How to Avoid High App Subscription Fees

Notability made some drama this week by announcing that it will move all users to a subscription-based payment system, including those who have already paid for the app. While the app quickly changed course (likely because they were about to violate Apple’s terms of service), it serves as a reminder that you probably want to buy the apps you’re interested in now while you still can.

Paid Apps for Life

Before, there really were only two options: free apps and paid apps. Sometimes the free apps were 100% free. Other times, free apps gave you a taste of the experience, but you had to pay to get all of the app’s features.

However, once you’ve paid for this app, that’s it. you get free updates forever, taking advantage of all the new features that the developer has introduced into the pipeline. If they decide to raise the price of their app, you’ll still be ready because you’ve already bought it.

But now, many developers are moving to a subscription-based model, which over time will cost you much more than the current one-time prepayment. So if there’s an app you’ve been eyeing for but hesitant to commit, now might be your best and cheapest moment to grab it and get lifelong features for a one-time, fixed price.

Subscriptions will cost you more over time

It seems like everything is a subscription these days. This is no coincidence; more and more services see an advantage in charging users a constant fee, rather than one fixed amount for life. The app may be free to download, but you’ll need to subscribe to access most (if not all) of its features.

Depending on the application, the price may or may not seem reasonable to you. But regardless of the price, you will probably spend more on this app by subscribing to it than by purchasing it straight away. If an app costs $ 10 today, but it costs $ 10 a year when you upgrade to a subscription, you double your spending after two years of use.

I have experienced this phenomenon with CARROT weather . When I bought the app in 2017, it was $ 5. It was expensive considering my iPhone had a free weather app installed by default, but I felt it was worth it because of the graphics, better weather data, and a tricky assistant. There were additional subscriptions to unlock additional features, but I was happy with the basic level purchase.

Fast forward a couple years and CARROT Weather is a free download app that lacks many of the features you got in the paid app. The starting cost of a subscription for new users is $ 5 per month or $ 20 per year. Since I bought a paid app, I have access to all functions forever. $ 5 for all my features versus $ 5 a month is a deal I’m happy I unknowingly made.

This is not a perfect comparison; the basic subscription includes additional features over what I currently have, and I also have access to lower subscription costs because I have paid for the app in the past. But for me this is more the reason why it used to be profitable to pay for the application, since now I have more options than those who sign up for the first time.

To make it clear, I do not knock developers for switching to tariff plans. It makes financial sense, especially in 2021. Hell, even Apple is encouraging developers to switch. I am totally for supporting your favorite applications; there is simply undeniable benefit from purchasing an app whenever possible.

If you need to subscribe, consider doing it annually

However, the benefits of Early Access don’t just apply to paid apps. Similar strategies exist for subscription-only apps. Take 1 second every day, for example. If you signed up for an annual plan when it was $ 29.99, you might still be offered that price, even if the app raised prices by at least 30%.

There is no guarantee that this will work – you can subscribe to the annual rate for the app, but after you re-subscribe, you will get a price increase. But there is a clear benefit to subscribing for such a period; If the app raises prices, you know they won’t take effect until at least your current subscription is renewed. So, if you sign up for a year for $ 30, and the next day the app raises the annual price to $ 45, you don’t need to worry about that until next year. If you subscribed monthly (or even weekly), you will see the price increase much sooner.

In addition, annual subscriptions often offer an overall discount on the price. The app can charge $ 5 per month or $ 45 per year. If you choose the monthly plan, then after 12 months you will spend $ 60, which is $ 15 more than the annual plan. If you know you need an app, save some money by signing up for a year.

The essence? If you think you want the app, check in early. Buy while you can still. However, if it’s already a subscription-only app, you’re better off taking on a longer subscription, especially if this premium plan comes with discounts. Of course, this will not benefit everyone; you don’t want to subscribe to an app for an entire year only to find that you hate it two weeks later. If you’re unsure, an initial monthly subscription might be the safer option. However, once you know you really like the app, commit, commit, commit.


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