Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

On subscriptions 💸

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Short link: https://b.jlel.se/s/703
AI generated summary: The blog post discusses the author's various subscriptions, including internet and mobile contracts, insurances, paywalled articles, Amazon Prime, server hosting, discount cards, broker subscriptions, Codeberg membership, YouTube Premium, and other services and apps they pay for.

Manuel Moreale, Kev Quirk and some others (in response to them) listed their subscriptions and what and why they are paying for them.

Given that finances and cost optimizations is one of my favorite hobbies (as a nerd or geek), I should also write a bit about my subscriptions. I already did so three years ago, but that was a different time. I was still studying and earning way less than I am doing today.

But in the last few months (after playing with apps and self-hosted services for personal bookkeeping), I took that Excel sheet from back then and improved it a bit, listed more recurring costs. I also added a sheet to get an overview of my wealth.

But today, let’s focus on subscriptions.

In my sheet there are also things like my contribution to the joint account with my partner, a savings plan, rent, taxes, and power for my second (work) flat. Which I consider subscriptions as well, but won’t list in detail here.

Thereafter, the next biggest regular expenses are my internet and mobile contracts. I already wrote some posts about my plans to reduce the expenses for that by replacing the wired internet in the work home with a second SIM card from my unlimited mobile plan. I also care a lot about having unlimited mobile internet to have some backup in case the wired internet has problems, and I’m doing almost 100% remote work.

Furthermore, I also have insurances that are either mandatory or important enough for me to justify their price, like a legal protection insurance, household contents insurance or an insurance for car sharing. As I have no own car, but rent one whenever I need to. In total, that’s about €37 per month for insurances only on my name. Not a lot, as I regularly check and optimize contracts. Not included is a travel insurance that was recently saving us a lot of money after getting ill during our summer vacations. But that one is paid from the joint account.

I pay about €15 per month (actually paid per year, but I divided by 12) for access to paywalled articles from SPIEGEL and manager magazine. It’s the main source of daily news I read. A nice thing is the option to listen to the articles, as they have automatic text-to-speech for all articles that are not manually recorded.

I still have Amazon Prime, but I canceled my yearly subscription, and it’s running out in April. In the past, I ordered a lot at Amazon, but recently, I did way less, as I try to buy more consciously. And Next-Day-Delivery is also not always guaranteed. And I can’t remember the last time I watched something on Prime Video. If I miss Prime too much, maybe I can use my girlfriend’s student status, as long as she’s still studying.

I spend €6.62 per month on the server hosting this blog. Domains are in total €14.41 per month right now. Most of them are paid in dollars, but I let Excel convert that to Euros for me. In the last month, I deleted some of the domains I don’t need or want to have anymore.

Another yearly subscription is a discount card from the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). With that, I get 50% off on all regular tickets and 25% percent on discount tickets. It just renewed for about €70, but next time, it will be €10 more. But it’s worth it for me even then because I always use the train for long-distance travel, whether when visiting my family 700 kilometers away, when I’m going to my hometown (about 150 kilometers) or for vacations.

As I’m investing in ETFs, I have a subscription at the broker Scalable Capital (€36 per year). That one enables me to trade for free under certain conditions. I’m not sure if it’s worth it, and I have to check if maybe another broker offers better conditions. Let’s see at the latest when Payment-For-Order-Flow is forbidden.

Another yearly expense is my membership at Codeberg. I’m a more passive member as I also don’t use Codeberg a lot, but I want to support them, why I’m happy to give them €25 per year.

You maybe wondered why I haven’t listed any other streaming services yet. I am currently subscribed to YouTube Premium but used some VPN tricks to get it for a cheap price. My current yearly plan is still running until October next year. Google currently tries to increase the burdens for these tricks, but I already enabled an automatic monthly subscription after October 2024 via another country, where this trick is still working. Let’s see if that will still be the case then, or if I then must pay the 13 Euros per month. I think when big corporations use all legal tricks to save on taxes and make use of globalization, why shouldn’t I also make use to pay less on those corporation’s services.

I use YouTube Premium for music streaming, but I also really enjoy the ad-free YouTube experience and the option to download videos. Yes, that’s also possible with the free NewPipe, but that app is regularly broken because of new technical challenges YouTube implements to block scraping or ad-blocking.

Other services and apps I am a paying user of:

  • NextDNS for ad-blocking DNS (about €20 per year)
  • LanguageTool to check my writings (I have a 2-year-subscription for about €30)
  • Miniflux for following RSS feeds ($15 per year)
  • Blinkist to get audio-summaries of books (but I am unsure, whether I will renew this, last time I paid €10 for a year)
  • Komoot (about €10 per year — thanks to a first-year discount)
  • Bring for grocery shopping lists (€5 per year)

Last, but not least, I pay 10 dollars per year to PurelyMail for their excellent purely-email-service. I am pleased with that service as there are no limitations on the number of custom domains, catch-all-aliases or even mailboxes.

Just a few cents per month also go to Scaleway for my backup storage and Bunny.net for my blog’s media storage. But that’s pay-as-you-go, so basically no real subscription.

One service where I paid for a subscription, but recently extended that subscription using a one-time-payment for lifetime, is Freeletics. I am using that app to get fit at home and so far, it’s working good, and I’m sticking to my routine for almost a year. That one, I also got cheaper thanks to some simple reverse-engineering on their website, but honestly, who is paying €500 for that? It’s just a more individual training plan, after all.

Do you have a good overview of your subscriptions? How much do you spend each month?

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Jan-Lukas Else
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