages $55-60/month total)

3)  Spotify family plan

4)  Simplisafe home monitoring -- DH pushed me to get this, it doesn't work properly but he hasn't fixed it and I don't know how.  I will probably cancel it once we get back from summer travels.

I sometimes get magazine subscriptions using FF miles (one way to keep the accounts from expiring) -- currently have Money magazine via this channel.

We'll probably get Netflix soon, or add cable to our internet package.

Paul der Krake

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2018, 11:00:24 PM »
I enjoy reading the physical Sunday paper too, but man $41/month is really expensive. Consider switching to digital only.

Emily2651

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2018, 11:14:42 PM »
Making progress! Today I canceled Netflix and Calm. Tomorrow Iíll do Thrive (have to call them!!) and NYT.  The magazines wonít auto renew.

gpyros85

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2018, 11:52:19 PM »
A little trick with news articles. Initially I thought they were tracking your IP address, however reset your history and it refreshes, I do this with Bloomberg... 10 articles then refresh, avoids the monthly cost...
 

Zikoris

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2018, 12:46:19 AM »
We have Amazon Prime, which pays for itself in video game pre-order discounts alone. We also have Kindle Unlimited, but that's primarily for my boyfriend's business (he's an editor). That's it - no television-like stuff, music, etc. We've never even really thought about getting anything else.

ditkanate

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2018, 07:17:48 AM »
A little trick with news articles. Initially I thought they were tracking your IP address, however reset your history and it refreshes, I do this with Bloomberg... 10 articles then refresh, avoids the monthly cost...

I'm going to have to try this.  Thanks! 

Happily Irrelevant

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2018, 10:05:08 AM »
My wife was put into subscription hell without even realizing it.  She would buy something that came with some magazine for free....and of course auto renewal.  We were getting renewal charges on things she didn't even know we received.  A few years ago she went a little crazy and had our credit card registered on many sites for "ease of use".   The entire internet was able to charge our card for some kind of tie in with something she bought.  I'm still surprised that our identity was never stolen as our card seemed to be everywhere.

StarBright

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2018, 10:24:44 AM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.


marcela

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2018, 10:42:53 AM »
We have netflix ($240/year), prime ($120/year) and crunchyroll ($60/year).
We also have xbox live, but that's an annual birthday gift to my husband from my parents so no cost to us ( bought on ebay with giftcards and promo codes).
I use prime so much between their streaming video and music services, not to mention the savings I get from buying online. Every time I order something off prime instead of going into walmart/target, I save a minimum of $20 from impulse purchases. We could go for a cheaper netflix plan, but my parents use our login and they like getting the dvds. It's a small thing, but things are really tight for them financially so we're happy to do it.

Paul der Krake

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2018, 10:48:27 AM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.
If you find it that hard to live without 2 day shipping and shopping before 10pm, you may want to rethink a bunch of decisions.

Zikoris

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2018, 10:54:08 AM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

We have Prime for the video game discounts, but other than video games and the occasional weird thing that nobody sells locally, we don't really buy stuff from Amazon. Not that we have anything against them, but we just don't really buy physical stuff in general. Groceries come from the grocery store. Personal care stuff comes from the drug store. Kitchen stuff comes from the awesome nearby restaurant supply store where everything is basically indestructible. Neither of us is comfortable buying shoes or clothes without trying it on, so that's out. It's actually surprising sometimes just how little we actually buy.

FireHiker

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2018, 11:11:33 AM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

I understand your Amazon reputation dilemma because it bothers me too; I don't shop at Walmart (unless I am truly desperate on a road trip) for the same reason.

We stick with Amazon Prime because it saves us a lot of time and money for exactly the random stuff you mentioned. There are SO many things I can get cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else, and with Prime I buy only what I need when I need it, since there's no longer the temptation to add stuff for "free shipping." I wouldn't say it is truly a NEED, but it's definitely an optimizer and actual money saver for my family. Plus, I truly hate shopping in person, so it is a big stress reducer for me as well.

Raymond Reddington

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2018, 11:26:57 AM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

I understand your Amazon reputation dilemma because it bothers me too; I don't shop at Walmart (unless I am truly desperate on a road trip) for the same reason.

We stick with Amazon Prime because it saves us a lot of time and money for exactly the random stuff you mentioned. There are SO many things I can get cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else, and with Prime I buy only what I need when I need it, since there's no longer the temptation to add stuff for "free shipping." I wouldn't say it is truly a NEED, but it's definitely an optimizer and actual money saver for my family. Plus, I truly hate shopping in person, so it is a big stress reducer for me as well.

