Beware of Subscription Creep!

Apple just announced its Apple TV+ service will go live on November 1 and will cost a mere $4.99 per month. Sounds like a good deal! Does your kid also want in on Apple’s streaming video game service? That will be another $4.99 per month. What about Apple Music? Apple News? All of these offer something worthwhile but each charges a monthly subscription fee. Then there are the non-Apple subscriptions: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime. Probably you still pay for Cable TV or DirecTV on top of these. All have monthly fees. Then there is your home WiFi and phone service. Do you still have a landline to go with your cell phone? (Tired of answering robocalls on both? That’s another can of worms!) All of these cost you money every month.

Subscription Creep

Subscription Creep is what happens when you continue to add new, fun-sounding services on top of services that you previously purchased, without paring back on those previous services. Subscription Creep can add up to multiple hundreds of dollars per month. It may not seem like much money while you are still working and have enough monthly income to pay for it all. And, if you really enjoy all of these services on a regular basis, then have at it and more power to you! However, don’t spend yourself into the poor house just because you can’t wait for the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

Be Careful

If you already subscribe to some subscription services, be very careful before you add additional services. Ask yourself first of all if you really have extra time and will use this service. Understand what content this new service currently offers. If you aren’t so big on the service’s current offerings, don’t opt-in. Wait a year or so and reassess – perhaps the service has improved. You can always opt-in at a later date.

Like Your Closet

I often hear people say, “My closet is full, so I’m not buying any more clothes until I have a chance to give some old clothes away.” Good concept, and one that I recommend for these subscription services. Do you truly have a gap of unused time that is just waiting to be filled by a new subscription service? Or is your “closet” of entertainment options already full? If it is, you should consider cleaning it out before you buy something new. Unfortunately, you can’t donate to the needy as you can with old clothes, but you can rid yourself of some serious overhead by purging your unused or little-used services.

Kondo Your Services

Marie Kondo wrote “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”. In a nutshell, Kondo says to hold an item you own and think, “Does this item spark joy for me?” If it does, keep it. If it does not, toss it. This turned her name into a verb. You should use that verb with respect to your subscription services. If it sparks joy for you, meaning that you actually use it and derive value from it, then keep it. Otherwise, don’t. And, don’t add anything new until you can “kondo” what you already have.


There are so many subscription services out there including for entertainment as well as for many other services. Watch out for Subscription Creep and don’t get oversubscribed because it could cost you hundreds of dollars per month that you might like to have back!

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