What Subscriptions I’m Bailing on in 2023
Before we jump in, here’s a round up of all the current subscriptions/memberships our family has as we ended 2022:
TOTAL MONEY SPENT ON DISCRETIONARY SUBSCRIPTIONS IN A YEAR: $901
The year has come to a close and the 2022 reflections are in full swing. Spotify gave us our 2022 Wrapped. Goodreads revealed our Year in Books. I’ve looked at my Planet Fitness app to see just how many times I actually went to the gym. And even though Netflix doesn’t share how many HOURS you spent watching their streaming services, you can view and download all of your viewing history, giving you an idea of just how much time you spent watching TV this year.
This got me wondering which subscriptions of ours are actually worth the money. This all started for me with Planet Fitness. I love going to Planet Fitness. With the weather turning colder, I’ve started to go every morning after I drop the kids off to school. I was in such a good routine of running in the fall and would enjoy getting out almost daily to achieve my cardio goals. I wanted to keep that momentum up but I’m also very realistic and know that I will not run on snowy sidewalks, slushy roads, or freezing temperatures regularly.
Earlier in December I discovered that I can look at all my “check-ins” at the gym for the week, month, or year. I looked at the “year” tab and realized I had only logged a measly 28 visits so far in 2022. While running on the treadmill I’m doing the math in my head and conclude that I spent $159 this year to go to Planet Fitness. I have the classic membership, costing me $10 each month and an annual fee of $39 (which I believe is going up $10 next year). I knew I wasn’t using my membership as much as I could during the warmer months, but at only $10 a month, I still always thought it was worth it. It’s so easy to forget the once annual fee of $39.
Once I crunched the numbers, I realized that on my 28th visit, I was spending a little over $6 per visit for the entire year.
I asked myself, would I have spent $6 today to come to the gym to work out? The answer would have been no. I asked myself if it’s worth keeping this membership for the following year.
Then, because it’s easy to get bored on the treadmill and because I got going on this numbers game, I started thinking about other subscriptions we have. I had just gotten my Spotify Wrapped for the year. I was gifted three free months of Spotify Premium last Christmas and as we nearing our debt-free date, we decided that it was something we wanted to keep and were okay with the $10/month payment. We were ready to rid ourselves of extra advertisements in our lives.
My Spotify Wrapped revealed that I listened to 37,001 minutes of music in 2022, in their top 85% of listeners. I thought to myself “hey great I’m getting my money’s worth!” But did I? Well I started 2022 with 3 free months of Spotify Premium. Then I went a few months with the free version. In the summer I was gifted another 3 months of Premium. When that expired, we went all in and signed up for the Duo Account so Mark and I could both listen ad-free. So while we’ve only paid for 2 months in the entire year for a premium membership, I thought I’d see if this would be worth keeping going into 2023. Here’s the break down:
Will we keep Spotify Premium Duo for 2023 for 25 cents an hour? That’s a big jump from 4 cents an hour we spent in 2022.
Take a look at all your subscriptions. Unfortunately, you can’t look at your watch hours for Disney+, Hulu or Apple TV+. Like I mentioned previously, you can’t get your hours of watching Netflix but you can get a report of what you did watch. If you really wanted to, you could do some quick calculations of how many hours you watched on Netflix if you know how long your TV episodes tend to be and estimate on some movie times (or look them up if you really want to be detailed about it!).
Now streaming services like this are tricky. Yes, I recommend getting your money’s worth if you’re going to be paying a monthly fee for something, but consider if you really want to be watching so much TV that it only costs 11 cents/hour to do so. The average American watches 3 hours of television a day. If you have ONE subscription service that costs you $10/month and you’re average and watch 3 hours a day, that’ll bring you to 11 cents an hour. That’s a pretty good deal financially. But let’s say you’re paying for 2 or 3 monthly streaming services. Either you’re paying a lot more per hour of watching OR you’ll have to drastically increase your viewing hours to get the same financial deal.
It’s kind of funny because there are some subscriptions/memberships that I want to use as much as possible, like Planet Fitness. It’s good for my health, it’s a great investment for my body. And then there are others that are nice to have and provide some entertainment and relaxation, but I don’t necessarily want to use them that much. I don’t really want hours of my time spent aimlessly watching TV. It’s a balance between getting my money’s worth and what’s actually improving my life.
Which brings me to the big question: what am I going to keep and what am I going to bail on? Let’s break it down one by one.
Honestly, I was pretty disappointed in myself seeing how little I went to the gym in 2022. I love to run outside in the summer but know I should have taken more advantage of doing some strength training during those warmer months. I’ve worked hard at the end of 2022 to get as many visits to the gym as I can and I got my per visit cost for the year down from $6 to $4. So am I going to keep it for 2023? Yes.
