Maximize Your Budget for Apps and SaaS Tools

These days there are so many amazing software like Apps and SaaS tools. We can use them to make our businesses easier and our lives richer and more fulfilled.

  • Some of these tools are “free” – although we pay for them via viewing advertsing. Or the company offering the app is collecting your information and benefitting from it.
  • There are other tools that a subscription based. The monthly fee may not be high but it does add up. I tend to be careful about what I subscribe to. It is not only a money question but also a question of how much time I have. Aterall, why pay for a tool I am not using?

Finding the Right Balance: Get It, Keep It, Ditch It?

I’ve been thinking about what the right balance is here.

  • I don’t want to overload myself with tools I don’t use. It is easy enough to spend more per month than one realizes. And when one takes the 12-month deal it is even easier to forget that one even has this subscription.
  • But, it would also be a shame to miss out on the benefits of some of these tools.

How to get the right balance?
There are many subscription business tools that are indispensable to many business owners. For example, I use

  • Google Suite,
  • Zoom video conferencing,
  • Hubspot (CRM and email)
  • Canva for creating graphics
  • for recording meetings or training sessions. The app machine-transcribes those notes.
  • Notions, the all-in-one workspace that has transformed my life and how I do business.
  • Loom for recording training videos and hosting them. The app also offers automatic machine-transcribed transcripts.
  • Grammarly to make sure I don’t send emails or publish articles with spelling or grammatical errors.

These tools are integral to my daily work.

The above-mentioned companies and many more (Microsoft, Adobe, Quickbooks, and thousands more) have realized the benefits of offering their software as a service (SAAS). These companies are making so much more money now than they were when users bought the software outright. Users waited with upgrading to the latest version until they were ready for it.

What Does the Shift to Subscription Model Mean To The Users?

Watch what you spend and what you are getting for it!

A good way to manage your subscriptions is

  • Write down what you have now
  • Evaluate what you actually need, want and USE
  • If want too many subscriptions set them side-by-side to decide which one/s to pick
  • Set a budget which helps contain the cost and causes one to think “Would I rather have tool x or tool y?

I have discontinued some tools because I wasn’t using them enough, at least for now. Do I really need LinkedIn premium or a paid Survey Monkey account? At the moment, no.

There are tools and services that are useful and fun for both personal and business use. Duolingo, for example, is great for learning new languages. You can even do it for free – or pay about $5/month for extra features.

Apps Related To Reading and Listening

One area I’m quite passionate about is reading.

  • Reading is such a powerful to learn more.
  • Also, through our Rotary Club’s Literary Society I’m reading more fiction now, too. My fellow Rotarians inspired me to get a subscription to Audible. That way I can listen to a book when I’m on the go, walking our dog or driving somewhere.

I’ve been working on buying fewer books as a paper copy. That is because there is only so much bookshelf space. But I still love holding an actual book in my hands. It doesn’t need power and works anywhere. I can underline important passages and write thoughts into the margins. That matters to me for non-fiction books.

The Kindle reader on my computer offers better options for highlighting text than my old black-and-white Kindle reader. But still – it is hard to beat the freedom of having a hardcopy. Then again, with hard copies, you can’t export your handwritten notes or search the whole book for a word or term.

Audible works pretty well for me when it comes to fiction. But there are non-fiction books where I really want to see what I’m reading. More than once have I bought a book on Audible and then bought it again as either Kindle or paperback/hardcopy.

This leads up to an idea I had a few days ago. I decided to try out two services that are new to me:

  • Speechify. It converts any text into speech.
    • Cost: currently $139 per year. You get a 3-day free trial.
    • You can listen to text in a lot of places, from documents, pdfs, email and so forth.
    • I did a bit of research to find out whethter I could listen to Kindle books in Speechify. The answer is yes, although you have to copy a passage or chapter from a Kindle book into Speechify for it to work (there is another way that might be even more cumbersome).
      • Therefore, theoretically, I could get Speechify, cancel Audible and buy one or two Kindle books per month with the money I saved on Audible.
      • Then I could listen to the Kindle book via Speechify if I want to listen, or read it on my Kindle app if I want the visual experience. We’ll see!
      • One perk is that you can choose among different voices and you can pick a comfortable/ productive reading speed.
  • Blinkist. It lets you read or listen to book summaries. I suspect that for some book I read or listen to there I will buy the full version. But the app will allow me to read more books more quickly.

If the experiment works put well, I will continue. If not, I’ll ax it. I will let you know.

I’m Curious

  • How do you manage your app/ SaaS subscriptions?
  • Which apps are you passionate about?


  1. Robert Donnell on at

    Smart review! I suspect we all have “vampire expenses” they are small and we forget about them. Then they bleed us monthly.

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Thank you! I like that expression “Vampir Expenses”! Good one! – Today I signed up for the Blinkist trial.

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