The other day I was looking for something to organize, one of my many hobbies. I decided to zero in on my subscriptions, those things I pay for monthly or annually. This included streaming services, and any other services I pay for but did not include loans or bills from a credit card company. The idea was to reevaluate the value of these services to me and perhaps find a way to lower or cancel the payments without feeling like I was lowering my quality of life. As you probably know, a lot of these services are increasing their prices almost every year without providing any additional value, and that money, no matter how small, might be better used for savings or investments.
I started with my streaming services for video. I currently only pay for Amazon Prime, not because they have superior shows and movies, though I am satisfied with their selection, but because of the free shipping, free books, free video games, and not inadequate free music service. They are also going to raise their prices next year as they are going to start forcing ads on us lowly subscribers which we will have to pay an additional monthly charge to have removed. For overall value, this one stays.
For Music, I have been paying for Spotify Premium and have felt well served by it. In my experience, it is the superior music streaming service surpassing all competitors, especially with their integration with all my devices, including my smart TV. That new AI DJ is icing on the cake. They also just raised their prices this year and they have no annual plan that might mitigate this so for now I still pay.
I looked deeper into my streaming habits and can confirm I watch a lot of YouTube videos, more than any other channel, network, or streaming service. I considered paying for YouTube Premium to remove the frequent and annoying ads but was loathe to add another subscription. YouTube Premium also includes YouTube Music which is inferior to Spotify but could still serve my needs considering my use case. I tried YouTube Premium anyway and was very happy with the results. While YouTube music is inferior to Spotify it does meet my use case, which is casual so I reluctantly cancelled Spotify. I can supplement YouTube music with Music Prime which I am already getting from Amazon. Even though they just increased their price this year, YouTube Premium has an annual plan with makes the monthly price well worth it for what you get in my opinion.
It’s the annual plans that get you because you don’t budget for them. My annual plans include Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium, AAA, Zoom, Readwise, and a few others. These bills seem to just show up and happily take money from my credit card on what feels like some random date in the year. I did cancel Xbox Game Pass. I own too many video games, most of them unplayed, to be paying for a service to play even more. I found nothing else I wanted to add, cancel, or replace. It would be nice if I could share these with others to mitigate their cost. I’ll have to look into that. In the meantime, I consider this evaluation complete so it’s on to something else in my life to analyze and maximize.