Spotify + Hulu

If you’re into streaming your entertainment, Spotify has a new trick up it’s sleeve. Now, instead of paying $9.99/month for access to its’ library of 30 million+ songs, Spotify is also including a free subscription to Hulu (on-demand video/tv streaming service), a savings of $5.99/month. The Hulu subscription will include ads; but, if you are into streaming tv shows/movies and especially if you are already a Spotify subscriber, I say definitely sign up here!

Once you do sign up, be sure to log into your Spotify account and activate your Hulu subscription – this won’t happen automatically. One other note: adding networks like Showtime or HBO is not allowed ☹️. The offer is valid until June 10th, 2019, or while supplies last.

You can also add live tv streaming to your Hulu subscription for $44.99/month…. 🤔👎🏽

Here is a list of tv channels currently available on Hulu:

Spotify and Hulu are available for download on all your (mobile) devices.

RWA Series – Subscriptions

Vector subscription business model concept in flat style – pricing plan for app or website service

A few weeks ago I started an adulting series called RWA (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic). The first post focused on Writing using a technique called Bullet Journaling. Today’s post is the second in that series, focused on Arithmetic and Subscriptions.

Subscriptions are those things you sign up and are automatically billed for each month. You don’t even have to think about renewing the service because the company automatically does it for you (by way of an invoice or more frequently an automatic payment from your bank account or credit card). Items that fit this category are: Spotify (music), Netflix (movies), Audible (books), iCloud Storage and the recently popular subscription boxes (wine clubs, book of the month, beauty products). Just about every company has a Subscription model these days and why not, it’s easy cash for them!

The subscription model is a booming field. In recent years, this market has grown by more than 100% a year, increasing from $57 million in sales in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. This is from a recent article in Stanford Business Journal that also predicts that, “Everything you purchase — from transportation to entertainment to groceries — will soon come with a monthly plan.”

Sure, the costs are nominal; but, this discussion is not about being able to afford the service or not. I’m sure most people reading this could sign up for 10 or more of these monthly services and still be ok financially. I say JustSayNo because once you get sucked in, it’s hard to get out. Gym membership anyone? 🏋🏽‍♀️🏋🏽‍♀️🏋🏽‍♀️

Do you remember that infomercial from back in the day about a popular cooking device that had the popular slogan, “Set it and Forget It.” That’s EXACTLY how I think about subscriptions. Often times we sign up for products/services and either use it VERY SPARINGLY or completely forget about it altogether!

When it comes to expenses, they can of course be need vs want; but, the actual payments themselves can also be PUSH vs PULL. When expenses are PUSHED, you consciously send your money somewhere for something you decide you want. For example, I saw Michelle Obama on the Today Show and decided I would like to read her new book, Becoming. As are result of that conscious decision, I purchased her book. Under this scenario, I have just given my money to someone for a product I chose.  Conversely, when expenses are PULLED you unconsciously send money to someone for something you may or may not want to experience/enjoy or chose. Sure, the monthly charge appears small (i.e. $9.99/month for Spotify); but, the real question is are you using the service and getting value from it or do you keep it around as a nice-to-have or because of a “just-in-case” philosophy.  As in, just in case there’s a new movie, book or album I want to partake in this month…

For needs (rent/mortgage, long term disability insurance, student loans, car insurance), I’m completely ok with the PULL technique – it saves me time and energy on things I know I have to pay anyway; however, when it comes to wants (entertainment, luxuries) I prefer to PUSH at intervals I consciously choose.

Didn’t there used to be a time when people wanted to decide where their money went and for what? Now, we’re ok letting complete strangers decide for us?? 🤔 Are they smarter or more in tune with our actual needs, wants and desires than we are? A popular finance blog, MoneyCrashers lists the cons of popular product-based subscription boxes this way:

  • Overbuying – While a subscription box usually costs less than buying all the items in it separately, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t buy all those items if they didn’t come in your box.
  • Unclear value – You get a different assortment of products every month, and you don’t even know what they’re going to be.
  • Problems With Returns – Sometimes companies won’t return/exchange items you don’t use. Most often people just don’t bother.
  • Difficulty of Quitting – As long as the fee is low enough to make it seem like a good deal, it won’t seem worthwhile to cancel the service.

There is a such thing as a subscription hoarder. According to GQ magazine, people spend more than twice as much on subscriptions as they think they do. The average initial estimate was $79.74 per month. The actual average was a whopping $237.33 per month. When companies uncouple your payment from your enjoyment of their product, it’s easy to forget you ever paid.

I currently have one monthly subscription- Netflix – and that’s because we actually use it. On everything else, I consciously choose to pass. Don’t get me wrong, all subscriptions are not bad; however, the adulting tip of the day in this RWA series is that when it comes to subscriptions, choose wisely!!!

What are you paying for every month?

