A Field of Fees and Subscriptions as Far as the Eye Can See

Recently there’s been a spate of state attorney generals who are suing various hotel chains for incorporating “resort fees” hidden in a variety of forms, usually at the bottom of the bill lumped in with the numerous taxes that are tacked on at the bottom of a person’s statement when they check out, bumping up the actual cost of your overnight stay significantly.  Unfortunately, it’s an uphill battle and one that may be challenging to change the climate that’s embedded into our minds because we just feel that it’s what we need to do and can’t negotiate off.

However, there’s another challenge that we often fail to review and correct, which is the “subscriptions” that we sign up for because we just need to use it just once.  It’s become quite a goldmine for software companies, instead of just selling the product once they keep you on the hook for months and even years, without you even giving it a second thought.  Scrolling through just a few of these subscriptions, ask yourself if #1 you have one of them, and #2 if you use them at least monthly.

Amazon Prime                        Adobe                         Microsoft Office 365

QuickBooks Online                Photoshop                   Illustrator

LogMeIn                                 Sales Force                  Bill.com

GoToMeeting                          Amazon Prime            Itunes

FreshBooks                             Stripe                           Planet Fitness

1Password                               Constant Contact        Google

Crash Plan Pro                        Smart Vault                 Shoeboxed

EventSmart                             Builder Trend              YouTube

Here’s a sample of 24 random software companies that use a subscription-based model, and I subscribe to 9 of those.  Fortunately, that’s down from 15 that I had been paying for last year, which I went through and determined I didn’t need 6 of them, which saved me nearly $3,000 over a year’s time which I used for other more worthwhile expenses.

These often keep accumulating and we don’t pay attention because we either don’t reconcile our expenses on our bank or credit card statements (I’m definitely not in this category), but the main culprit is that we don’t feel that we’re missing something that costs less than $20 a month.  However, when you add everything up again it gets significant.  As well, the ones that are a “once a year” automatic renewal are harder to find too, because we don’t see them all of the time for us to wonder if we use them.

Yes, it’s a pain to be looking through every line item all of the time and keep following up on making sure that they do get cancelled and don’t come back.  However, I always ask myself the question, whose pocket is it better in, theirs or mine?

Can you imagine using gift cards for your subscriptions, and then you get a notice that it’s not automatically renewed unless YOU choose to subscribe again or not.  An easy fix, even though you may end up regretting it if you forget to renew it if it’s something you use.  Again, a double-edged sword no matter what path you choose.

Dwayne J. Briscoe