10 Tips to Save Money on Subscription Services

Save Money on Subscription ServicesWe recently rounded up several good ways to cut the cord and say goodbye to your cable company forever, and today we thought we’d take a deeper dive by sharing 10 tips to save money on subscription services of all sorts — both the ones you already have and the ones you might be considering cutting.ways to save money on subscription services Readers, we’d love to hear from you — how often do you reassess subscription services? What are your best tips for ways to save money on subscription services? 

First, take stock of the current situation. Take a moment to write down all your current subscriptions, from your gym to Hulu to Hello Fresh — including the ones (like, say, Netflix) that you know you won’t be canceling, and the ones you’ve been meaning to get rid of and keep forgetting about. Check your last month or so of credit card transactions to catch any that you might be forgetting. (Don’t forget to check your Paypal account, and scrutinize charges from regular credit card line items like Amazon and iTunes to make sure you’re not unwittingly subscribing to services.)  Are there yearly subscriptions or paid memberships you’re forgetting about? What is your monthly total for the subscriptions you’ve signed up for, and are there any you’re not even using, or barely using?

If you find yourself unpleasantly surprised (or even shocked) by your list, you can tackle the problem by using these 10 tips to save money on subscription services, now and in the future:

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Coffee Break: Kate Spade Apple Watch Straps

apple watch straps for womenFor those of you with Apple watches, what is your favorite spot to get watch straps for Apple? I was intrigued to see that Kate Spade New York makes some, including this beige and white version for a 38mm watch. (Kate Spade watch straps all seem to be for the 25mm or 38mm version; those of us with the bulkier 42mm are out of luck.) Gigi New York has some nice double-wrap watch straps (also for 38mm), Coach makes some, and of course Apple itself has a ton of watch bands, including some from Hermès. What say you, ladies? The pictured watch strap is $68, at Nordstrom. Apple Watch strap, 38mm

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How to Cut the Cord: The Streaming Services And Devices to Consider

how to cut the cordCutting the cord and freeing yourself from that monthly cable bill is becoming more and more popular — people choose to do it not only to save money, but to avoid dealing with cable companies, who have earned their industry the title of most disliked in the country (along with ISPs). Kat recently decided to cut the cord, and I haven’t had a cable subscription since at least 2007. (My son probably doesn’t even know what cable is.) Still, finding out HOW to cut the cord can be a little nervewracking — so today we’re rounding up which streaming services you should consider, as well as which devices you may need.

At my house, we stream Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and we enjoyed a few months of Showtime … after I signed up through Prime Video and then forgot to cancel the free trial. We also use our huge DVD collection, borrow DVDs from the library (mainly Blu-ray), buy the Blu-ray versions of our favorite movies (I feel old saying those things), and watch various TV clips on YouTube, from Key & Peele to The Graham Norton Show. DVDs aside, there are so many great alternatives to cable that considering all the options can be really confusing. Still, that’s a good problem to have.how to cut the cord - image of a cable remote

Here are details of the main services and devices that can help you cut the cord for good:

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Coffee Break: Things

Things app review As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love Remember the Milk for a lot of my to do list requirements, but I still have my complaints — one is that it doesn’t work with Siri; another is that it doesn’t let you do nested to-do lists (so you can break a project into pieces). A friend was just singing the praises of the iOS app Things, and when she mentioned that it addresses both of my main complaints I thought I’d buy it for myself to check it out. Verdict: it’s a very, very, very smart to do app. You can create nested to-do lists and differentiate projects, but if there are items due today they all show up on one list. You can tag items (I tend to tag things by “low energy,” as in “I can do this while watching tv”; other good tags might be “phone calls” so you can bang out many in one sitting, or, say, area of town, so the next time you’re near the train station you can remember what you need.) It’s a very Apple-friendly app — it’s even dockable on your Apple Watch. You can even share your entire to do list in one fell swoop. My one complaint about the app is that there’s no way to check it on your PC (or in the cloud), but I haven’t played with their brand new URL/handoff features at all.  (The Siri functionality is also a bit clunky, but I suspect that if I spent a bit more time playing with it it would be fine.) The app is $9.99 at the App Store.  Things 3 – Cultured Code GmbH & Co. KG

Readers, which are your favorite to do apps? 

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A Smart Home: Creepy or Cool?

Here’s a question: is a “smart home,” connected and automated via various apps and devices, cool — or does it strike you as creepy? For those of you who have automated/connected your home, what products do you love the best? (I know there will be many who have a “no way no day” attitude here, and that’s ok too — I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!) As someone who tends to have an attitude of “sure it’s kind of creepy but ugggggh I hate turning on lamps manually on and off every single day when they’re an important part of our lighting design scheme,” I’ve started to go down the rabbithole. Things I’ve looked into (all of which work with my beloved Alexa as well as my smart phone, for what it’s worth):

  • Philips Hue – I got my husband a starter kit for last Christmas — getting it set up was VERY easy, and now we have colorful lights that can dim, be set to routines (such as turning on automatically at sunset), and can be turned on or off by voice command to Alexa. (We have SmartThings set up because we also have one connected outlet that my father wired for us — I think it’s a Leviton — and I will say I prefer the routines through SmartThings than through the Hue app.)  The LightStrips are awesome if you want to add undercabinet lighting to your home, particularly if you have a long bank of cabinets or, say, a long console table, china hutch, or shelf that you wish lit up; we also really like the colorful bulbs for the boys‘ room. (You can cut the lighting strips but each one needs to be plugged in to a power source.) I’ve only just begun experimenting with third party apps that, for example, change the lighting in reaction to music you’re playing.

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The Best LinkedIn Settings for Job Hunting

The Best LinkedIn Settings for Job Hunting

2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on the best LinkedIn settings — but you may also want to check out our latest discussion on LinkedIn, including how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile in 2018.

Ladies, do you sometimes feel a little intimidated or confused by LinkedIn privacy settings and LinkedIn etiquette? If you say “open to new job opportunities” or significantly update your profile, is that a red flag to your boss? Is it creepy if people see that you’ve been looking at their profiles? We did a story in 2012 about how to secretly use LinkedIn to change careers, and I thought it would be helpful to everyone if we did an update on LinkedIn settings, whether you’re looking to change careers or just generally job hunting or networking. – Kat 

Whether or not you’re one of those people who complain that LinkedIn is turning into Facebook, it’s important to keep up with the site’s changes and new features and to always know what your privacy settings are. (By the way, if you don’t have two-step verification set up, which became an option in 2013, go do that right now.) Have you noticed the recent changes made to the LinkedIn Settings page? It’s simpler and more streamlined, but you might find it harder to locate certain options you’ve used in the past. Now is a great time to make sure you’ve got the optimal Linkedin settings for privacy — especially if you’re looking for a new job.

Pictured: linkedin, originally uploaded to Flickr by sue seecof.  

Here’s a brief guide to ensuring your job hunting (and networking with an eye to job hunting) activities stay private by picking the right LinkedIn settings:

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