This. Plus the fact that you don't have the costs of, not just time, but the money involved in getting in the car and going to a retail location, which often doesn't have the right product. So you wind up driving around a bunch, possibly even paying for parking or tolls, possibly getting hungry or thirsty and having to buy food or drinks while out if it takes long to find the right thing. And Amazon prime eliminates all those costs, has the best selection anywhere where you can see if something is discontinued or out of stock, and guarantees free 2 day delivery. There is nothing more frustrating than going to a store that doesn't have what you want, so you are sitting in the store and the salesperson tells you to go to their app or website to browse the "full selection" online, and they have a convenient feature that allows you to ship the item to the store for future pickup. Amazon avoids all that.

Kapiira

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2018, 12:03:11 PM »
I haven't used ynab before.  Is it worth $50 a year?  I use Mint (free) to get all my transactions in one place and categorize expenditures.  Then I export to excel and copy totals into my categories. It's a little bit of effort, but not too bad.  I total it up quarterly and it takes about an hour.

cats

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2018, 12:55:02 PM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

If it's something where running out and not being able to get more immediately is a disaster, we plan for it.  e.g. my son is still wearing diapers, I keep an eye on how many we have and when we're within ~2 weeks of running out, I order a batch from Target.  Things like pet food should also fall in this category--presumably your pet eats about the same amount and type of food daily?  Other stuff, I try to anticipate the need, but if I don't...we just go without it until we have a chance to pick up the item we need locally, or until there are enough other items on our "need to purchase online" list to bundle together for free shipping from Amazon or elsewhere.  Most people aren't going to die from missing a week or two of vitamins.  My kid is still in daycare, but if he were school age and I got a demand from the school to supply XYZ item within less than a week, I'd probably tell them sorry...you'll just have to wait until next week because we won't be able to pick it up until the weekend.  I had so many teachers in school display that slogan "poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."  It would be a pleasure to throw it back in their faces.

We have never had Prime so have never had to acclimate to NOT having fast shipping available.  It's possible we spend a bit more on some items but I think between not paying the annual fee and also probably buying slightly less stuff, our overall spending is slightly lower without it than with.  And while we aren't an Amazon free household, not having Prime I think also makes us more likely to price compare and make sure the Amazon option really is the best option when we are looking to buy something. 

I don't think Amazon would offer Prime if it didn't result in overall increases in sales--something to keep in mind when considering whether or not your subscription is really saving you anything.

StarBright

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2018, 01:35:17 PM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.
If you find it that hard to live without 2 day shipping and shopping before 10pm, you may want to rethink a bunch of decisions.

Why do you think I frequent an early retirement forum ?:)

Malkynn

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2018, 05:30:15 PM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

How did you manage before Amazon Prime?
It's not like it's been around forever.

We order almost nothing online other than very rare specific things, like discontinued items that are still available online.
We also prioritize shopping at local smaller stores. We avoid large chains for the most part, except for Costco.

Emily2651

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2018, 06:53:22 PM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

1. I'm trying to buy less, and
2. I'm trying to buy more from local places, and
3. You can still shop at Amazon without Prime!

Emily2651

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2018, 06:58:45 PM »
I don't think Amazon would offer Prime if it didn't result in overall increases in sales--something to keep in mind when considering whether or not your subscription is really saving you anything.

I think this too. Prime makes it so very easy to buy things. I'd like to add a little more emotional distance to our purchases.

NowClear

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2018, 07:31:33 PM »
Quote
We dropped all magazine and newspaper subscriptions a while ago. There is plenty of interesting, free content out there, and the costs of subscriptions are almost never justified. For every interesting event we hear of through a magazine, it could be just as easily discovered through Facebook or other means, and there is tons of free content out there if you want to pick up knowledge or skills, so learning from a paper or magazine is almost never worth the cost because the majority of what comes in doesn't get read anyway.

I don't read any news -- makes me too depressed -- but I recently started paying for an online subscription to the NY Times.

Why?  If we want to have a functioning democracy, then someone has to pay for investigative journalism.  Last time I checked, FB isn't doing that yet -- although they're happy to make money off someone else's work.  We're in quite a quandary: nobody wants to pay for actual journalism, everybody wants news and analysis for free... but then folks complain when news outlets start putting out click-baity articles to make money.   

