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Guess how much your subscriptions cost?

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Your subscriptions cost way more than you think–especially media subscriptions. Take a look:

Businesses used to just sell single products, until they realized they could make much more money by selling a subscription. It doesn’t seem like that much when you’re only paying $12/month for TiVo (“only $0.40 per day!”). Here’s a breakdown of what you might be spending just on media subscriptions:

  • $30/month for Internet
  • $50/month for cell phone
  • $40/month for cable TV
  • $12/month for TiVo
  • $10/month for Napster/Rhapsody music subscription
  • $10/month for some other content-subscription like HighBeam Research


$1,824 per year

Add in other subscriptions like your gym and you’ll be stunned. One of my students I taught last week is making $50,000/year and, after calculating this, she realized she is paying 30% of her after-tax income to subscriptions.

(This post is cross-listed on another site I run,

Now what?


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5 Comments on "Guess how much your subscriptions cost?"

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8 years 10 months ago

I wonder if this is one reasons why alot of young adults are still living at home with their parents… I know of a number of 20 somethings that have to have all of the latest gadgets and a brand new 20-30K car, cell phone with a billion minutes, ipod w/ content subscription, would be lost without all the premium cable channels, have to have internet (this can save you buku bucks though), netflix, etc. etc.

8 years 9 months ago
I am not sure what to make of this. Has things really change that much? cable has always been a monthly subscription, as has communication (land line or cell or internet). As a matter of fact, the land line use to be per minute or hourly (as was internet). As we used them more, it became cheaper to pay 30/month for internet vs $1 hour (or .20 a kilobyte). I am not sure things have gotten more expensive. I think there are more services out there than there use to be, (and they are becoming compelling) so thats more payout… Read more »
8 years 3 months ago

chris: About the cell phone: yes and no. It’s good that you get a plan that can get you a lower average price than an a la carte system would. However, you’re probably better off with an a la carte cell phone and paying for a VOIP phone or using Skype whenever you can; those are substantially cheaper.

As for the internet, it’s hard for people commenting on a blog to disagree over that…

8 years 38 minutes ago
We have a pay as you go plan. $15 for ~250 minutes. Minutes cost less on the weekend so on the weekend there are more minutes to be had under the same $15. We use a hand-me-down phone that came from one of our parents. Both my parents and my in-laws like to get the newest phone when their contract comes up. They usually explain that the old phones have batteries that won’t hold a charge or something. Our current phone was discarded because the battery wouldn’t hold a charge my mother said. We’ve been using it for 3 years… Read more »
7 years 10 months ago

I would like to see how that $1824 breaks down, but your crosspost link to is broken, looks like your IHateThings blog there is not showing up any more.

Meanwhile I am trying to bring down my subscription costs – I have killed cable subscription well over a year ago; next is internet from Comcast – DSL is cheaper. Mobile is already on the lowest tier family plan. I am tempted by a sirius satellite subscription in my new car though (which is free now, but free offer expires next month).