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By Stuart Soffer

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About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi...  (More)

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Purge the Subscriptions Day

Uploaded: Apr 28, 2014
I just got off the phone with AT&T regarding my father's phone account. A very pleasant and knowledgeable person was on the other end of the line, who could also make decisions! Really, was this AT&T? After resolving the first issue, the conversation turned to my mobile service. Why am I paying so much? (My sentiment as well). After some discussion I agreed to change my plan for more service at 60 bucks less per month. (Yes, I'm waiting for the gotcha.) But that 60 bucks adds up pretty quickly over the course of a year.

The phone company, media content, premium channels, newspapers memberships – oh, do these fees accumulate. The providers of all these monthly, automatically billed extras count on the 'stickiness' of the charges - that the fees are too low to motivate anyone to outright cancel them. And then I start flogging myself for not following through. These charges can really add up, and are impressive on a yearly basis.

So I'm reviewing my contributions to someone else's bottom line. The parameters I see, in random priority are, are:

Does it help with my business?
Do I learn something new?
Is there an alternative?
Is it health related?
Is there common good?

The beneficiaries of this monthly largesse make it difficult to change on-line. It seems you only hear from them when your credit card is about to expire - an event that's the default purge of the charges.

I propose establishing Trim the Charges Day. Uncharacteristically I can't come up with a catchier name; alternative suggestions are welcome. I predict that if there were a national day of charge purging, the providers change their behavior.

Or, get rid of everything and start over - see which ones you really care about for renewal.

Put this day on the calendar.

(Of course, Almanac subscriptions are exempt.)

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