When it first started, being a “cord cutter” was a rare thing. You were out of place in our culture for not having a cable or satellite tv subscription. Or for the extreme cord cutters, you may have even canceled your landline telephone service.
But as the rise of digital services like Netflix took off, a larger and larger part of the population became cord cutters. Why pay $80/month for cable, when you can get a large number of shows through Netflix at $10/month?
And as more people in your household had their own cell phone, the landline phone service became much less relevant.
So suddenly, everybody is “cutting the cord!” News story after news story talked about how frugal and thrifty it is to join this revolution.
With so many options for streaming subscriptions, there was an option for everyone. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Hulu. HBO Go…etc. And that was just for TV shows! Other services for other industries were popping up as well!
Death By A Thousand Subscriptions
And suddenly we find ourselves bleeding our budget with subscriptions. With dozens of monthly bills being auto-withdrawn from our bank accounts.
We have TV streaming services, music services, cell phone plans (with installment pricing to boot), news subscriptions, app subscriptions, software subscriptions, and even “clothing box” subscriptions.
The added costs of all these subscriptions can easily add up to a couple thousand dollars each year.
Even I, Mr. Simple Living Daily himself, have $72/month in service subscriptions and $65/month in cell phone bills. Money that comes out of the budget each month, no matter how much I utilize the service. Adding up to $1,644 a year!
Most of these subscriptions are very easy to sign-up for. They are also very easy to get forget to cancel long after we stopped using them. In fact, having a large portion of inactive users is a strategic part of subscription-based business models.
So as we move into this new subscription era, it’s important that you remain diligent. On a regular basis, you should:
- Do A Subscription Audit – Write down all of the subscriptions that you are paying for. If you are already doing a budget, that is a great place to start. Otherwise, I’d recommend looking back a few months in your bank statements.
- Cancel Services You Don’t Use – Be ruthless in stopping services that are not benefiting you anymore. It’s important to think beyond just the “small” monthly
cost,and multiply the cost over a few years. You can always re-subscribe if you need to.
I would add the gym membership, meal kit, insurances, etc. Question all recurring expenses!
In Canada, cell phone plans are really expensives, if you add an installment to subsidize an overpriced phone, you can easily get above $100 a month. The easy way out is to (re)use an older phone and have a prepaid plan (as low as $23/month here).
Personally, I’m kind of new in the subscription economy. I refused systematically any services in the past. Now, I tend to allow myself Apple Music, Netflix and that’s about it.
Yes, that is a good point! Beyond just the subscriptions services we pay for, it’s good to always question all recurring payments.
Luckily, here in Indonesia (especially at my neighborhood) we haven’t exposed that much to Netflix and other subscription things. Or maybe it just me who simply not interested on that kinda thing.
The only subscription (and cost money) I made and I consider it add values to my family was TV Cable. Because, we have so much junks in today TV shows.
Another subscriptions I consider adds value is subscribing to a blog called Simple Living Daily.
And I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before those subscriptions services make their way to your local market.
I also live in Indonesia, and in my experience, it’s changing quite quickly…
Me personally, I have subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify, a digital version of a local magazine and newspaper, the new york times (for foreign news), and a cell phone bill of course (I use post-paid, which is actually quite unusual here)
Might not be quite as extreme as outside, but the availability of online subscriptions here in Indonesia is quickly growing