A check on my online subscriptions. Are they worth it?

Over the years, as our lives have gone increasingly digital and many online services offer some form of paid subscription for a digital service, it can be quite difficult to keep track of all of them. I have a number of online subscriptions from Adobe Lightroom digital services, to magazine and news subscription, cloud storage and even music. So I am doing a quick check on each and every one of them that I am currently subscribed to and see if they are worth my time and money.

  1. National Geographic online magazine subscription. (S$44.98 a year)

I love National Geographic. Their magazine is a sight to behold. Full of wonderful full spread photos of nature and people. Their online counterpart is equally appealing. Choke full of interactive maps and visual graphics that makes while commuting a joy. The best way to enjoy the online subscription and content is by using a tablet, preferably an iPad. But reading on my new iPhone 7 plus is equally engaging. I have been an online subscriber for close of 4 years now and I don’t see myself cancelling anytime soon.

2. The New Yorker Magazine (US$59.90 a year)

This weekly magazine features compelling writing and top notch journalism. Featuring articles covering a broad range of topics from politics to health, science, biography, history and geography, reading long-form writing from The New Yorker is deeply engaging and thought provoking. The subscription is quite pricey in my opinion, but what you get are weekly editions, more than enough to sate your appetite of a good story every now and then.

3. The Atlantic Magazine (S$31.98 a year) -Cancelled-

This monthly magazine is somewhat similar to The New Yorker in terms of reporting and subjects covered, but I feel that it has more articles written about politics and most of the writing are quite american centered. Articles are written mainly for the American audience and their interest. I subscribed for a year and have chosen not to renew it. While I enjoyed reading it, I don’t find their articles particularly interesting.

4. The International New York Times (about S$10 a month)

This is my one and only new agency that I subscribe to. I have been a loyal customer for several years now and intend to keep it that way, so long as their continue with their excellent news reporting, in depth coverage of pressing issues and events happening around the world and world class, impactful investigative journalistic flair that often catch the world’s attention. This is a news agency with a long history and growing number of Pulitzer prize winning journalists under its wings. If you want a trust news source, The New York Times will one that you can trust.

5. Amazon Cloud (US59.90 a year)

Amazon Cloud storage is the cheapest cloud storage currently available. It offers unlimited (yes, unlimited) of storage, allowing you to store just about anything. I mainly use it to store my some 700Gb worth of photos that I have accumulated so far. And with mobile integration, I can easily backup and store photos taken from my iPhone 7 Plus without any hassle. Why subscribe for Apple iCloud when you can get it cheaper on Amazon Cloud storage? The only downside though that the upload software and tools available for the desktop is rather limited and simplistic. The web layout is simple as well, and doesn’t feature file management tools for the power users.

6. Spotify (S$9.90 a month)

I cannot survive without music. Spotify is a great companion to my daily commute to work. It’s always with me whenever my  iPhone is nearby. I can listen at home on my PS4, PC, laptop or just about any device that support Spotify. A buffet of millions of music at your fingertips, on demand, 24/7. Count me in. And, the best part? I don’t have to worry about data charges. I subscribe through Singtel, which gives me a sweet deal on top of my usual monthly subscription. No data charges. Absolutely none. I can stream all day long on my 4G connection and I don’t have to worry about reaching my monthly data cap.

7. Smugmug (US$60 a year)

Smugmug is a photo hosting website that not only gives you unlimited storage space to store your photos (just like Amazon Cloud) but also gives you a powerful tool to design your own website to showcase your best photographic works online. They web tools puts your photos front and center, showcasing your beautiful photos to the world. It also gives you the tools to sell your works online as well and hopefully make a side incomes from the photos you display and sell. So essential, it stores your photos, displays them beautifully and commercialises your work.

I am quite torn in whether I should continue the subscription. I have been really inactive in taking photo and doing photography as a hobby. It’s been a while since I truly made any effort in photography and there hasn’t been any major updates done to the website since my last Iceland holiday back in February 2016.

8. Netflix (S$16.98 a month)

Netflix offers a buffet of TV and movies on demand. I subscribe to the highest tier subscription rate to take advantage of the fact that you can stream 4K content. And because my living room has a gorgeous 4K TV, watching show by Netflix filmed in 4K is simply beautiful. Netflix’s library of TV shows and movies have grown dramatically since it initially launched in Singapore months back. And being able to binge watch entire seasons can be gratifying. Though I don’t really watch much TV nowadays, it is my parents who loves Netflix. My dad just loves watching British productions, while my mum loves watching American crime drama, horror series and everything in between. So while Netflix offers that flexibility to cancel anytime until there are newer and greater content are available I decided to continue my subscription so that my parents can enjoy them as well. Thank god for family sharing.

9. Adobe Lightroom subscription ($13.00 a month)

This is a subscription that I find worthless. Especially now that I have not been going out and taking photos anymore. I have been really inactive in photography. And paying S$13.00 a month for access to Lightroom and Photoshop software which I only use on occasion I feel like I am practically throwing money away. But on certain occasions, I do use it and I have plans to take up photography once again in the coming months. So I have no choice but to keep the subscription despite not using most of the time.

There might be another avenue where I can better utilise the subscription and that is using Lightroom Mobile on iOS. Lightroom Mobile is basically Lightroom software on your smartphone. And now that iPhone 7 plus cameras are able to take RAW photos, I can practically shoot photos using my iPhone and edit on the fly using Lightroom Mobile. After that I can transfer to Adobe cloud and upload to my PC’s Lightroom to further store and manage all the photos taken using my phone. Whether or not I will actively use it in the coming months, we shall see.

So now that I have compiled all my online subscriptions. I am actually quite shock at the sheer number of services I am currently subscribed to. Like OMG. I really need to trim them. Perhaps cancel some of them outright to save money.


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