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Ask HN: What are the three most expensive tools/services that you use?
81 points by matteomosca 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 111 comments
I'll start: Co-working $300/month Bubble.io $150/month (6 apps in production) Descript.com $30/month

How about you?

We live and cruise on a 12m sailboat.

Annually (last year): Boat maintenance/upgrades €2547, Food €2333, Marina fees (mostly in winter) €1335, Fuel €900, Cruising fees €664, Shorepower €350, Entertainment €240, theoldreader.com subscription €17.

Details vary a lot depending on where we are every year and what exactly breaks on the boat or gets upgraded. That year we anchored in Greece for the summer and spent winter in a Sicilian marina with a good discount.

Starlink is made for ye!

Actually not at all, you have to be stationary for Starlink

Due to temporary limitations as the constellation is still incomplete. Otherwise, it will be perfect for boats.

They'll also have to fix power consumption. Now the antenna uses 3-4X the daily power consumption of _everything_ on my cruising boat.

I don’t think power consumption on Dishy is coming down considering it’s throwing bits to low earth orbits constantly with microwaves.

I have enough solar and batteries on my boat to continually power the ground station, but if I didn’t I’d operate it only when actively using the Internet.

God I'd love to live on a boat and code remotely.

I watched the sv delos video and was like... how do I make this my life?


Also how I started! I highly recommend Sailing Zatara and Gone with the Wynns as well.

There are a lot of people who live aboard a boat but don't travel too far, or only move a few times a year.

most expensive: a tool used for regulating exposure to local environmental weather conditions & providing access to fresh water, multiple energy sources (usage billed separately), waste disposal, storage, some degree of sound isolation, privacy and physical security. very handy. costs around AUD 10k annual subscription. don't leave home without one!

I assume that's a house? Technically you can't "leave home" if you don't have one so it does work out.

The government, I suppose


Child care is thousands of dollars a month, everything else pales in comparison....

thank god it lasts only a few years, then it's disguised as 'real estate tax' (for public schools)

It’s not disguised. People who care about their schools openly look for high quality schools and know what it costs.

You are free of course to watch your own children yourself. It is after all, your responsibility.

1: required health insurance: €120/month but I get 100 euro from the government so €20/month 2: a server at DigitalOcean: €5/month and domain names at TransIP €3.65/month 3: prepaid phone bill (€10 to €15)/year

In general I just don't like subscriptions. I prefer to pay only for things I use.

I got my phone bill to almost zero/year by using what's app calls.

My employer provides a MSDN subscription and a seemingly complete set of Jetbrains products.

We're a very cloud-skeptic company making chips and associated software, so the rest of our stuff - Jira, Artifactory, Gerrit, Confluence etc - is all on-prem.

Obsidian publish and sync ($144/year), IntelliJ pack (£119/year), Dropbox (~£80/year)

Possibly another (£200/year) in misc stuff (sr.ht, newsblur, bitwarden, todoist, fastmail, etc)

EDIT: I'm only including "work-related" expenses and not things that are pretty common, ISP, utilities, etc. It is debatable if I should include pet insurance, since I WFH and my cats are essential for my work environment :)

Servers at DigitalOcean $2500 per month. Paypal: Our last transfer to our bank account cost $1000 because PayPal takes a currency conversion fee of 3% from USD to SEK (that's in addition to the transaction fee) Intercom.io: ~$200 for the support package. Using the messaging automation would be ~$3000 per month...

Have you considered Wise. You get a “US” account that you could route (or wire money) into from PayPal. Wise only charges 40-50bps to convert to SEK.

We have Wise and used this as a workaround like you described. However, Paypal recently ”fixed” this loophole by charging 3% on USD to USD transfers. It’s insane.

+1, I've saved thousands by using Wise.

Are you still doing this? For us Paypal added a 3% transfer fee on USD to USD transfers. We’d really like to get this fixed, it’s killing us.

Take a look at Wise.com for currency

We have Wise and used this as a workaround like you described. However, Paypal recently ”fixed” this loophole by charging 3% on USD to USD transfers. It’s insane. Have you found a way around this?

Do you need Paypal? Wise offer bank accounts in different currencies.