Maybe I'm a sucker.  I don't have to pay for the news.  I could let someone else do it.  I suppose I also don't have to recycle either... I am just one person; should I let someone else do that, too?

 

Bolded relevant parts. Yep. Count me in as another person who used to hack around to read news and who has decided to pay for my share. I have no problems with those who truly can't afford to pay subscription fees doing whatever necessary to access high quality news. But I do think I can afford to pay for news--even if it might look like an easy expense to cut in my overall budget, even though I know how to get around the subscription counters--and therefore make sure I have the funds to do so.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2018, 04:27:51 AM »
I've had a Spotify subscription for years ($11.99 a month), signed up to Amazon Prime when it recently launched here (free trial for now), and yesterday signed up to Stan ($10 a month). I've been purchasing extra Google Drive storage as well, but I've got two years with a bonus 100GB storage, so I won't be paying the $2.49 for a while.

I'll eventually make a choice whether to keep Amazon Prime or Stan. I should enforce a 'one video streaming service only' rule. With Prime, I've found that prices and the range tend to be better on eBay than on Amazon.

StarBright

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2018, 06:19:19 AM »
I don't mean to derail and am happy to move this or remove it - but how do people buy the random items of life without amazon prime? I would say that we aren't even big consumer spenders - but when the kids needs stuff for school, or specialized vitamins for us or pet food, or whatever?

We often find that we don't actually have time to run to the store so Prime it is. We've actually considered cancelling just due to amazon's reputation as an awful employer, but our alternative was using Walmart because it is the only store open after 10 pm. And Walmart is pretty bad with employment practices too - so - we've decided to stick with the devil we know.

I'm sort of shocked at all the people who don't need prime - I feel that it is a key player in my family's ability to get stuff done.

How did you manage before Amazon Prime?
It's not like it's been around forever.

We order almost nothing online other than very rare specific things, like discontinued items that are still available online.
We also prioritize shopping at local smaller stores. We avoid large chains for the most part, except for Costco.

Good question! We've had prime for a long time (more than 10 years? so most of our post college lives) and I have to really think about it. Before we had prime we didn't have kids and my husband was still a student so we had time to go out and get things when we needed them. Because my husband was a grad student we got the student price until about three years ago.

I just looked over my last twenty orders or so and they included:
-sensitive skin sunscreen for my daughter that I can't find in any nearby stores, but 5 dollars cheaper than it is at sephora online
-dog chews (half the price of what they'd be at petsmart)
-a specialized vitamin for me that can only be ordered online or through my doc
- a replacement divider for my son's lunchbox
-bulk cat food
-bulk dog food
- a long sleeved swimsuit (this one killed me because I actually hired a babysitter to give myself a few hours to go out and find a swimsuit and I ended up ordering it from amazon).
-t shirts for my son's tie-dye day at summer camp (because the grocery was out of shirts in his size that week)

Prime is also our main source of entertainment between the tv streaming and free kindle borrows.

Both DH and I have jobs that really require a lot of hours which makes evening and weekend time precious family time. I give myself an hour and a half to get my shopping done on weekends and otherwise we are spending time together.  Likewise, weekday evenings are sacred times for the family sitting down to dinner together, cleaning up together and then getting the kids ready for bed. Dog gets a long walk after kids are in bed and then that's that.

I love that people don't seem to need their amazon - I'm just kind of shocked. I really assumed that more people were like us than not.


FireHiker

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2018, 09:42:48 AM »
@alsoknownasDean  While you have your prime free trial, check out the prime music. If it's only one person using it at a time, it's included with prime. If you're happy with it you could cut Spotify.


cats

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2018, 09:52:33 AM »

Good question! We've had prime for a long time (more than 10 years? so most of our post college lives) and I have to really think about it. Before we had prime we didn't have kids and my husband was still a student so we had time to go out and get things when we needed them. Because my husband was a grad student we got the student price until about three years ago.

