The Curse of Monthly Subscriptions

They're so cheap, WAIT, why am I spending a ton of money of subscriptions.

2018-05-25 Wow, fastest disagreement ever on a blog post. Some of the pricing below (like Spotify for example) are student pricing as apart from my day job of not being Batman I'm also a student. Also this year's Prime will drop in price because of that too.

It's no secret that a lot of tech industries have moved to a subscription models where you pay a monthly fee to access their product and services. So much of not a secret that it's dull, so I'm not going to talk about that too much.

What I'm going to talk about however is how cheap things can all of a sudden make you realise you're paying a ton of money for things that previously you didn't pay a ton of money for. All the small things add up don't they?

I've been trying to rationalise my subscription services as I've got a lot of cross-over in some areas, and it's made me realise how much I'm actually paying for stuff. Things like:


For the sake of transparency of highlighted my work stuff in green - slightly differing cost there as no VAT, and they're tax deductible expenses (I think).

Anyway, they do add up don't they?! I'm going through the process of rationalising stuff as there are some obvious cross overs there. Audible for example I've now got enough credits to listen to audio-books until my ears bleed, and yet I keep amassing more.

Cancelling Audible is always interesting - here, have it for half price! What I actually read is that they've been over-charging me since day 1.

The cloud backup service, dropbox and Offic365 all have cloud storage in them, and more than enough, so why do I have all 3? I suspect when you see the low monthly cost combined with the effort involved you think meh, what the hell. Then you're invested. They've got you.

Zwift I don't use in the summer either, I go outside like a normal person. So why am I paying for that?

The push to subscription services can really alienate me as a consumer. Take two companies I used to have a lot of time for - now, I wouldn't touch their products if you gave them away with a free alpaca:

  • 1Password
  • TomTom

What did they do that was so terrible? Well, they tried to force me to dump my initial capital investment and switch to their subscription model. 1Password for example I had invested fairly significantly in - multiple clients, MacOS, Windows, phones etc. and I liked their product. Then a push to the subs and a lack of updates to the normal capital purchase clients. It felt like a complete stitch up. Like I say, now, whenever anyone asks about password managers instead of recommending a company the first thing I say is 'don't use 1Password'.

Same for TomTom. I paid a fair amount of money for their product on my phone. Next thing I know is oh, we won't be updating that any more, you have to buy a subscription to get access to 'miles'. Yeah, how about no? I've already bought a product I expected to work.

Just to be clear, I understand that products have a life-cycle. I expect to pay to upgrade when necessary. I also expect however to have the opportunity to make a choice on whether to upgrade based on a balance of costs against new functionality. What I don't expect is the products I've purchased to not have the functionality I originally procured unless I then upgrade to their subscription. Yes TomTom, I'm looking at you.

Some services of course I think are an absolute bargain. The core Office365 offering (I use multiple E3 for my work) and I think for what you get it's an utter bargain. The phone system….not so much. It's expensive for what it is.

Aaaanway, monthly subs. Look cheap, and they're not.

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