Out of all the memberships we have, this one is the most important one to me. This one is an INVESTMENT into my health for the long term. I’m going to use this new information that I discovered in the last month to use it as fuel for my motivation to get into the gym more often in 2023. Not only will strengthening my body and getting exercise be a motivating factor for me, but now I’ve added in the challenge to get my money’s worth for the year. My 2023 goal will be to get my per visit cost below $2.
Spotify Premium Duo:
It was wonderful having a few gift cards throughout the year to bank several months of free Spotify Premium. Listening to music without ads is a much more peaceful experience to me. Before switching to Premium I often found myself getting stressed out and overstimulated from all the ads. I honestly didn’t even listen to music that much because it just felt more stressful than anything. With ad-free options, I feel like I can do little life upgrades regularly that bring me more comfort, relaxation, and joy. Having some soft music play in the background while talking with Mark at night. Having fun, upbeat music playing while I’m cooking dinner. Uninterrupted dance parties in the living room. The access to downloaded songs I can listen to offline, especially while I’m running. Even calming instrumental music playing in the background while I read. All of these experiences have enhanced my life. And at 25 cents an hour, this is 100% worth it to me. We’re keeping it!
Disney recently released their ad-free and ad-supported plans. We wanted to stick with our $8/month membership so opted to go with the ad-supported plan. I think having ad-free streaming makes it easier to watch stuff. So this is something I WANT to be harder. Unlike my music with Spotify, I don’t get the same relaxation and enjoyment from ad-free TV watching as I do with music. I want to watch less TV. While I don’t have concrete numbers on how much we watched this year, I will estimate that outside of football, our family as a whole watches about 10-13 hours of TV a week across all platforms. That puts us around 14 cents an hour and this is the only streaming service we pay for all year long. I still think this is an affordable option and it’s something that’s nice to have, especially for the kids. I don’t personally get a lot of use out of this subscription but the kids really enjoy it and it’s nice to have for family movie night. Plus it’s so hard to actually go out and “rent” a movie anymore so we like keeping this option for that. At the $8/month price point, we’re keeping it. If it was much higher though, I could see it being something we’d pass on.
A quick note on Netflix and Hulu. These are two services that our friends let us have access to but we do not pay for. We rarely use Hulu and watch Netflix occasionally. Neither of these streaming services would be something I’d be willing to pay for. If our friends took away our access, we just wouldn’t have them. I think it’s nice to have at least one streaming option and for us our top choice would be Disney+. Outside of that I would not be willing to pay to have more access to TV/movies in the house. This is also why we don’t have HBOMax, AppleTV+, Prime Video, or any other streaming services.
Spectrum TV Select:
That brings us to our final subscription. For the last two years, in September we sign up for Spectrum TV Select so that we can watch football. Over the last 10 years we’ve gradually gotten more and more interested in watching football. How it’s grown over the last decade is a story for another time but we’re at the point where it’s become a family tradition to do every Sunday from September-February. The kids have started to enjoy watching football, I make soup every week, and it’s a wonderful, cozy, unintentional day every Sunday.
But come the Monday after the Super Bowl, I’m calling Spectrum and canceling. The single reason we have this service is to watch football. And when football is over, we cancel it. It IS annoying to have to call and explain why we’re canceling and listen to their spiel on why we should stay, but I’m not willing to pay $80/month for 7 months that we would not use this service. On February 13th, 2023, I’ll be canceling, but I’ll sign up for it again come mid-September.
So technically, yes, I’m keeping all the subscriptions we currently have. (Did I cheat on that title? Maybe.) But thinking about “getting my money’s worth” really made me step back and evaluate what we have and if I want to continue with them. I encourage you to do the same. If you have a lot of really good reasons on why you should keep a subscription or membership, then keep it! My point here is to PAY ATTENTION. It’s when we stop paying attention that we start losing hundreds of dollars down the drain.
Take a CRITICAL look at ALL your streaming services, your subscription boxes, magazines, gym memberships, etc. and decide if they are worth it. Go through them one by one. Crunch some numbers. Figure out how much you’re spending per hour, per visit, per meal. Is it enhancing your life? Is it life-giving? Is it an investment into your next adventure?
Is it bringing you closer to the kind of life you want to live? Or is it something that’s just there? Something you forgot about? Or worst of all, something that pulls you away from reaching your goals and living a full, vibrant life?
Ask yourself these questions for each monthly payment you make. If they are no longer a reflection of what’s important to you, cancel it. If you’re spending too much money per experience, cancel it. Save that money and put it towards something that’ll help you reach where you want to go.
Tell me – which subscriptions are you definitely keeping this year? And which ones are you bailing on? Were there any that were really hard to say goodbye to? I’d love to hear what you decided on to help you live your best next adventure!
Thanks for reading and share your thoughts!
From the minimal-subscription queen,