The Annual Subscription Check-in

Annual savings: $200 or more!

Welcome to Saving Money with Andrew!

Every year, I go through our most recent credit card statement and review each recurring subscription…Spotify, the NYT, our internet and cellphone bills, etc. Occasionally, I’ll find something we no longer use but are still paying for. But much more often, I’ll notice that we’ve reached the end of one-year discounted rate, or that there is some new promotion that can save us money.

I think it’s a great idea to do a check-in like this at least once per year. This year, we went through all of our subscriptions, and found three ways to save some money:

  • Spotify Duo - Spotify is a great service, with all the music you’d ever need for only $9.99/month. And Spotify Premium Family is a terrific deal at only $14.99/month. Recently, Spotify rolled out Spotify Premium Duo, which offers the same benefits as Spotify Premium Family for $12.99/month for two users at the same address. For households without kids, or only young children without their own Spotify accounts, it’s a nice $2/month savings which we snapped up immediately. The switchover was pretty seamless - all I had to do was change plans and then send an invite link to my wife, who could then click to associate her account with the new plan.

  • New York Times promotional rates - I like the NYT. I think I could live without it, but I enjoy reading it every day (along with the WSJ). But unfortunately, like many subscription services, they are aggressive on renewal pricing and their basic subscription charge ($17/month, or $204/month once discounts expire) is awfully steep. So, each year I open the online chat (found on the “Account” page) and ask for a promotional one-year rate, explaining that I think the current rate is too high. Generally, they will say no, so I then say I’d like to cancel and ask to be transferred to the retention department, which then generally offers a one-year promotional rate, currently $4/month. Then, I set a one-year calendar reminder to do it again the next year.

  • Promotional Cable and Internet Rates - The cable/internet companies routinely offer great promotional rates, often available just by asking or, if that fails, asking to speak to the retention/cancellation department. We set an annual reminder to call our cable company to make sure we’re on a promotional rate and to get it extended another year. These rates can often be as much as $50/month cheaper than the standard rate.

And now…Andrew’s pick of the week:

The Arcadian Wild

One can say plenty of negative things about Spotify (there’s an entire Wikipedia entry, and plenty of other criticism of its algorithms), but I absolutely love its Discover Weekly playlist, which suggests songs each week based on what it thinks you’ll enjoy. Sometimes the picks are strange, but at least once a month I’ll discover a great artist I never would have heard otherwise.

This week, Spotify recommended The Arcadian Wild, described as having “one foot planted firmly in choral and formal vocal music, and the other in progressive folk and bluegrass”. I particularly enjoyed Hey, Runner!, whose video only had 5,506 views (!) at the time of this posting. Enjoy!

I hope this has been helpful. If you liked it, please share it with a friend! Also, please send me your feedback, requests, and success stories.