The Great Year-End Subscription Purge

How I found an extra $2068.31 in an afternoon

The other day I spilled an entire mug of coffee on my laptop. And what kills me is that it shouldn’t have even been a mug. I specifically asked for a to-go cup but the barista insisted that I try one of their mugs. “We have great mugs!”

Thirty-eight seconds later the great mug was on its side and my laptop’s keyboard was swimming. Long story short, the computer still worked, but 50% of its keys didn’t.

I tell you this because A) I need to vent — their mugs were not great (the handle, for some ungodly reason, was wider than the part that holds coffee) and B) this horrifically frustrating event was what led to the $2068.31 savings I teased in the subtitle.

I needed to kill some time before the Genius Bar could see me to tell me there’s nothing they can do, and there are only so many rows of iPads at the Apple Store that I could subscribe to my podcast, so I started going through money stuff I’d been putting off (I was still able to scroll around and click things on my coffee-stained MacBook).

I noticed I was paying $40/month for a Quickbooks Plus account, even though I only used it for a couple basic things. Surely a lower tier exists, no? It does— Quickbooks Self-Employed ($5/month for first 6 months, $10/month after that). So, I downgraded.

And just like that, I saved myself $390/year.

Hmm, still 45 minutes until my Genius Bar appointment. What other online accounts could I tweak, downgrade or eliminate altogether?

I combed through my credit card statements — should I have been doing this on public wifi ?— looking for subscriptions, tweaking some, keeping some, and outright canceling others.

In short…I came out the other end saving $2068.31.

In long…here’s how. Here are all of the subscriptions I tweaked (in no particular order) and how I arrived at the $2068.31 number:


Canceled subscription to The Economist. I just learned I can get this and many other magazines for free on my iPad, via Zinio and my public library. (Chances are, you can too). Saving $115/year.

Tweaked my Xfinity account. This year I really didn’t watch NFL RedZone, so I canceled the $5/month sports package. Saving $60/year.

Un-auto-renewed four GoDaddy domains. I’ve been holding onto a few domains for the last few years and I finally admitted to myself I’m not going to do anything with them (YouTubeIsMyDad.com is now up for grabs). Saving $40/year.

Canceled my Squarespace account. I love Squarespace, I just don’t need it. I was essentially spending money for a splash page that just pointed people other places. Plus, I’m giving the Medium thing a try now. Saving $60/year.

Canceled an REI membership. For some reason we had two. I love REI, but no one needs two paid memberships (well, at least we don’t). I called them and they said they’d reimburse me for one of them. Saving $20/year.

Tweaked ADP payroll service. I called them and simply asked “Hey, is this the lowest price you can give me?” Turns out it wasn’t. They reduced my monthly cost by $12.06/month. Saving $144.72/year.

Downgraded two Buffer accounts. I was using Buffer for two different businesses and paying $10/month for each and realized that their free option would suffice for each. Saving $240/year.

Downgraded Libsyn. I use Libsyn to host a couple podcasts, but realized that the $20/month tier was WAY more than I needed. Downgraded to the $5/month tier. Saving $180/year.

Downgraded Mailchimp. Mailchimp charges a monthly amount based on the number of email subscribers you have. They also make it really easy to see the depressing number of people who have never opened a single email you’ve sent. Ugh. So, I deleted those people, taking our subscriber number from the $75/month tier to the $55/month tier. Saving $240/year.

Downgraded another Quickbooks account. You know the thing I explained above in regards to Quickbooks? I did the same thing with another one of my companies, reducing the cost from $30/month to $7.50/month. Saving $270/year.

Quit buying books/Use library card. This one is a little different than the subscription tweaks, but I kept noticing how many Amazon charges there were on my statements. I was curious how much I spent on books — physical or Kindle — since the beginning of 2013, so I exported a report of those orders. $1234.34, which averages out to $308.59 each year. So, at least for the next year, I’m going to try to depend solely on my public library for books. Saving $308.59/year.

All of this adds up to a grand total of $2068.31 that I’ll be saving in 2017.


A few notes:

  1. There were a few subscriptions that I couldn’t downgrade in any way and that I like too much to get rid of: AT&T, Netflix, iCloud (a single iPhone backup is larger than their free 5GB. Thanks Apple!), Spotify, YouTube Red, Evernote, PGA Tour Live, Sendowl, Tubebuddy, and Google Drive.
  2. Being self-employed with a few different businesses, I realize I probably have more subscriptions than the average person. Regardless, there’s probably still some amount of money you can save by spending an afternoon on this.
  3. I’ve played the “Hey, I’ve got other options for this kind of service. Is this the best price you can give me?” card many times before with things like cable, internet, phone, etc. It’s amazing how often it works, especially if you’re willing to call back and ask a second customer service person after the first one says no.
  4. Looks like I’m going to have to spend $1000 of the $2068.31 on another computer because of the damn coffee situation.
  5. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of the savings on an instructional video that teaches mug manufacturers proper handle-to-rest-of-mug proportion.