A lot of people come to this website looking for tips on how to make a living online. And most of them have either a small amount, or no money to start with.

A common number I hear from new affiliates is $100 a month. That is the amount of money they have to play with. Then, after a quick conversation I find out that they’re paying $99/month for a forum membership and $250/month on spy tools.

Now as you can see – This is a big, big problem.


As a general rule: If you spend more on membership fees than on testing campaigns every month. You’re doing it wrong. (tweet this

Today I’m going to show you how to increase the amount of money you can invest into your campaigns by canceling the services you don’t need and keeping more of the money you already have.

I recently did this

A few weeks ago, I was looking at my bank statement and I noticed several small charges listed one after the other, all listed together in a row. A single $9 charge doesn’t stand out. But when I saw them all together like that – it caught my eye. And it made me wonder…


Why am I paying for these things? Are these subscriptions necessary for my life right now? With this question in mind I did a quick audit to see what I was paying for, which ones of these services I could live without and then just…


What I found was that I could cancel almost every service I was paying for on a recurring basis. And – I could continue to use the services exactly as I was before – I just didn’t have to pay for them. Because they are free. Really.

Here’s The Simple Plan:

  1. Audit all recurring billing subscriptions
  2. Cancel the services that I no longer need
  3. Use free versions of the services I do need

Here’s exactly how I did it and how you can do the same thing.


  1. Search your bank account for all subscription services. There were more of them then I’d imagined. My cellphone bill, rent, internet service, car insurance, Dropbox, Spotify, Sirius Satellite for my car, Evernote, it went on and on. All of these services were automatically withdrawing money from my bank account every single month. There were actually more – but I cancelled all of my premium forum memberships and spy tool accounts a few months ago.
  2. Make a list. I made a list of everything I was paying for and put them into two categories. Necessary and Unnecessary. The necessary column got things like paying rent, phone bill and internet service. The Unnecessary column got like Spotify Premium and Sirius Satellite. Basically all the things I don’t really need. As it turns out – all of my online subscription services ended up in the Unnecessary column. And I don’t mean that each service was unnecessary for my life and work, some of these services I use every day. What I mean is that it was unnecessary for me to be paying for them because they are free.
  3. The Unnecessary Column. These were the four subscription services that I was paying for every month that I didn’t really need.
    1. Dropbox
    2. Spotify
    3. Sirius Satellite Radio
    4. Evernote


I have been paying $9.99 a month for 110 Gigs of space from Dropbox for the past 4 years. I looked at my usage and saw that at max, I was only using 2 gigs, which they give you for free. So – I Unsubscribed.

  • Total Savings: $120/year
  • Want out of Dropbox? Here’s how to Unsubscribe
  • Free alternatives:
    • Dropbox Free account (2 gigs)
      Dropbox offers  2 gigs of space for free. So if you’re like me and use less than 2 gigs you can stick with your Dropbox account without any changes to how you use the service.
    • Google Drive storage (15 gigs free)
    • Copy.com (15 gigs free)
    • Box.com (10 Gigs Free)


I love Spotify. There is just no reason for a user like me to pay for it. I listen to the same 3–4 albums and playlists over and over and rarely ever use any of the hundreds of other services they provide. I recreated the albums and playlists I listen to in iTunes with mp3s and Unsubscribed from Spotify Premium.

  • Total Savings: $120/year
  • Want out of Spotify? Here’s How to Unsubscribe
  • Free alternatives:
    • Spotify Free version. Spotify offers a free service that is ad supported. I now use Spotify only for sharing songs with friends and discovering new music from time to time. I still use Spotify, just in a different way.
    • Rdio
    • Pandora
    • Grooveshark
    • Download or buy mp3s for iTunes

Sirius Satellite Radio

I subscribed to Sirius 2 years ago to listen to Howard Stern in my car. I rarely drive anymore and with services like Uber around I may sell my car soon. So quitting Sirius completely was a no brainer. So I Unsubscribed.

  1. Total Savings: $192/year
  2. Want out of Sirius?
    Getting out of Sirius was hard. You can’t cancel online and have to call a 1800 number. They have a really good customer retention staff there that do their best to talk you out of canceling. It took me about 15 minutes to get it done.

    1. Call 1–866–527–6040
    2. Tell them you want to cancel
    3. They will be very aggressive and try to convince you to stay
    4. Say “No thanks, just cancel it” over and over until they give up


I use Evernote every day. I signed up for their Premium service years ago at $5/month. I looked at my usage for the last several months and was well under the amount of bandwidth that comes with a free account. So I Unsubscribed.

