Stack Audit: How to Save Money in Q3-2023

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Are there apps that you've forgotten about, but you're still paying dor? Let's assess out outgoings and see if we can save some money, shall we?

Let’s talk about money!

I know it’s not sexy, I know it’s not hip (or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days), but chances are you might be spending money you don’t need to.

Every quarter, audit your tech stack.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying to cull your stack and remove things that you still use and love!

But I do think it’s helpful to have a bit of a rummage around in our monthly, annual, or bi-annual subscriptions every quarter. Then you can assess what we’re spending money on and what we’re actually using.

I know there are apps around that will check your subscriptions, but they’re only available in specific countries, and most are paid. If those would work better for you, research the ones that are available in your country and have at it! But we’re all about being cost-effective around here, so let’s see what we can do for free.

Now, I will caveat this by saying that if doing this manually is going to take an hour, and your hourly rate is high, then you need to evaluate the cost-effectiveness. If it would make more sense to have a program to do this for you, and you’d be able to earn more in that hour than the program costs, then it’s a no-brainer to pay for an application to save money!

Start with your statements.

Look through your bank and credit card statements for the last 12 months and see if there are any charges on there that you’re paying that you don’t need to pay anymore.

If you have multiple cards or accounts (don’t we all!), make sure you check all of them.

Look at what’s due to be paid in the next 4 months (in case you don’t schedule this for the first week of Q4, see below!) with a critical eye. What do you want, what don’t you remember signing up for, what can be canceled?

Specifically, look at anything that’s due to come out in November. Yes, I know it’s early, but we signed up for great deals for BFCM, and even though they looked amazing last year, we may not even remember we have them, and likely haven’t used them at all in the last six months!

There might be a lot that you signed up for, that you might not remember, so it’s best to check this frequently to make sure that nothing slips through.

You don’t want unexpected bills coming out of money you didn’t budget for, and leave yourself short.

Check your renewal prices, you might save money!

This is especially true with BFCM purchases, where they may be heavily discounted for the first year, but the renewal prices may increase beyond either your means or their usefulness to you.

Personal example: for BFCM 2022, I bought Videvo and Vista Create for half price for a year. I’ve not used either of these apps in 2023, I lie, I used Vista Create for a day back in April for a client mock-up that we ended up not using. I know that I can cancel my accounts for those because I simply haven’t used them.

A word of caution here: When you cancel your renewal, make sure you check to see if you’ll lose access to your account in the meantime. I know that there are a few where I have canceled the renewal that has canceled my access to the app from the time that I removed the renewal, not the time that the current plan ends.

This is a disgusting practice, you’re being penalized for not wanting to renew by removing your access to the app early, essentially meaning you’ve paid for an app you can’t access. If you read that anywhere, make sure to add your renewal cancelation to your calendar or to-do list app so that you remember to cancel it closer to the time, in case you DO decide you want to use it between now and then.

Can you change tiers to save you money?

Make sure to check for different tiers for the products you’re using. In October 2022, I paid for a year of Campsite Pro+ at a heavily discounted rate, but when it renews, it’s going to be $288 for a year.

However, if I drop from Pro+ to Pro, I can drop that to $120 (for 3 profiles, including tax). Yes, there are cheaper link-in bio apps out there, but Campsite is the best for my use case, and it’s one of the only ones that will also grab your Twitch feed. The others, like Willow​, don’t look as good (to me) as Campsite.

Shameless affiliate link for ​Campsite, which should give you $10 credit if you sign up for a Pro account, which starts at $70 (without tax) for a year for one profile. If you want to see what it looks like in practice, here’s mine​, and here’s Dog Daddy Gamer​. These are both managed through a single Campsite account, and they look very different and are both customized to meet the needs of each brand.

There’s nothing wrong with free.

Sometimes we get caught up with having the latest thing, and we completely forget that we’ve signed up for a subscription until it comes out of the bank again, and then we panic because we didn’t budget for it.

But again, if you’ve not used something, do you really need to be paying for it? Of course, there are some apps or programs we don’t use that much but we still want the subscription for, and that’s fine.

Sometimes, there are free (or cheaper) options that do the same thing that it wouldn’t be a big lift to switch to.

Situations change, so does money.

Sometimes we have an app or program because it integrates nicely with something else we use. Occasionally, we cancel one app and forget to cancel the associated ones. That’s ok, now’s your chance to do an audit.

Also, we might have a role that needs a specific software that we only use for that role (that wasn’t provided by them). If we stop fulfilling that role, we might be able to stop paying for that software.

Cancel what you can

An example from my work is that I was the Operations Director for the ​Cancer Survivorship Provider Network for 18 months, and they used Microsoft Office heavily, meaning that I needed to have it. I don’t work for them anymore, so I don’t need to spend £79.99 a year on a subscription. It doesn’t come out of the bank until January, but I want to keep it in mind, if I don’t need to use it between now and then, I know I can cancel it.

There might be any number of reasons that our situation has changed and we don’t need that software anymore, but if you don’t need it, get rid of it! Save yourself some money!

Schedule it on your calendar.

It might be a good idea to have a morning (or afternoon) in the first week of the quarter (or the last week of the quarter) to go through this. I know it’s a long time, but it won’t always take that long, and if it’s going to save your hard-earned cash, it might be well worth your time.

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