Too Many Subscriptions
August 16, 2022
6 minute read
I’ve been reducing my subscriptions recently. Here’s what it looked like when I started:
|Name||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost|
Ironically, it was YNAB which put a spotlight on how many subscriptions I had. Recently I had to go through and manually add all my subscriptions as recurring transactions and fix duplicates, since automatic transaction import has been in various stages of broken the entire time I’ve used YNAB. Its cost doesn’t justify its features, and since transaction import is so unreliable, I often end up manually importing transactions anyway—which I can do with other apps, or go back to good old spreadsheets.
Fastmail is great, and I highly recommend them over everything else. However, the Apple One subscription I share with Lauren makes Fastmail a little redundant, so I’m giving iCloud+ Mail a shot. It supports custom domains now—you can have up to 5, with 3 addresses per domain. I had to consolidate 12 addresses down to 3, but that needed to be done anyway. Setup supports CloudFlare for easy DNS record additions, though the
CNAME record for the root of my domain was wiped. Glad I noticed, and no big deal, since my website lives on
www and the root is just a redirect.
So far, I like the Hide My Email integration1 with Safari and Mail, and things are working well. Hide My Email can’t use a custom domain, though I never set that up with Fastmail’s equivalent, Masked Email. Plus-addressing2 works, but iCloud Mail doesn’t automatically route plus addresses to their respective folders like Fastmail does, so I had to set up some rules. While I rarely used it, Fastmail’s web interface is more responsive. Maybe that’s the reason behind the name.
Also, iCloud+ has a $0.99/m option that supports custom domains and comes with 50GB of storage, which I think is super competitive if you own Apple stuff and don’t want Apple One.
1Password is by far my favorite password manager, so this subscription might be tough to justify cancelling. I could switch back to Bitwarden, since it’s free, but I decided to experiment with iCloud Keychain first. Importing a CSV from 1Password was easy, you can do it from the Passwords pane in System Preferences. It will tell you which items were skipped, which included some items with no URL and items with no username. Saving passwords from apps on iOS works though, so the no-URL issue was confusing. Maybe iCloud Keychain started as a Safari feature.
There’s a few other missing features: You cannot update the URL for items, and saving a new one when prompted after manually filling a login does not copy over the two-factor details. There’s no easy way to save software licenses or backup codes, and there’s nothing like 1Password’s Universal Autofill. Also, you’re limited to Safari3 on macOS as far as browsers go, but when I thought about it, I don’t use anything else, besides for testing (and 2022’s attempt at using Firefox for a week). Everything else about iCloud Keychain works well, and I didn’t have to set anything up on my iPhone.
Kagi was a recent addition, as I’m fed up with results from most search engines lately, but I can’t justify the cost. Being able to customize the ranking of individual domains is cool, and the results it gives me are usually very good, so I’ll miss it. I’ll probably go back to DuckDuckGo with the uBlacklist extension.
Setapp was one I forgot about, and after building a table of the apps I use and their cost to purchase individually, I decided to let it go. They provide an API for app developers to put popups on your desktop, asking you to subscribe to newsletters with your Setapp account email, which made me remember I had a Setapp subscription in the first place. It’s been a while since I looked for an app on Setapp.
Here’s the table:
|App||Purchase cost||Subscription cost||Buy?|
|SSH Config Editor||$9.99||Yes|
|Total||$308.90 once||$203.93 per year|
|Total would buy:||$57.97 once|
Copying and pasting a selection of apps from Finder to Numbers works great.
Most of these I was using just because they were included with Setapp, so I wasn’t invested in them. When I ran down the list, only three stood out as apps I’d like to buy outright, and subscription-only apps were an automatic no.
CleanShot X is one that I thought about keeping, but macOS’s screenshot tool has improved to the point where I think it’s good enough. Expressions is a great regex editor with helpful explanations of each operator. I rarely edit SSH configs, but SSH Config Editor is super helpful when I do. And Typeface is the best macOS font manager app.
I was surprised find that the total cost of the apps I would buy was less than $60, one-time, which made it even more apparent that it was time to dump Setapp.
I had a Realm (server) that I haven’t logged into for months. I was trying to get Lauren into it, but after one too many creeper ambushes, the allure of The Sims and Animal Crossing became too strong. I like that you can join the same server while playing on a PC, phone, or Xbox, and my negative opinion on Java came from playing and modding Minecraft, so I’m glad they completely rewrote it. Even if you can’t install mods. I think the game is in a great state right now, but I’m bored of it again. Unless I’m at a restaurant by myself, I don’t need a server for a party of one.
The Backblaze subscription might be extra redundant, since I’m rarely away from home, but I like the idea of not solely depending on Time Machine and my NAS. I’m on the fence about canceling this one. iCloud isn’t a solution because it’s a file sharing service with no version history.
In addition to the Backblaze subscription, I also pay for Backblaze B2, which varies month-to-month, usually less than $10. B2 is where my NAS backups go, which includes Time Machine backups and large files I don’t want to keep on my Mac.
I share this subscription with Lauren, and right now we’re getting a lot of value out of it. 2TB of iCloud space for cat videos, Music, and TV+ make it worth it, even if the macOS Music app is a tragedy. I tried to price out paring it down for the storage and services we use, swapping out Music for competitors, but it’s still close to what I already pay.
If I don’t go back to 1Password, this is what my active subscriptions table looks like now:
|Name||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost|
I’m saving $40.52 a month, or $486.19 a year! Let’s hope the potential time costs are worth it.
1Password supports this too with Fastmail’s Masked Email, but field detection is not as reliable, and you can’t generate addresses from the 1Password app. ↩︎
Orion works too, but you need to copy Safari passwords over. And I still don’t think Orion is ready for daily use. ↩︎