Friday, May 19, 2023

How Many Subscriptions Are Too Many?

Recently, I saw a news article on the Internet with this title: “People Are Sick and Tired of All Their Subscriptions.”

I shouted out loud, “Yes! We certainly ARE sick and tired of all our subscriptions!” 

What a coincidence. Just the night before, I was talking with my wife about all the automatic charges my credit card gets whacked with every month. Each and every one of those products or services I’ve subscribed to over the years seemed fairly minor at the time, but all those $5 and $12 and $23 per month charges really add up.
So, I started reading the first couple of sentences of the online article, and then a little window popped up and said if I wanted to continue reading, I must become a Wall Street Journal subscriber. Ugh! Yet another subscription, and this time so I can finish reading an article about why people are sick and tired of subscriptions! 

Talk about irony. The whole situation cracked me up so much, I just had to…. 

Ha, I bet you thought I was about to say that I just had to subscribe. Well, I might have in the past, but instead I went into a co-worker’s office, someone who already subscribes to the WSJ online, and I read the article on his computer.

Anyway, the article explained that when people were stuck at home during the Covid pandemic, they subscribed to all kinds of things, such as streaming video channels, satellite radio, music downloads, Amazon Prime, online exercise programs, gaming websites, news services, Spam of the Month Club, etc. But now that inflation is eating into everybody’s monthly budget, folks are realizing that they can live without a lot of those extraneous expenses.
The article explained that a survey asked Americans to estimate how much they spend each month on subscriptions. The average guess was $86 per month. However, when all the charges were added up, the actual total was almost $220 per month. Wow, I know a dollar today is not worth what it used to be, but that’s a whole bunch of dollars being frittered away every 30 days.

If I had to guess how much I’m paying each month for all the various subscriptions and memberships I’ve signed up for, I’d say it’s around $100. But now I’m a little nervous to go through all my records and add it up. I’m afraid it might turn out that I’ve been wasting the equivalent of a car payment each month. (And that’s not counting the biggest subscription scam of all: cable TV. Hexfinity alone is a BMW payment.)

Now, I just have to decide which subscriptions to cancel. Well, I can’t get rid of my Major League Baseball app, of course, since it lets me watch every game on my phone or iPad. And it’s really not that expensive. How about AppleTV+? No, too many good shows. And it’s really not that expensive. Maybe I should dump my Disney+ Bundle streaming service. Oh, but I can’t. It’s got all the Star Wars shows — old and new — plus the whole Marvel Universe of movies and ESPN documentaries, not to mention everything Disney ever produced. And it’s really not that expensive.
Hmm, I’m sensing a pattern here. Each individual service I subscribe to is not very expensive — in and of itself. And each one does offer something enjoyable. After all, I wouldn’t have signed up in the first place if that weren’t so. But do I really need them? Can I live without them?

Well, before I make any rash decisions, I should check with an expert. Good thing I signed up for a personal financial advice subscription, only $49.95 per month. 

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