No and yes. We have a couple of thousand subscription customers using Paypal, which is a pain to switch. It's forcing us to look into other payment providers (like Stripe, which so far, doesn't appear to be evil like Paypal)

Apart from living, my digital expenses are:

1.) DigitalOcean Droplet with backup, 15CHF/month (hosts my cloud, several small containers)

2.) IDE (Intellij), 14 CHF/month

2.) Mindmapping tool (miro.com), 14CHF/month

3.) Webhosting (cyon.ch), 12CHF/month

4.) Budgeting (ynab.com), 6CHF/month

5.) Backup Storage (wasabi.com), 5 CHF/month

Do you mind asking me what kind of cloud you are storing?

I've tried deploying a Nextcloud instance via Docker-Compose to a Free Tier EC2 on AWS and found the CPU to spike randomly to 100% and require a machine restart to free up.

I'm a noob at docker, so it might be a configuration issue on my part, but it's pretty bare and I can't figure out if it's a docker thing or a machine performance thing.

If it's a machine performance thing, I'd be willing to pay to scale up, but I was wondering if I could have your thoughts on this. Thank you.

I am running a pretty vanilla setup using a docker compose file for each deployment:

- traefik as reverse proxy and for https termination

- nextcloud (the apache based container)

- statping

- matomo

- small things if needed

This runs on a 10$/month basic droplet + backup

I have a flatrate pass for most of the German public transit [1]. The sticker price is 4000 € a year, but my employer pays for it (in lieu of a company car), so I only have to pay income taxes on it, which comes out to about 170 € a month for me. For that price, I can get on any train whenever I want any time I want (except for overnight trains where a reservation is required), and I also get free local transit in over 100 cities, including the one where I live.

Now, since my commute is rather short, I would certainly be cheaper off if I just had a subscription pass for my city's local transit and bought train tickets as needed, but it's such a vast quality-of-life improvement to be able to, for instance, decide on Friday to visit my parents for the weekend without any extra hidden costs.

(Caveat: All of this does not apply right now since I'm not entering any vehicles with other people until my vaccination has taken effect. But I'm still renewing my subscription because I already know the date when that happens.)

I know that that's only one thing, but the other similar-sized line items in my ledger are much more mundane (rent, utilities, insurance, and such).

[1] https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/bahncard/bahncard_100-co...

$8500+ a month for Google Map API, we opted for developing our own local places database now

We have a similar problem.

Care to explain how you replaced Google?

Yeah I'd be curious what both your and parent's use cases are that could possibly be covered by other smaller, existing maps services, or if there is some market that remains underserved.

Basically we want to show a bunch of pois around a real estate (like the nearest super market, airport and so on).

We build a service calculating those but have trouble getting the data.

It is more of a nice gimmick for us. Since the pricing changes using Google maps apis is just prohibitively expensive.

There are other companies providing the data but those too are somewhat costly.

Maybe we should use open street map as a data source.

Yeah osm definitely has some of that data. Email is in my bio if you want to chat more.

fuck that's insane

My problem is I accumulate services over time, so I end up with services that are like a gym membership that’s used a few times then forgotten about. Then I notice on my credit card.

I’d say watch those credit card statements and your password manager for things you don’t need or, at least p, don’t need right now. It adds up to do such an inventory periodically.

A rule I have to prevent that is to always terminate a service before getting a new one.

Smart idea. That’s like a hoarder making a rule to get rid of something before getting something else.

Most expensive tool? My day job…

It’s really a tool for me to build wealth. I’m in golden handcuffs until I feel like I have full financial independence.

It’s expensive because it comes at the cost of my mental health, which in turn affects every other part of my life.

Just curious, what is your plan after you reach financial independence?

3. VPS at bahnhof.se 2. IntelliJ Ultimate 1. Cocaine

I am a generator repairer. The Most Expensive kit/tool I have bought so far is "Professional Locksmith Tools for Anti-theft Lock , HUK The Tenth Generation Repair Pick Tool" From Ali express : https://www.aliexpress.com/

But I am Providing Service of repairing generators in very cheap rate. Here : https://techntune.com/services/

I just finished filing my taxes in the USA. Let me tell you, the US government is my biggest annual subscription by cost.

Joking aside:

Jetbrains all product pack - $149/yr

Half decent home internet - $65/mo

Cell phone bill (with my wife's parents) - $140/mo

Zero! Monthly subscriptions are waste of money, and whole SaaS is IMHO wrong step in human evolution. I prefer to have my stuff for free or own stuff.

My free stack:

- Comms: Free "work" phone with unlimited everything, and free unlimited LTE/5G "work" modem.

- Music: Free Tidal from work + my own ripped MP3s.

