The Linux Cast

Daily Linux Content on YouTube and Odysee

This is a Blog Post

I know. There hasn't been a blog post from me in literal ages. But, I'm back in the saddle again, and I want to see if I can get back into a habit of doing this before I have to make a New Year's resolution to do so in six months. Not that I ever keep those, LMAO.

Today I want to talk about saving money. Not really a topic that I'd normally talk about, but I think I can swing this into an actual Linux topic, let's see how I do.

I pay for a ton of subscriptions. Some I don't mind. I give out about 30 bucks a month in Patron support, for example. I enjoy supporting other creators, both of content and software that I use. I can't afford a ton, but for the last few years, I can give a bit. Just like those who subscribe to me on Patreon, I often switch up who I support month-to-month, so I can spread the love around. I hope that those I support appreciate their supporters just as much as I appreciate mine.

Then there are the subscriptions that I would love to do without, and probably could live without. An example of this is Kindle Unlimited. I read dozens of books a year, and Kindle Unlimited is a great deal. You get access to a lot of books to read for 12 bucks a month. Makes it so I don't have to either buy a book or get it through Libby, which can be a long wait. Another example of this is the $10 bucks I pay to Apple each month for AppleCare on my iPhone. I don't plan on needing it, and I do a great job of keeping my phone in good shape. So it could go, but then the moment I cancelled it, I'd run my phone over with a lawnmower or something.

Then there is the third category, subscriptions that I can't live without. There aren't many of these. My phone, my internet, and unfortunately, YouTube TV. That last one really bugs me because I constantly complain that there isn't shit on TV, yet I have to pay 75 dollars a month. Add that onto the $75 I spend on the internet each month, and you can see why it upsets me a little.

I'm working on changing this situation. This is one of the reasons—in fact, it's the biggest reason why I decided to build a home lab. With the use of Plex, I have been able to cancel Philo ($25/mo), Spotify ($11/mo), and Max ($10/mo). That's quite a saving already. I have dreams of resubscribing to Philo one day because it's cheaper than YouTube TV. If I can do $25 a month for Philo and get my local channels over the way, I can save $50 a month and avoid giving Google more money. But that's a distant dream. I pay for YT-TV for my mom and dad, primarily. They're both near 80 years old and have all the health problems that you'd associate with being in your golden years. Specifically, they both have poor eyesight and an aversion to going to get their eyes checked. So Google TV with the little Google TV dongle has actually been a boon because it has allowed them to have access to the TV via voice. Our ISP has stopped supplying cable TV, so the days of just being able to channel up and down on the remote are over for us. It's YT TV or some similar service, and as of now, YT TV is the only one that integrates well with Google Assistant.

Now, there is one solution here, but it would require buying a new TV, which so far has been resisted. I could get a TV with Google TV built in, and that would allow for the TV tuner to be built into the same setup, allowing it to use Google Assistant. I do not know if this is true; there was no reason to continue finding out once I couldn't talk them into replacing their TV yet.

So that 75 bucks a month stays. Really only because they need local channels, and making them switch inputs and then figure out how to change those channels is beyond us at the moment. Philo, the cheap service, doesn't have local channels.

I also pay 22 bucks a month for YouTube Premium. When it was 12 a month, I was okay, but I've since started paying for my parents to use it as well since YouTube has started to kill off ad blockers. It's easier than having to go there each week to try to figure out how to get rid of the ads. I have hopes, however, that I can set up my second Proxmox node and set up something like pi hole or AdGuard on their network. If that works at blocking ads, specifically on YouTube, then I will be able to get rid of the YT Premium subscription as well.

The Kindle Unlimited one is also not long for this world, despite it still being a great deal. I just found out that it's not actually unlimited. They have a limit to the number of books you can have in your library, and that's turned me a bit sour. So I will start to build up my own e-book library and let Kindle Unlimited expire. That will save another $12 a month. I will use something like Kavita or Calibre Web to host my e-books once I get a library going.

Another area that the home lab has helped with is storage. I have, for years, paid $100 a year for pCloud. This is like Dropbox, but a little more Linux friendly. But now I have Nextcloud, and that has allowed me to cancel that subscription as well.

The problem I have is that everything these days requires a subscription. I don't mind if it's a service that I use, and the price is reasonable. But every service is hiking those prices over and over again, and I've just had enough. I will cut out as many as possible and insulate myself as much as I can from price hikes. I have the money to basically do what I want with subscriptions, I'm fortunate enough to own my house, and I have a good job and a side hustle, but money isn't unlimited, and we all must reconcile ourselves with that fact. I think that a lot of us have realized that there's a tipping point where we have to choose what we want to pay for. The answer to that question for me is that I want to pay for very little. I want to self-host everything that I possibly can. If that means buying stuff for the home lab, then so be it. Even if it will take me a year to make it worth it, money-wise.

How about you? Have you found yourself pruning your subscriptions?

Thanks as always, my patrons, for supporting me. I recognize the irony of talking about subscriptions on a site where I ask for... subscriptions.