I just looked over my last twenty orders or so and they included:
-sensitive skin sunscreen for my daughter that I can't find in any nearby stores, but 5 dollars cheaper than it is at sephora online
-dog chews (half the price of what they'd be at petsmart)
-a specialized vitamin for me that can only be ordered online or through my doc
- a replacement divider for my son's lunchbox
-bulk cat food
-bulk dog food
- a long sleeved swimsuit (this one killed me because I actually hired a babysitter to give myself a few hours to go out and find a swimsuit and I ended up ordering it from amazon).
-t shirts for my son's tie-dye day at summer camp (because the grocery was out of shirts in his size that week)

So just to nitpick, here is how I would probably handle this kind of stuff without having Prime:

-cat food, dog food, dog chews, sunscreen, and vitamins: I'd add these to our "recurring online order" spreadsheet with the approximate reorder frequency and last date ordered, which would then tell me the date I need to reorder by.  If individual items are less than what's needed to get to the minimum, I'd probably consider ordering more and reducing the order frequency (i.e. if your vitamins are normally $20 and you order a 3 month supply, get 2 and order on a 6 month frequency), or ordering something a bit early to bundle it in with another item (e.g. if sunscreen is due to be ordered in April but dog food is being ordered in March, just get the sunscreen in March and have it ready).  Normally I am against "stocking up" but for these kinds of items I don't think it is going to change your rate of use (you aren't going to start taking 2 vitamins a day instead of 1, right?).  Just keep an eye on supplies to make sure you aren't stocking up on something that you already have a backup on.
-Lunchbox divider: is this really a necessary item?  I would probably try to do without or DIY a solution with something already on hand
-Swimsuit: I've also been wanting to get a LS swimsuit and have been DIYing it with old swimsuit bottoms and a LS athletic top.  If you swim laps or do something else that really requires a one-piece, okay I give you a pass on this item...but it was probably more than $35 and so qualified for free standard shipping, and doesn't sound like something you HAVE to have in the next two days?  So you don't need Prime to get it.
-summer camp t-shirts: Pull some of his relatively solid color current t-shirts that he isn't too attached to or that are soon to be outgrown/tossed, and send them off to be tie-dyed.

So with that, you save the fee for Prime, skip buying 2-3 items, and don't have to make any extra shopping trips.

 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 09:54:32 AM by cats »

seemsright

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2018, 10:00:52 AM »
We use Amazon Prime a lot. I read the included books, DH listens to the included music at his desk to get though the day, we watch the video. Last year we reviewed what we bought and the cost and figured out we were right at the amount that if we got the amazon credit card that the rebate/points thing would pay for the prime membership. I hate going to the store and trying to find what I want. The stores around here never seem to have what I want. So we order quite a bit from Amazon. It makes our life simpler.

The other subscriptions we have are Netflix and XM radio. Netflix gets used randomly but the XM is on all day every day.

merula

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2018, 11:04:45 AM »
It's been mentioned, but I wanted to plug Amazon Prime Student. You don't have to show proof of credits, just have a .edu email address (which doesn't even have to be your main address on your account).

This includes a 6 month free trial, then $59 per month, and streaming video/music is available after the free trial.

galliver

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2018, 11:45:52 AM »
  • Dropbox: $100/yr: super worth it for grad school. Basically automatically backs up my work AND transfers it to other computers. Fortunately, no security concerns with my project...

Fitness-related:
  • Spotify: $15/mo for "family plan" shared with bf. It's $5 more than sharing one account, but we already had our own accounts and this lets us keep using them for less than actually paying for our own separate ones...
  • AllTrails: $40/year; you can use it free but this lets you download or print maps. I find it a great tool/service for finding hikes; and the DL feature is key if you hike places without cell service...
  • Food tracking app: $40/year. I have tried a bunch of free ones and didn't like them. This has the best recipe tool and nutrient-tracking features I've seen. Informed me I was consistently low on calcium and iron...

Media: We have too many and probably use them too much :( But even if I gave up watching as a leisure activity, I find it a great companion for certain kinds of stationary chores (washing dishes, laundry, mending, other cleaning/sorting in one room...)
  • Netflix: would probably be the hardest for me to get rid of; I find their overall selection the best.
  • Amazon: I could take or leave the video, although sometimes they have good movies and we enjoyed Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and I'm looking forward to more. At the moment, bf pays for it and I think he uses the shipping benefit more. Tip: You can get credits for various Amazon services (digital content, pantry, etc) if you choose slower shipping at checkout; it's also environmentally friendly.
  • Hulu: If I was strategic, I could watch the ~3 shows I want to watch on Hulu in like 2 months of paying for it...We probably don't use it enough to justify having it all the time, but this is another bf pays for and he doesn't want to deal with the hassle of turning it on and off.
  • We get HBO and CBS when Game of Thrones or Star Trek comes out. Definitely could alternate those with Hulu. Convinced bf to not keep up HBO indefinitely! CBS is the other one I have paid for. And canceled on time.
  • An app about $3/mo that has a huge library in my native language. It can be hard to find foreign-language books in the library, and out-of-copyright classics don't draw me in, heh.