- Software hacking: free virtual machines running at Oracle Cloud(and some services at IBM cloud).

- IDE: IntelliJ Community Edition and NetBeans 12

Only real monthly "subscription" is:

- 15$ monthly "membership fee" for my political party.

Getting something free from work technically counts; at the same time I guess you’re earning less or missing out on other perks (other jobs might offer different perks or higher salary); the SAAS company still gets paid by your employer, so you might be still indirectly supporting them.

Out of all the things you mentioned, a political party membership is the only one I wouldn't pay for. May I ask what value you get out of being a paid member?

>what value you get out of being a paid member?

- More money from fees = better political campaigns = more voters = larger representation in Parliament/Congress = ability to change the Law(country, county or City wide). This is very rewarding - and much better than just moaning about politicians!

- Large "instant" social network of people who shares the same values as you do! (We have a lot of internal messaging tools and forums.)

- There is a lot of members who are lawyers, doctors, accountants, barbers etc. - so its easy to get some occasional help for free or with discount.

- You can literally change the world. For example you start some loose discussion on Discord or Slack let's say about homeless people: and half year later, after various meetings and internal votes our senators/MPs can actually make such proposal to Parliment/Congress. It is VERY rewarding.

- A lot of introverts inside of party, as it attracts mostly high IQ people, so it is possible to find company to play chess, computers games, board games or real life sports etc.

- You can actually TALK to politicians that you see in TV. Or have beer with them.

- You can argue, or give your own ideas about something - at it WILL be taken in account(internal voting even at lowest levels).

- You can say: "At least I tried to DO something!"

I take it back. That sounds worth it.

May I ask what the country is? I am guessing that is somewhere in Northern Europe.

Central/Northern Europe. One of post soviet states with deep distrust towards political parties...

The "free stack" you are using is partly only free because someone else is paying for it (your employer/IBM...) - so they actually are subscriptions in my eyes. (slightly off topic: Germany tax authorities would see it similarly: The benefits you get from work could be called "monetary benefits" in Germany and the value added to your income for taxing purposes.)

Gigabit home internet with static IP is probably my main “luxury” tech spend at 60ish pm.

That plus ~1k once off home server stuff to go with said static IP. Again not strictly speaking necessary so also a luxury item.

And 50pm is sundry vps and domains etc

Edit. Plus Office365 to provide a TB backup storage and office apps for all fam. About 5 bucks pm which is crazy cheap for 6TB high quality storage

If we’re talkiing regular monthly expenses:

- Health Insurance for family of four: €118 - Accountant: €99 - Apple One Subscription: €19.95

> Health Insurance for family of four: €118

That is a bit cheaper than my $2,400/mo for a family of 3 (of which my employer pays 50%).

I miss the UK health system.

In fairness, it is the additional private health insurance on top of the French government’s public care. It’s not the most expensive option but we rarely pay out of pocket for anything medical (the odd non-compulsory baby vaccine, for example, might sting us 80 euros or so). Of course, a part of my business and personal tax goes to support the public side of the healthcare, but nothing like $2400 per month.

Wow, that's pretty good value. in Germany it's a lot higher unfortunately. I'm on the public health insurance which costs around €800 p.m - my company pays half.

Is that income based?

Yes monthly subscriptions.

Ah yeah, I pay €120/month for my accountant too. I should have add that in the list as well

Sounds like he means related to productivity or software development

Looking for a market to disrupt :-)

Converted to USD, approx:

1. Health insurance 440 USD/mo

2. 280 USD/mo for the membership at barbelllogic online coaching

3. root server 70 USD/mo

What is this root server you speak of?

Probably means a dedicated server not a VPS. Sometimes they’re called root servers cause you have root on the metal. 70 sounds about right for that

Yes you are right :)

Hello there fellow BLOC-family member :)

I am assuming this this doesn't count major expenses like housing, insurrances, childcare, regular bills etc. After the stuff that everyone pays for, my top monthly expenses are:

1. Kids Ninja Warrior style gym: $109 2. Dog's Health insurance: $50 3. Home security company: $18

WeWork private office with parking: $550/mo

Cellular family plan: $200/mo

Gigabit Internet at home: $100/mo

Car: fully paid, but still 1500 €/year for insurance, 500 €/year in taxes and ~2500 €/year for gas. But I love it, it's a necessity to go to work, but also a pleasure to drive.

Electricity: 85 €/month

Internet access: 27.5 €/month

You must live in Scandinavia?!?!