Brown Sugar

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Brown Sugar: A new subscription-based streaming service of classic movies. Think Netlflix for Black people. There are 111 un-edited movies (and counting) with no commercials! The service launched just this week and a free-month trial awaits you. Brown Sugar is available in the Google Play StoreiTunes App Storewww.BrownSugar.com and costs $3.99 per month.

Brown Sugar is a project from the African-American network Bounce TV. Atlanta-based Bounce TV, a multicast TV network distributed in markets across the U.S., was founded by Martin Luther King III and Georgia politician Andrew Young. #ATL

Check out the promotional video below featuring none other than Rick Ross.

Sign up here.

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The Ultimate Entertainment Package

Today I’m reviewing my ultimate entertainment package – a list of my must have services to keep you going while you wait, when you’re in between tasks or just when you need something to do! There are a lot of things I could have added, one-offs like TED Talks, but this list includes only things I do on a very regularly bases. In no particular order:

InstagramTHE best place to view (pretty) pictures. I mostly follow people who buy/display pretty things: handbags, shoes, jewelry, other accounts that post funny videos and travel-related things. I’m not on it to gain followers or friends. I also don’t care about likes.

TwitterMy goto for trending topics. At any given moment I can see the top 10 things the country/world is talking about. I also regularly use it when I’m watching shows/sporting events to see what other people are saying about the topic.

SpotifyMust have music streaming service. The music industry is becoming more and more fragmented everyday. From Beyonce (Tidal) to Drake (Apple Music), Chance the Rapper (Apple Music), Kanye (Tidal) and others – artists are striking deals that make their music available solely on one music service and not the others. But be patient grasshoppers, eventually their music will be available on your preferred music streaming service (usually ~2 weeks later) and you’ll be able to freely partake without spending more $. Until then, there’s always YouTube and VEVO. BTW: Mondays are for DiscoverWeekly and always Spotify while you shower.

Netflix – THE best movie streaming service. House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and MANY more. There’s not much more to say other than it’s awesome. (I also have access to Amazon Prime Video; but that’s only an added bonus of my Prime membership).

Overcast – This one is fairly new for me; but, I’m loving it! It’s the very best way to listen to podcasts on your iPhone. So far I’m into: The Read, Keepin it 1600 and Watching Thrones. I’m sure I’ll add others over time. Listen while you cook, clean, work or commute!

HBO – I love HBO. OMG, I can’t tell you how many great shows, (original) series and documentaries they have. Game of Thrones, Real Time with Bill Mahr, Silicon Valley, …. I could go on and on! In the past few days I’ve even been thinking about buying some stock. 🤑

Feedly – I’ve told you about this one before. It’s basically a news aggregator of things I like to read. Instead of having multiple sites (Lifehacker, The Every Girl, Mashable, etc.) flood your inbox with emails everyday, you can subscribe to their articles/posts and read them using the Feedly app – on/at your own time. Feedly creates of a pull situation – I have to physically go retrieve items when I want to read them – vs. a push situation where you are automatically notified/sent updates. Now, I do like the push approach for music i.e. when artists I follow release a new album, just not for news.

I know some of you may be thinking Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook are missing but honestly I’m just not into those that much. I do use them, just not on a regular basis. Also chat services like GroupMe and What’s App are not on my list. Yes, I have accounts with those an the apps are on my phone; but, I honestly don’t use them that much and I’m NOT a fan of group texts. I also sometimes will check Pinterest and We Heart It but those have also worn off over time… do what works for you!

So, here’s the thing: all of the services on my list are super convenient, easy to access and very affordable. Feedly, Overcast, Instagram and Twitter are free and you can get Spotify, Netflix and HBO for about $10-$15/month each$35/month gets you all in. I’d never have cable if my husband didn’t pay for it. Actually the extent of my relationship with Comcast would be internet service (that is, until Google Fiber comes to town). Happy Entertaining!!!

My Home Screen = Most Important Screen

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Marriot hearts Netflix

watchI love when two companies I love join forces! I think there should be much more of this!!! Recently we saw Starbucks and Spotify combine forces to partner on a music streaming service. Now, Marriott and Netflix are teaming up! And you KNOW how I feel about Marriott!!!

Marriott Hotels Becomes First To Offer Netflix On Guest Room Televisions: The partnership allows members to sign in to their existing accounts to stream content on their hotel room’s internet-connected TV or if guests do not have a Netflix account, they can sign up on the spot! (Remember Netflix offers a free 30-day trial). The service is available now at 6 hotels (New York Marriott East Side, San Jose Marriott, Princeton Marriott, Newport Marriott, Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Solana, Bethesda Marriott Suites), with six launching this summer (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Dayton Marriott, San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Anaheim Marriott). The press release also makes reference to the Netflix being available at 24-other properties (no mention of locations) with more on the way. By 2016 all of Marriott’s 300+ properties will offer Netflix.

I have loved to have this while I was traveling across Europe!!! Let’s hope they introduce this internationally! Marriott Netflix