  • Total savings: $60/year
  • Want out of Evernote? Here’s how to Unsubscribe
  • Free alternatives:
    • Evernote free account. Evernote lets you upload up to 60 MB per month for free. So if you’re like me and use less than 60 MB per month you can stick with a free Evernote account without changing the way you use the service at all.

Then I looked at the total savings

After unsubscribing from all of these services I broke out the calculator to do a little math. I wanted to see what the total savings would look like on an annual basis, as well as over an extended amount of time.

Total Savings: $492/year

$492 a year might not sound like a lot. But let’s look at what happens if you take that $492 a year, or $42/month and invested it into an index fund that pays 10% interest, compounded annually over 10 years.

10 Year Balance $8,461.22

Total Principal $5,040.00 | Total Interest $3,421.22

Now, add in a $99/month private forum membership and $250/month for spy tools and do the same math over 10 years.

10 Year Balance $78,769.92

Total Principal $46,920.00 | Total Interest $31,849.92

I think you get the idea.

*Calculated at: http://www.interestcalc.org/

Pro tip

Unsubscribing from some of these services might be hard to do, especially if you have the (incorrect) idea in your head that you can’t start a profitable campaign without all the insider information you’re getting from spy tools and forums.

If this sounds like you – here’s what you can do.

  1. Copy and paste or download any ads or ideas that you think are useful into a folder
  2. Cancel your subscription
  3. Launch your campaigns with the ads and ideas that you saved
  4. If things go well and start making money – you can subscribe again

In conclusion

If you find that your monthly budget for testing campaigns is too low, go through your bills and see what you can cancel. Most of us are paying monthly fees for services we no longer use or that we don’t need to pay for.

You may find that the extra money you need is already there… it’s just slipping through the cracks.

  1. Audit your bank account for recurring bills
  2. Cancel the unnecessary services you find
  3. Use the money you save for better things like investing or for testing campaigns
  4. Remember, the services you’re subscribed to will be there in the future. So even if you Unsubscribe now, you can always join again later when you’re profits are up

So what about you? What are you paying for each month that you can live without? If you cancelled all of them – what would that number look like? Could you put that money to better use like a savings account or invest it into your affiliate marketing campaigns?

I challenge you to take a look at your bank statement this week, do the math, take control of your finances and stop making excuses as to why you can’t spend money on campaigns.

Unsubscribe. You’ll love it.

  • Ben

    One of the best alternatives to dropbox is copy – which is very similar but gives you an additional 15Gb with 5Gb extra for any new referrals.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Ben – Yes! i was looking at copy.com yesterday. I just signed up and credited your link.

      • Ben


        • http://joecinocca.com Zingali

          I’m gonna join Copy and tell my friends In Cali about the Dropbox alternative, which could be huge for us. I’m going to be pimping your link like it’s Balls Of Fury ping pong.

          • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

            I like it, no problems so far. Ping. Pong.

  • Nikola Cvrtnjak

    I was actually unsubscribing myself from various tools the last few days and was thinking about the exact same thing you wrote in this article :). I unsubscribed from Moz, Aweber,virtualpostmail etc. Your post is to the point, with some time it adds up. I should have done it before, even tho the tools/services I used are great.

    Great post as always ;).

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Thanks Nikola and yes those tools are great – and they’ll always be there in the future if you need them again. I think Aweber even saves your lists for you, so they’re there when you come back.

  • Daniel Nguyen

    But we just definitely still be paying and keeping our services for a dedicated server and tracking software, right?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      of course, those are part of the cost of doing business. i’m talking about things you don’t need…

  • Jason Brown

    You can get sat. radio for a 1 time fee.

    I was going to go with a 5 year plan, but they offered me LIFETIME sub for 1 price of $500.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      interesting. didn’t know you could even do that.

      • aaron

        Didn’t know that either… I’ve been paying $84/year for my Sirius for all channels. Sounds like you got the premium rate.

  • Owen

    Awesome tip! Prompted me to go through all my payments and figure out which things I am using and which I am not….not doing SEO anymore = No longer need a best spinner subscription. With that and a few others I reckon I have saved at least $200 a month! bonus!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      nice Owen – $200 / month is like having an extra weekend job

  • Camden Forrey

    On the other hand, think about how much money all of those companies made for all that time you were paying for services that they also offer for free.

    Low end recurring subscription based business model can be extremely profitable.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      right Camden, you just want to be on the right side of that business model 😉

  • Sidhesh

    A nice post to keep a check on your accounts.
    I am 5 days old in this industry and after going through various blogs, i am determined that this is what i was born to do.
    I want to know what should be the minimum investment to start with in this industry if we take into account the cost of domain,servers,tools,software etc before revenues start coming in.
    I would highly appreciate if you could put a light on it. I am based out of India.

    BTW Great Work !! 🙂