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Unsubscribe and Unplug

Microtransactions and subscription fees have a way of adding up. I talk to a variety of people in my line of work and recently noticed a common theme. People have lost track of the little things and complain or express some fear of not having enough money. I did some digging to see what I could find out and it was not pleasant.

Getting Out Of Hand

subscription fees

CNBC published a story looking into the topic on how many subscription services the average American has. What they found was a pretty intense number. If you are streaming tv, the average number is 4 streaming services. I took this info and began looking at my own life. This is what I found –

  1. Direct TV streaming Ultimate Package $110 per month
  2. Mobile phone for two phone lines, unlimited data plan $105 per month with physician discount
  3. Hulu no ads, Disney+, ESPN+ bundle for $20 per month
  4. Surfline surf forecasting $100 per year or $13 per month
  5. Home internet $88 per month (full gigabit speed)
  6. Internet for the Sprinter Van $20 per month ($240/yr)
  7. Netflix Premium UltraHD $20
  8. Amazon Prime $12 per month
  9. Playstation Premium $18 per month
  10. Nintendo Switch Family pack $80/year or $7 per month
  11. Ring Security Camera $10 per month
  12. HBOMax $16 per month

Total Subscription services: $439 per month

Asking Questions

The big question is how many of these are absolutely needed? The answer is probably just numbers 2, 5, and 11. I could cut back on tv. To be honest, we really don’t watch all that much of it. We do play video games with the kids a fair amount so it may be worth keeping those.

The other streaming things I hear about from people I run into regularly is subscriptions to amazon music, apple music, pandora, spotify, stitch fix, hello fresh, Kiwico (kid boxes), blue apron, and gym memberships. Don’t even get me started on things like Office 365, Quicken, Quickbooks, or the infamous BarkBox for the dogs. Lets add these things up for a full picture –

  1. Amazon Music $9
  2. Apple music $11
  3. Apple TV $7
  4. Pandora Music $10
  5. Spotify $10
  6. Stitch Fix $20 styling fee plus whatever you buy
  7. Hello Fresh (family of 4) $100 for 4 meals per week ($400 monthly)
  8. Blue Apron (family of 4) $100 for 4 meals per week ($400 monthly)
  9. Kiwico Kid Boxes $24
  10. LA Fitness $60 for 2 adults
  11. BarkBox $35
  12. Quicken $10
  13. Office 365 $10

Total Subscription Fee: $1006

The List Goes On

Sure not all of these are needed but many people have them. The blue apron or hello fresh would probably only be one or the other but if you expanded to more than 4 meals per week its still going to be $800 so I left it in the list.

Now we can get into the fringe of what people get sucked into without realizing where they are spending money. Things like Costco memberships, wine clubs, or social clubs like a golf course or yacht club etc. My wife also brought up yoga and pilates if they don’t offer them at your gym. I also noted the infamous Peloton.

  1. Costco membership $10
  2. Sams Club $10
  3. Wine club for 4-6 bottles monthly $80
  4. Social Club $250 per person, $500 for 2 adults
  5. Yoga $120
  6. Peloton $13

Total Subscription Fee: $733

Life in Excess

If you subscribe to everything on here, that total monthly expense is now ballooning to $2178. Let that sink in because there are numerous monthly fees we haven’t even brought in to the equation. Fees like monthly banking fees, credit card fees, interest on credit purchases or other loans, normal utilities, insurance, school fees or the price gouging from the kids sports and other activities.

Now we can finally consider monthly fees that we are all subjected to with in-app purchases. Its no wonder that so many people feel like they have no money to do anything fun anymore. This only makes me wonder why people continue to spend money on the notorious micro-transaction. I think it should be a priority for everyone to sit down once a month and evaluate if their subscriptions are actually worth it. Are they helping you move your life to a better place or just distracting you enough to enjoy where you are now… broke and dreading the next emergency expense.

Re-evaluating Priorities

Recently Jen and I sat down to consider saving money to spend on things like paying off vehicles, paying off student loans, and even purchasing land near a ski resort. In the long run we could keep up with the Kardashians or buy a rental property to use when we want to spend time skiing with the kids…

I suppose it is a balance of what you would like to do with your family and your time. I think the most important question we all forget to ask ourselves is “what are we working for?” Are we working for retirement? Are we working to pay bills? Are we working to buy more “stuff” to post unboxing videos on social media? Me personally, I am working so I can have fun with my family.

I cancelled Direct TV, Hulu, ESPN+, Disney+, Surfline, Nintendo, and the sprinter van internet. We didn’t watch enough tv and less screen time is probably better for all of us. Our van internet only acted as a more convenient way to watch movies on the road. In reality, its just as easy for me to download them from amazon or HBOmax before we leave and watch them that way. This saves us a total of $170 per month. I’ll probably also reduce my internet speed down to 500mb from the full gigabit. This will add roughly $35 to my monthly savings. We can all use an extra $200 per month.

If this inspires you to cancel or unsubscribe from a monthly service, please let us know in the comments. I would love to know what it was, why you dropped it, and what are you going to do with the savings.


One thought on “Unsubscribe and Unplug

  1. Wow, what an eye opener!!!! Glad we cancelled a few things a while back. Definitely spending more time with family is the most important. Thanks for the research and info.

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