Online services I decided to start paying money for
Published Date

Introduction - on my consumption behaviour

In general, I have to say that I am not a big fan of untracked consumption expenses, which is one reason why I don't own a car which is beautifully calculated luxury item yet completely redundant in the city.
I'm certainly not a "cheapskate" but autonomy is very meaningful to me in life and so I do like to keep an eye on my expenses.

I need full cost control

Autonomy is a key reason why I like trading physical goods on classified / second hand platforms: I have always enjoyed swapping or buying second-hand goods in order to try them out, keep them for a while and sell them on later. You become smarter over time, start to find good prices and detect seasonalities in products and score better and better deals.
Unfortunately, that's not so easy with digital products. Digital products most often either accompany us on a daily basis and thus are visible to us, we value them and in the same thought justify their price - or they are rather irregularly used, yet still billed every month.
Those more "intangible" - products whose value is not directly visible are the ones, that are dangerous for us consumers and want me as economically conscious person to have more transparency.

Investing more in digital services

But here, too, my relationship has changed somewhat. I have noticed that there are now digital products that also bring a real benefit in return and do not take up several hours a day like expensive console games, for example, only to gather dust on the shelf and lose value.
So I started to consciously put more money into digital services, convinced that if I invested money, I would also use the services - which initially proved to be true.

A fallacy?

It turns out that it's probably not just extrinsic motivations that drive me here.
Take Duolingo, for example: before the pandemic, I was on fire to learn Spanish and Russian because I regularly travelled to countries speaking these languages. With the lockdown and more time at home, I would theoretically have had more time to concentrate on language learning - but no: for months I lacked the motivation to continue here. What was the reason? Apart from the loss of travel options, Duolingo was a typical activity for me during my lunch break or commute to work. Both have fallen away - and so this habit, my 2-month streak, suddenly broke away. I was all the more shocked when I was suddenly charged 80 euros for the annual subscription. Had it really been 1 year already? That's a lot of money that just disappeared into thin air.
Where is the cost control for the services I use?

A subscription service for your online subscriptions

It turned out: I was not alone with the problem. There are even services that can be linked to the bank account to automatically detect subscription services.
According to testimonials of those often US-market tailored services, customers are already saving hundreds of dollars a month.
But it wasn't that bad for me. So I decided to create a very simple Excel sheet for more cost control:

Subscription services, that really add value to my life




Blinkist - Audio books, summarized - but not really summarized

As a student I used to read book summaries - but they were just very bland and straight forward summaries, sometimes chapter by chapter. Not so, Blinkist: here you get the true gist, the key takeaways of nonfiction books. Pretty awesome I consider their support for "Push to Kindle" - it's a simple yet effective measure. Personally I would not try reading books on the mobile phone, as it soon might get me distracted. It is a risk that I want to avoid, which is why I consequently read on the Kindle device itself. Allowing the books to be synced with Kindle with one click really got me to reading books again





  • Great flow from lesson to lesson
  • Really makes you think and create (compared to