It is 11:55 AM on Thursday December 10th, 2020. For the first time in many days I have a few minutes to get a blog post in. Work has been busy: from 8 to about 2 I’ve been engrossed in my laptop only taking a break to refill coffee or pee. I look at the clock and to my surprise it is 2:30 or 3:00 PM. Today is the first time all week I can take a breather as I’m all caught up with no appointments tomorrow.
As an Account Manager this time of the year is typically slow. It is ironic that in a year of quarantine I’m actually busier than I usually am. The reason is because every customer interaction requires thought and more preparation than usual.
Mentally I could really use a break. Aside from work there is always one more house chore, one more bill, one more message, one more thing to do without end. This also extends to finances as there is always one more bill to pay, one more service to decline and one more subscription offering. Speaking of subscriptions, those have become relentless. I am a very organized person and even I can get suckered into subscriptions, having too many before I know it. I am not surprised that now everyone and everything wants to sell you a subscription for their services. It seems like a small monthly amount but adds up to over $100 for the company per year, much more than just a one time sale of something.
I do have to give myself some credit because most of the services were purchased on an extreme COVID deal. But I thought it would be interesting to list these out.
- Netflix – $13 per month. We’ve had this for a decade and make use of it daily
- Costco – $120 annual fee. This is worth it as Costco has the best prices for grocery/bulk items we need for the family. The membership easily pays for itself in the annual rebate. In fact, we make money because we buy a lot from Costco and also get the 2% back for restaurant purchases. We eat delivery pizza and sushi quite often.
- Amazon Prime – $119 per year – What we cannot buy from Costco we buy from Amazon. This also easily pays for itself with the 5% cash back.
- YouTube – $216 per year. I subscribed about a year or two ago so I could watch Cobra Kai. I then realized that given my love of ambiance I could have YouTube ambiance on my TV instead of putting in my fireplace BlueRay. I like to have some type of ambiance going on the TV whenever I’m in the living room especially a fireplace or during holidays with nice scenes reflective of the holiday. Finally, there is YouTube music which means I’m getting two services in one: music service and video service both combined!
- Disney Plus – $70 per year. We got this when it rolled out as it was only $6. The main draw here is by far The Mandolorian followed by the Simpsons. If it weren’t for those two we could do without.
- Sirius XM I I got this for a COVID steal!! Only $60 for the top package for a year plus an Alexa Echo puck. We are a Google Smart Home but why not have Alexa as well to see what she can do. I find I prefer the SPA channel on Sirius while working than always looking for a new YouTube Playlist. I won’t renew this one however unless it is for a huge discount. YouTube Music is sufficient.
- New York Times – I always want to read the NYT articles that show up in my Google reader but was not going to pay the big subscription fee. One day a few weeks back there was a flash sale for $1 per week for the year. That’s only $48 per year! So I’ve got it for the year but won’t renew if it jumps back up to $120 a year at the end of ’21.
- Nintendo Switch – This is $35 per year and worth it as we use the Switch daily. My wife especially likes Animal Crossing and on the rare occasion plays with friends so this is worth it.
- Just Dance Unlimited – $25 per year. This is something that normally we wouldn’t subscribe to. However I got the idea to hook the Switch up to a TV in the gym so we could do the exercise games in an appropriate environment and thus, hopefully, encourage working out more by adding variety in a gaming format.
- Epic Books – $72 per year. This one is pricey but worth it since we’re in a pandemic, the kids are distance learning and I wanted them to have variety in what they read.
All in that is $921 per year in subscription fees. This is the first time I’ve actually calculated it out and am amazed at how quickly it adds up. I am inherently adverse to subscriptions and feel the need to trim. So unless there are further deep discounts and life returns somewhat to normal the ones that will be cut are: Epic Books, New York Times, Sirius XM, and Disney Plus.
One service that also now offers a subscription and that I’ll eventually have to contend with is Microsoft Office. I use Access Database and although I could switch over to a Linux app I don’t want to. I’m used to Access and am not going to ditch Windows anytime soon. However, their Office product is now subscription although they say a one time purchase option will soon be available. I still have the MS Office 2016 package installer but eventually the product key isn’t goign to work anymore and I won’t have any choice but to upgrade on whatever terms Microsoft sets forth.
Now if I’m so organized but still find myself paying more than I’d like for subscriptions I imagine many across the world, especially in America are getting downright fleeced. America is a place where half the country cannot even wear a mask in a pandemic. Therefore, one would conclude they would do even less well against predatory company practices and have signed up for more subscriptions than they may be able to handle. Credit cards after all rob from the poor and I think subscription services are just as predatory. Yes, yes, individual freedoms, but unfortunately corporations are a heck of a lot smarter than your average Joe and are masters at taking Joe’s money.
Yes, I am a bit frazzled with all the subscriptions, projects, messages and always trying to fend of subscription requests that come in between scam calls about the IRS or extended warranty. If I read the news Trump is trying to destroy democracy all while being cheered along by his poorly educated white supporters who are quickly finding their status in society is slipping away. Maybe if they just voted for more things that run absolutely contrary to their well-being it would make them feel better for a little while anyway. It is kind of like a drug for them: voting for the rich and powerful gives them a high like snorting cocaine but afterwards their lot is all the worse and they need to vote against their own interests again. Gotta stick it to them Liberals you know!
I want to turn off my phone, turn off the electronics and just be at peace. Perhaps a hike through the woods is necessary. My mind needs a rest.