Kill Your Monthly Subscriptions

Your monthly subscriptions need to die.

Month after month, year after year, these things are silently (digitally) draining your bank account of hundreds, or more likely, thousands of dollars.

That $25 basic subscription to LYNDA.com you keep intending to make better use of is not just costing you $25…

It’s costing you $300 per year.

It’s costing you $3000 over ten years.

But ACTUALLY, this $25 subscription is costing you $3892 over ten years … if you assume that you instead put $25 per month into an investment with a 5% yearly return. Up that investment return to a very optimistic 10% and the opportunity cost of the subscription rises to $5155.

How many monthly subscriptions do you have?

Tally them up by line item and cost.

Then kill them one by one.

There will probably be a few that are extremely easy.

Some will be harder.

Let’s say you’re paying $10 per month for Spotify.

Spotify is great, but do you really need to pay ($10/$120/$1200/$1557) for the commercial-free convenience? Not when it’s so easy to assemble music for free elsewhere. I hate the Spotify commercials, but I hate even more the thought of a media company deducting $120 per year from my bank account.

My advice for killing a monthly subscription that you’re attached to is this. Just kill it for 60 days. Observe your behavior without the product or service. If you find you still want it after two months, then, by all means resubscribe. Chances are you’ll adapt just fine to living without it.

What does this basic personal finance advice a have to do with digital detachment?

Chances are, you signed up for some of these monthly or yearly subscriptions online, possibly without thinking too hard about the financial consequences. There is a whole industry of “conversion rate optimizers” tasked with using psychology and design skills to “convert” you from a mere browser to a “monthly subscriber” who gives permission to a company to help itself to a portion of your bank account each month.

Monthly subscriptions aren’t bad. They’re just dangerous. And need to be handled carefully and mindfully.

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