Over the last two years, I cancelled almost all my regular subscriptions.
I used to have a Sky-Action subscription. For about a year or so, I really
enjoyed the fact that I could watch an action movie 24/7.
However, after a while, my attitude towards modern action movies changed
dramatically. In retrospect, it almost felt like I went numb
from all the sensations. So I terminated that subscription,
and immediately exposed myself to something else, but similar.
I got myself NetFlix. That gave me something to play with, for the next
few months. I guess the main reason why I originally subscribed
was simply the fact that it was easy to get. I used to have an
Apple TV, and to get NetFlix working, I really just had to
tap a single button on my phone.
Luckily, I am from Europe. And after a while
of browsing through NetFlix offerings, I realized I am being wound up.
You have to know, that a few years ago (I actually have no idea if this is still the case),
NetFlix didn't provide all the content they were streaming
for U.S. citizens to those subscribing in Europe. I never
found any actual statistics, but from listening to what U.S. friends
found on NetFlix, it was clear the european offerings were substantially
butchered. After a while, NetFlix just went boring. I managed
to find one series I happened to like, which occupied me for
about a week. I guess I am a bit picky when it comes to what I
want to watch, but I really found most of the other series offered on NetFlix
pretty boring or outright stupid and/or a waste of my time.
So after a few months of paying for the subscription, I finally cancelled
NetFlix as well.
As a blind person, once I discovered Audible, I felt like I needed
to have a subscription. At first, the deal sounded really great.
Pay 10 EUR per month, and pick two books you like every month.
At first, this was nice. After a while, I realized I already
have 10 free books since I didn't choose any for the last
5 months. So I picked a few I always liked/wanted to read.
A few months passed, and I found myself again in the same situation.
So obviously, I wasn't doing reading regularily enough for
this deal to work out. I ended up buying another round of
10 books in an attempt to get rid of the accumulated bonus points,
and tried to cancel my subscription. Interestingly enough,
I happened to try exactly at a moment where the website for
subscription cancelation was broken. This really
got me going. I had to do a phone call to actually get
rid of that particular subscription. And it felt deliberate to me.
Why would the unsubscribe feature of a company that largely makes its money
from subscriptions be broken? Think for yourself.
Private television in Europe has degraded quite a bit since the time
I was still growing up. It never was particularily good, however,
most people I talk to share this sentiment: The time spent on
advertisement has gone up, and the quality of prime time movies has gone down.
Most of the prime time during the week is now filled with
self-produced low-quality police/detective stories. Since I am
really not into the detective story genre, most of the time,
private television wasn't doing it for me.
And then, there is video-on-demand (YouTube) vs. classical television.
While I grew up with the "you have to be there on time to watch it"-sentiment,
the ability to pick my entertainment topic has sort of made
old-school television completely uninteresting.
So when I had a look at my monthly bills, I realized I am paying
about 30 EUR monthly for a service I very rarely used.
So, after 20 years of living in my own apartment with a TV, I finally
terminated my cable TV subscritiion as well.
In Austria, we are paying a bimonthly fee to be allowed to
consume state-provided radio and television. Radio I happily
pay for, but now that I actually cancelled my cable TV subscription,
I could also cancel my GIS (Gebühreninfoservice) TV payment,
which saved me another 25 EUR a month.
All that is left is YouTube on an old phone
Since there was really no need for my flat screen anymore (I really
only had it for sighted visitors) I actually sold it for 50 EUR.
All that is left for my personal entertainment is my old
iPhone 6 which I use to run YouTube on. Screen size
doesn't matter, and the occasional advertisment is OK for me right now.
I save roughly 1000 EUR a year, and I am missing nothing.
In fact, I feel liberated by not paying for things I rarely use.