Paying for Pluralsight, and other subscriptions

Pluralsight extended their Black Friday sale by a few days, so I gave in and paid for a year last night. Part of my reason for that is that I noticed that there’s a series on SharePoint 2013 programming with JavaScript by David Mann that looks like it might be useful. (Now I just have to convince myself to watch it.)

I was happy to see that they added the paid subscription to the end of my free period, rather than just start it immediately, so it will last until January 2018. I paid for the subscription with a virtual card number, so it won’t auto-renew, so that will give me a chance to think about whether or not I want to continue with it in 2018.

I’m in the middle of listening to a Mac Power Users episode on managing subscriptions, and there’s a few good ideas in there. For stuff that renews annually, my approach is generally to pay for them with a virtual card number or (where possible) a personal check, so they don’t auto-renew. Then, I have to make a conscious decision to evaluate and renew (or not) each year. I also try to keep track of them in Evernote, and set reminders so I know when they’re coming up for renewal.

I tend to review subscriptions at the end of each year, so I might as well do that now. Looking at a few of the big ones, I see that my Office 365 subscription is good until December 2018, so I don’t have to worry about that one for a long time. But my Evernote subscription is set to renew next month, at the $70 “premium” level. I’m still not happy about their increase from $50 to $70, but I do get quite a lot of use out of Evernote, so I’m pretty sure that I’m going to let that one renew. (Though maybe I should read up some more on their iOS app redesign, before I commit to that.)

And I just checked my NY Times subscription. I originally subscribed at a promotional rate of $10.50 every four weeks, for a year. That was in January, so that promotional rate will be over soon. I don’t mind paying that, but I expect that the renewal will be done at whatever the current “regular” rate is. The Times is kind of sketchy about pricing. My account page doesn’t say at what rate the subscription will renew, so I’m not sure if it’ll still be $10.50, or something else. Looking at their current rates (by going to their site in a private browsing window), I think it would be $15 every 4 weeks. And looking at the cost of subscribing through their iOS app, I think I could get a subscription for $130 per year, which comes out to $10 every 4 weeks. So, to get a good rate, I may need to cancel my existing subscription and resubscribe through iOS.

I could choose to look at supporting the Times as being a little like a charitable donation though. I think we’re going to need a robust, independent, (relatively) unbiased press over the next four years. And the Times seems to have gotten under the president-elect’s skin more than any other media outlet. So they’re worth supporting, for that reason, at very least.

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