We’re on a seesaw with ‘buy it / own it’ at one end, and ‘rent it / use it’ at the other. Private cars and DVDs at one end, and Uber and Netflix at the other.

Life as a service…Blah blah. You know all about it but what does that really mean to SMC customers – and most households? There are three key impacts:

  • The upfront cost – the cost of ‘stuff’ – has fallen. No more CD changers, no more expensive video conferencing kit, no more buying or renting DVDs every weekend. Lower CapEx,
  • You need to pay for what you’re using, as you’re using it. Your Spotify and Sky subscriptions. etc. Higher OpEx
  • You need to make sure the infrastructure is good enough and keeps on working securely and reliably such as broadband and alarm monitoring. Again, Higher OpEx

People – ourselves included – are easily surprised by how much the run cost can be. Let’s look at that for a minute.

Even if we discount utilities, insurance and transport it divides up into quite a few areas:


Broadband, mobile phone plans and Redcare for alarm monitoring


Microsoft Office and Dropbox, iCloud or Google for storage


Sky TV or Virgin Media for broadcast, Spotify, Tidal or Apple for Music, Netflix or Amazon Prime for filmed content, The Economist or Readly for written content and Peleton or Zwift for exercise


Amazon Prime or Tesco Delivery Saver for deliveries, Homeserve or British Gas for maintenance and Nest, Ring Protect or Hive for smart cameras and devices


AV/IT support contract and Security maintenance and monitoring


1. See what you’re already paying for

If you’re a Vodafone customer, for example, you might have (or could get) Sky Sports Mobile for free. If you’ve bought a new Apple device recently you can get Apple TV+ free for a year. Check. Unsubscribe to the stuff you don’t need to pay for and sign in with the voucher or offer code.

2. Check out the ‘bundle’ options

The same thing as above but the other way around – you can get Prime and Netflix on a Sky plan. You can get your broadband, TV and mobile on a single TalkTalk or Virgin Media plan. Have a think when your mobile contract comes up for renewal – that’s a good time because Ofcom has ensured that your carrier (and others) will text you around that time anyway, so it’ll be difficult to forget.

3. Just choose one thing

Don’t put your money on every horse in the race. If you have an Apple Music Family plan (the quality is pretty good) you probably don’t need Spotify too. Or vice versa. This might sound obvious but it is so much easier to turn these things on than it is to turn them off, many of us forget what we’re paying for every month.

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4. Try it first

Most streaming services offer a month’s free trial. Sign-up and diarise ‘unsubscribe’ on a date four weeks hence. Then binge watch the stuff you were desperate to see on it, and see how you go. If you don’t use it, bin it.

4. Pretend you’re leaving

All these companies know exactly how much it costs to get you to sign up. They call it their ‘customer acquisition cost’. They also know, of course, how long your likely to stay and how many of their customers will stay – and what it is worth paying to keep you if you’re thinking of leaving (their ‘retention cost’). They are desperate to keep customers who pay them for anything, every single month – that’s why it is so difficult to do so, and why you chucked from one call centre to another when you try to leave – they put you in their ‘retention queue’. In fact, the regulator is making customers give their existing account holders just as good a deal as new ones, which means they have money to spend. So try it – ring up, pretend to be unhappy, even if you aren’t, suffer the sales pitch from the retention team, and see how much money you can save, or whether they’ll give you something new (Sky Q, for example).

There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

If you would like to hear more about our services and how we can help get in touch, we would love to talk to you.