Subscription Services Are Ruining My Life

Subscription Services Are Ruining My Life

As I breathed a sigh of relief that my rent check actually cleared this month, it hit me that I shouldn’t be this concerned about paying my bills with the amount that I make. Sure, I pay for alcohol, but not that much alcohol, and even though I have a couple of credit card payments, my student loans are still in their deferral period, so I really should have substantially more cushion in my checking account. With a heavy heart, I set out to do the most adult task of my life so far: I made a budget. And what I found was that, without a doubt, subscription services are ruining my life.

Every retailer in America knows that millennials aren’t spending like every other generation before them and, instead of purchasing items, they’re paying for experiences. While this was originally difficult to monetize, retailers soon found a way around this: the subscription service. I’m sad to say that after reviewing last month’s charges, I realized that I’ve fallen into this so-carefully laid trap. Here’s what I found in my monthly budget:

Hulu Plus: $7.99
Netflix: $9.99
HBO NOW: $15
Amazon Prime Student: $4.08 (taken monthly)
Spotify Premium Student: $5

Birchbox: $10
Ipsy: $10
JustFab: $20

My dog
Barkbox: $24

Monthly total: $106.06

It doesn’t end there either. Even after spending over a hundred dollars every month, I still have subscription service envy. Of course, I need a box of healthy snacks delivered to my desk every month! Don’t even get me started on clothing and accessory rentals either: before creating this budget, I was seriously debating monthly rentals of both jewelry and clothing. Yes, as a millennial, I was willing to pay a service to not even own their clothes that someone else picked out for me. It’s become abundantly clear that I have a problem.

While I’ve been patting myself on the back for saving money on a cable subscription, I’ve been spending a fairly similar amount on a combination of streaming services that I barely use. Let’s be honest — I use HBO NOW for ten weeks of Game of Thrones viewing, and then don’t touch it for the remaining nine months of the year. During that time, I alternate opening and closing my Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix viewing apps, spend twenty minutes deciding I don’t want to watch any of the options,and then end up renting an HD movie from Amazon for $5.99, which gets added to the nearly $40 I pay every month to have endless movie and television options I refuse to watch.

Of course, there are also my two subscription services for makeup samples, most of which I don’t use. Much to my live-in boyfriend’s dismay, drawers upon bathroom drawers overflow with unused miniature face masks and dry shampoo bottles. Between the two services, I get one-to-two items that excite me, which combined cost substantially less than what I’m paying for the service — which I just can’t give up.

And then there are the subscriptions i wonder why the hell I ever purchased in the first place. Every month I end up with $44 worth of off-brand shoes and luxury dog treats that I impulse-purchased one night months ago and forgot to cancel. My closet is cluttered with heels I’ll never wear, and my living room floor has so many pet toys that it honestly looks like a pet store.

It was finally time for me to bite the bullet, and after several “Are you sure you want to cancel?” pop-up boxes and a few calls with customer service representatives that nearly brought me to tears, I brought my subscription addiction down to Amazon (which I do primarily use for free two-day shipping), HBO, and one make-up box. As heartbreaking as it was to continue hitting “Cancel,” I know that when the services stop arriving in my mailbox, I won’t even notice, but I’ll definitely notice the savings in my checking account. Now I just need to make sure to use the money I saved for something I actually need, and not sign up for a personalized wine of the month club.

Image via GongTo / Shutterstock

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Steph W.

Steph W. is a new Master's degree graduate with an intern's salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include attempting to trapping her boyfriend into marriage before he finds out how insane she is and pretending that Black Box wine tastes as good as the kind she could afford when she was gainfully employed. Send her tips for getting out of student debt at

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