Magazines/News: We don't buy any with actual money, but has anyone heard of MagsForMiles? You can use airline miles to subscribe to magazines. Quite cheaply...some are only 100-200 miles (pretty junky ones though). I mostly fly Southwest, so I never get enough mainstream airline miles (AA, United, etc) to use for flights before they expire...Of course, many magazines are just advertising booklets (TM) but I've received Time through this (it's on the "pricey" side of 1000-1200 mi), and their articles are paywalled... ETA: You don't need to enter a credit card/payment info and they don't get auto-renewed. They do spam you with requests/"deals".
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 01:21:22 PM by galliver »

Rubic

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2018, 12:07:47 PM »
Monthly subscriptions:
  • Internet: $20 (Xfinity)
  • Mobile phone: $14 (Republic Wireless, includes refund on unused data)
I'm fortunate enough to be added to my Dad's plan on Amazon Prime, as I would
not pay for it otherwise.  Youtube and books handle most of my sedentary entertainment
needs wants.

Oops, I forgot Digital Ocean.

I've got a server instance running for my data backups, $5/month.  I use
it to sync up my laptops.  At one point I was using a micro instance on
AWS for approximately $1/month.





Raenia

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2018, 12:09:56 PM »
It's been mentioned, but I wanted to plug Amazon Prime Student. You don't have to show proof of credits, just have a .edu email address (which doesn't even have to be your main address on your account).

This includes a 6 month free trial, then $59 per month, and streaming video/music is available after the free trial.

Just to clarify, that's $59/yr, not per month.

marcela

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2018, 12:11:29 PM »
It's been mentioned, but I wanted to plug Amazon Prime Student. You don't have to show proof of credits, just have a .edu email address (which doesn't even have to be your main address on your account).

This includes a 6 month free trial, then $59 per month, and streaming video/music is available after the free trial.

Just to clarify, that's $59/yr, not per month.

They got on to me and started asking for proof that I was currently enrolled, ie a screenshot of my transcript or something.

Roadrunner53

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2018, 12:13:09 PM »
I refuse to buy Prime. I use lots of different websites and use Walmart a lot and get free shipping if I buy $35 or more. HOWEVER, I am getting really disgusted with the way Walmart ships stuff. Just got a delivery two days ago and they packed about 70 lbs in one box. Very little packing materials. One thing was a carpet deodorizer that was smushed by a heavy item and the powder escaped out of the box and was all over everything. There were crushed smaller boxes and things were just beat up. Not specifically due to shipping but the package was too heavy, not packed right and lack of packing materials. I am really furious with this and this is not the first time. I ordered a lap top from them a couple of years ago and absolutely no packaging materials and the computer in its cardboard box was flopping around and a miracle it didn't get busted. They are going to hear from me soon. I am writing a letter and sending it to corporate headquarters.

acroy

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2018, 12:57:08 PM »
sneaky subscriptions....

StarBright

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2018, 01:20:05 PM »
. . .
I just looked over my last twenty orders or so and they included:
-sensitive skin sunscreen for my daughter that I can't find in any nearby stores, but 5 dollars cheaper than it is at sephora online
-dog chews (half the price of what they'd be at petsmart)
-a specialized vitamin for me that can only be ordered online or through my doc
- a replacement divider for my son's lunchbox
-bulk cat food
-bulk dog food
- a long sleeved swimsuit (this one killed me because I actually hired a babysitter to give myself a few hours to go out and find a swimsuit and I ended up ordering it from amazon).
-t shirts for my son's tie-dye day at summer camp (because the grocery was out of shirts in his size that week)

So just to nitpick, here is how I would probably handle this kind of stuff without having Prime:

-cat food, dog food, dog chews, sunscreen, and vitamins: I'd add these to our "recurring online order" spreadsheet with the approximate reorder frequency and last date ordered, which would then tell me the date I need to reorder by.  If individual items are less than what's needed to get to the minimum, I'd probably consider ordering more and reducing the order frequency (i.e. if your vitamins are normally $20 and you order a 3 month supply, get 2 and order on a 6 month frequency), or ordering something a bit early to bundle it in with another item (e.g. if sunscreen is due to be ordered in April but dog food is being ordered in March, just get the sunscreen in March and have it ready).  Normally I am against "stocking up" but for these kinds of items I don't think it is going to change your rate of use (you aren't going to start taking 2 vitamins a day instead of 1, right?).  Just keep an eye on supplies to make sure you aren't stocking up on something that you already have a backup on.
-Lunchbox divider: is this really a necessary item?  I would probably try to do without or DIY a solution with something already on hand
-Swimsuit: I've also been wanting to get a LS swimsuit and have been DIYing it with old swimsuit bottoms and a LS athletic top.  If you swim laps or do something else that really requires a one-piece, okay I give you a pass on this item...but it was probably more than $35 and so qualified for free standard shipping, and doesn't sound like something you HAVE to have in the next two days?  So you don't need Prime to get it.
-summer camp t-shirts: Pull some of his relatively solid color current t-shirts that he isn't too attached to or that are soon to be outgrown/tossed, and send them off to be tie-dyed.

