Let’s Manage Our Subscriptions

So I recently got a free month of Hulu Plus because I ate three boxes of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats.

(It is, admittedly, the coolest prize I’ve ever gotten for eating cereal.)

I used it mostly to watch Leverage and How to Get Away With Murder, and then when my month ended, tweeted out:

And, in fact, I did pay $8.75 to Hulu Plus on November 21, or, to be more accurate, $8.75 was automatically removed from my Paypal account. I didn’t stop it. The How to Get Away With Murder mid-season finale was coming up, and I wanted to know how Dean Thomas was going to get away with murder.

But something didn’t sit right with me about the subscription. If I was going to pay a nominal amount of money for access to recently-aired television shows, shouldn’t I be paying for Netflix? Right now, I’m like the one kid with a Sega when everyone else has a Super Nintendo. There’s nothing wrong with Sega, it’s just that all the cool games, like Gilmore Girls, are on the Super Nintendo. (Quickly googles “8 bit Gilmore Girls,” is mildly surprised that doesn’t exist yet.)

So I canceled my Hulu Plus subscription and, this afternoon, am signing up for Netflix.

But canceling Hulu Plus made me think about my other subscriptions, and whether I needed to go through and cancel them as well. After all, one of the often-cited Human Tips for Personal Finance is “Cancel your subscriptions, you money-dribbling subscriber pants!”

So, in true Nicole fashion, I made a list. Here are all of the things to which I am currently subscribed, and the actions I am going to take on each of them:

Scratch Magazine, $20 per year: Of course I’m going to continue paying for Scratch. It is one of the smartest magazines about writing, freelancing, and earning money out there. Plus it’s only $20 a year. I would pay $100 a year for you, Scratch.

The Freelance Writers Den, $25 per month: Every month I think “I need to cancel this” and every month I don’t. I love the idea of the Freelance Writers Den, which is a private forum and resource space for freelance writers, but I’ve outgrown it. It’s great for writers who are just getting started and who want to learn the basics of pitching, working with editors, and finding new clients. I should cancel it, and then one of you should sign up for it instead, and the balance of money distribution will be restored.

Jade Gordon’s Patreon, $2 per piece: I am subscribed to only one Patreon, and sometimes I feel badly about not being subscribed to more, and sometimes I feel badly about not having a Patreon of my own, but life is short and we can’t do everything. Jade Gordon is an amazing artist and one of my dear friends, and if she ever designs a game I won’t be able to ethically review it, but I am happy to support her art on a small scale as well as commission big pieces from her a few times a year. (She’s done an album cover for me, she’s doing a poster for one of my upcoming shows, etc.)

And… that’s it. I’m not even subscribed to any show seasons through Amazon Prime right now, although I subscribe to Mad Men every time a new season launches and I’ve subscribed to Community in the past, before the gas leak. Going to therapy kind of feels like a subscription, in the same way that a gym membership feels like a subscription, but I’m not sure it fits on the list.

But yes, it’s time to cancel the Den membership and save $25 a month (or $300 a year, which doesn’t seem like that much at all). And then I should find somewhere else to put the money. Maybe I’ll donate to Serial. Maybe I’ll subscribe to more Patreons. Maybe I’ll put it in a savings account at a 1.25% interest rate… ha ha ha ha nope. I’d much rather invest it in someone else’s good work.

What about you? Any subscriptions you’d like to get rid of this afternoon? We can check in tomorrow and hold each other accountable.

Photo credit: Jeremy Jenum

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.