Think of all the paid monthly or even yearly or quarterly subscriptions you currently hold. Maybe you just have Netflix and/or Hulu. Or perhaps you’re like a large number of households and have an Amazon Prime membership and even a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. If you have a young child as I do, you may even have acquired subscriptions to Kindle Freetime, Rachel and the Treeschoolers, ABCMouse.com, Reading Eggs/Math Seeds, and Epic or Little Passports. If you work for yourself, you may have other subscriptions you pay for such as Canva for Work. If you have hobbies like geneaology, you may have a subscription to a service like Ancestry.com.
These subscriptions add up. Netflix is $9.99 per month, basic Hulu is now $7.99, and an Amazon Prime membership is $99 per year. Those three subscriptions alone total $25 per month. My daughter’s memberships range from $2.99 per month for Kindle Freetime Unlimited to $9.99 per month for Rachel and the Treeschoolers. My own subscriptions range from $6.99 for BeFit Prime to $9.99 for Kindle Unlimited to $19.99 for Ancestry.com.
The question is how many of your subscriptions do you really need and use. The goal is to cancel them all and see if you can live without them and save your household some money and possibly some time as well.
What I Did
In my mind, I have rationalized these subscriptions for a while now. I got sucked in with Netflix circa 2011. We canceled cable around that time, so for a long time, I believed I was saving money on cable by subscribing first to Netflix and then to both Netflix and Hulu. They both were a huge time suck for me, however, and since all I was doing with them was watching old episodes of “Friends” and “Desperate Housewives” for the fourth and fifth times, I decided to work on acquiring TV shows that I could watch on Blu-Ray or DVD over and over–and for less cost in the long run, actually.
Because of its slightly higher cost and significantly limited TV show selection, I canceled Netflix earlier this year and stuck with it. But Hulu has been a more difficult cancelation for me. Putting my account on hold is easy from Hulu’s web site, so I have more than once put my account on hold this year. But I tend to forget to push the reactivation date when I need to, leading on occasion to my paying for a month of service that I don’t really need and then sitting in front of my devices watching shows to make up for the fact that I spent money I didn’t really need to spend in the first place. It was time to cancel rather than hold and put that $7.99 per month toward more permanent Blu-Ray and DVD copies of “The Big Bang Theory” or “The Middle.” (Interestingly, because I try to buy TV on DVD on sale, one Blu-Ray season of “The Big Bang Theory” cost me less than two months of Hulu.)
Canceling my daughter’s memberships was a more difficult task for me. I canceled Reading Eggs and Math Seeds easily because she just didn’t respond to them as well as I’d hoped. But the ABCMouse.com subscription was something she had used, something I feel helped her advance in her education, so I wasn’t as willing to cancel it–until I realized how little she was using it to do anything other than watch the videos and sing their songs. The fact that she could sing the songs by memory but had barely progressed past Toddler Time was what ultimately caused me to cancel that subscription. I used those saved expenses to buy the books I used this year’s homeschool curriculum instead–and then used our education budget elsewhere! (Note: We received a year of Kindle FreeTime Unlimited with the new Kindle we purchased for her for Easter this year, but I have made a note on my calendar to cancel it in March.)
As for myself, I tend to use Ancestry.com primarily when visiting my family, so I canceled my subscription for now. I can reactivate it and pick up where I left off on my family tree when I make my next visit and cancel it upon my departure. Similarly, I found canceling every other subscription my husband and I had very easy because of the cost savings versus the benefit. My husband had a subscription he had discontinued using for school that cost $19.99 per month, and I had one for this blog that cost $12.95 per month.
My husband is still holding out on Amazon Prime. I’ve told him that should we keep it past our membership date in July of next year, it will be deducted from his blow money rather than from our household budget as it has past years. Because while I love Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping, I don’t actually need it, and the only videos I watch on Amazon Prime are for “Frasier,” which I already purchased on DVD on sale for less than $40 for eleven seasons this past year.
Total cost savings? We have saved approximately $100 per month canceling our subscriptions. Total time savings? At least an hour a day, based on how much I was watching Hulu at one time–and that doesn’t count how much time my daughter was spending on her subscriptions! (Yes, I’ve spent some money on TV shows on disc, but I would have spent that money anyway, and I still saved money overall. And I don’t watch those discs the way I would feel compelled to if I were spending money each month on Hulu.)
- First, write out the subscriptions you have. Go through your credit card statements and bank statements to determine all of these; otherwise, you might forget one or two or five.
- Next, decide what subscriptions you can live without. If you use Netflix to save money on date nights and your child is progressing successfully through ABCMouse, perhaps these are subscriptions you need to keep. The key is to cancel the services you do not use or that are time or money sucks–and to do so all at once so that you can see the (motivating!) cost and time savings.
- Finally, completely cancel what you don’t need or want. Make certain that you cancel each service completely and have a confirmation e-mail. I say this because I thought I had canceled Ancestry.com when I hadn’t clicked the final confirm button. Some of these services require as many as 5-7 screens to cancel. ABCMouse.com was the most difficult for me.
How Did You Do?
What subscriptions did you cancel? Did you find canceling them motivating? Post a comment and let me know how you did!