So with that, you save the fee for Prime, skip buying 2-3 items, and don't have to make any extra shopping trips.

Those are all excellent points and I agree that if someone felt strongly about skipping Prime that that would be a good way to do it! I have to admit that I really do enjoy the convenience of not having to track when I need to reorder something (particularly sunscreen and vitamins).

Just for completion: Regarding your specific nitpicks - other than the spreadsheet on regular items, the other suggestions (while excellent) wouldn't have worked for us. DS has OCD so the correct food divider is a matter of making it through the day for him and most of his shirts are hand-me downs from cousins and there absolutely wasn't anything that would have worked for the project. Also, since he is a child that stands out for many reasons that people perceive as negative, I'm often willing to spend a bit of money if it makes him feel like a normal kid. We could have tie-dyed a striped hand me down but it would have made him feel like he didn't belong. The swimsuit was the cheapest one I could get on amazon ($48 bucks) and I didn't have anything to re-purpose. I would have to have bought a suit anyways- so may as well buy what I was looking for)

I will say the other thing that I think makes it worth it to us is that we don't live anywhere near any of our family so free shipping presents to various locations all across the country at holidays and birthdays basically makes this a win for us. I will never forget the first time I shipped a box of presents pre-prime (shipping was more than what I spent on the gifts themselves).

To add to the rest of this conversation our subscriptions are as follows:
Prime
NYT Digital

Past subscriptions that are now cancelled:
-On years when my parents gave me a giftcard for my birthday I used to use it on a monthly sephora play subscription. I cancelled when it stopped giving me joy.
-Washington Post - cancelled once they got rid of teacher discounted subscriptions
-Netflix - I had netflix from 2002 until last year. we decided we didn't need Prime and Netflix. We get most movies from our library anyway so were only streaming shows.
- Meal Prep sub (like Dream Dinners) - When we've gone through particularly hard and busy parts of life using a sub saved my sanity and had us eating healthier than the canned crap that I tend to throw on the table when I'm stressed. Haven't used one in over a year but am always willing to go back if it helps.

Writing my list makes me realize that I really value convenience a lot more than I used to (I suspect I can attribute that to small children :))

Radagast

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2018, 01:55:37 PM »
Looks like right now I have Pandora for $30/year and TunnelBear for I think $50 per year. I got tunnelbear to use google in China, but it wasn't very effective. I need to cancel now. We did have Netflix, but the card used to pay it was involved in fraudulent transactions and we didn't update the number with Netflix after getting a new one.

Starbright:
wow, I just signed up for Prime to get a lower cost cell phone, and then changed my mind about the phone. There was not a single thing I wanted in all of Prime Day to my disappointment, or even otherwise that would benefit from Prime, so I wasted my only Prime trial for a long time on nothing.

Your life sounds pretty complicated. You might want to examine your priorities for your time as well as your money. How can you even spend more than 1.5 hours a week shopping? How much of the stuff do you really need? Can you live closer to where you work and shop? Are both cats and dogs necessary, or can you not replace them as they age and focus on only either cats or dogs going forward to keep things simpler? Now, not saying Prime will work out to be a bad deal for you personally. But you do seem to spend a lot of time on consumerist items that may not actually improve your life.

Roadrunner53

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Re: I'm in subscription hell
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2018, 02:03:26 PM »
Don't forget that companies are trying to get you hooked on machines like Keurig so you have to keep buying the specific pods they bless. Or the Soda Stream where you have to buy the CO2 cartridges and flavors. Ink cartridges for printers. Xyron sticker maker machine refills. Air freshener refills. Mop and duster refills. Dymo label maker labels.

Sometimes it is annoying to get locked into these 'systems' because they raise the price on the refills and know you have to buy their specific product to fit their machine. Ink for printers is outrageous!