1500 / year in insurance! 500 / year in taxes! Wow ...

I pay $12 / month in car insurance, and $130 / year for registration (taxes).

This doesn't sound egregious to me.

I'm 27 and to insure a hypothetical 2019 Honda Civic it would cost me $280/mo in NYC.

It was ~$110 to get my license so presumably registration would be similarly very high. It was closer to ~$30 in New Jersey.

I guess this makes sense. I have a relative in Boston who pays $900 / month for a PARKING SPOT.

Newer cars have higher insurance as well. I don't see how car insurance can cost only $12/mo. What does that cover?

Legal minimums :D

My truck is 20 years, though.

Levelized cost per mile over 15 years of ownership, my 2005 Volvo XC90 cost $1/mi.

Accelerator time - $500-$1k/hour

Sis3316 digitizers - $10k each

Helium 3 - $2k/liter at ambient pressure

I assume this is for work? What kind of accelerator you use? Could you describe what for?

The $500/hr figure is for a 1965 vintage electrostatic "tandem" accelerator with a 10MV max terminal voltage. We mostly make beams of protons, deuterons, and helium. A common use case is making tightly pulsed deuteron beam, and then hitting a gas target filled with deuterium to make neutrons. The outgoing neutrons will also be pulsed and have a well defined energy spectrum, which makes them great for doing experiments with neutrons. At these energies they are non-relativistic, so you can measure their energy through time-of-flight.

The more expensive facility is for making beams of gamma rays. It uses a free electron laser built into a ~1GeV electron storage ring to make ultraviolet laser light in a building-length laser cavity. The laser light then collides directly with an electron bunch and is scattered up to gamma ray energy. It then passes through the laser cavity mirror and on to the target rooms. This is a unique kind of facility because it produces gamma beams with high resolution. It's complimentary to bremstralung gamma beams (often made by shooting electrons directly into a piece of diamond to make them wiggle).

We typically use the gamma rays to study photonuclear reactions. Having an electromagnetic probe instead of another hadron hitting your target allows for alot of simplifications on the theory end and helps theorists to generate testable predictions with less uncertainties attached. It also probes slightly different physics.

That is so very cool.

( assumed it's work-related stuff )

  - JetBrains All Products Pack USD 149.25/yr
  - server4you.com unmetered VPS USD 32.00/mo
  - 100Mbps broadband internet ( Brazil ) USD 49.00/mo

If you mean from the tech industry, I probably spend too much on collecting hobby domains and then park most of them. I probably spend too much on VPS and server rental providers.

$24 in twitch subscriptions, $10 for a vps, $7 for amazon prime. Rough conversions from euros.

I dislike subscriptions, most purchases are one off. i didn't count mandatory things like internet access.

Coffee $120/year

Filters $5/year

I assume you're a tea drinker then :-)

Beans I buy are pretty strong

Just out of curiosity, which beans?

1 coffee every 3 days means 5 teas every days to get things done :D

1. Linode VPS 12.5$/month

2. domains around 100$ year

3. Backblaze personal backup 60$ year.

Working on 2011 Mac Mini in Macvim, cheap and works perfectly fine.

I mentioned fun part, and will skip mentioning health insurance, car etc.

1. AWS 5000/mo 2. Datadog 1500/mo 3. Papertrail 800/mo

Datadog is expensive and slow to improve - but there wern't any much-better alternatives when we deployed.


$100 / month (Coworking space, I live in a third world country) $49 / month of ConvertKit (Newsletter sending) $50 / month (DigitalOcean)

1. Amazon Ec2 $60/year

2. Domain names $50/year

3. Lenovo yoga c920 $400/year

Tech wise not a lot

- $5 droplet in DO hosting multiple apps

- $12 yearly domain name

- ~$200 A few one off tool purchases this year

Luxury wise

- ~$70 a month on streaming

Recurring charges are something I try to keep as low and as few as possible.

Probably my phone that I got two years back ~ $350 K20pro)

My 1080p 144hz monitor that I occasionally use for gaming but mostly reading: $160 in January.

1. Hetzner servers ~€40/month

2. Zapier $30/month

3. Probably Airtable ($24/month), though I'm slowly moving away.

Why moving away from AirTable? Pricing or feature set?

Mostly pricing. I like it as a product, it's just expensive. I've played around with Seatable (self-hosted clone) and it serves my purpose just fine.

Am I wasting time by not using zapier?

I mean, it depends. I primarily use to glue services together because I'm too lazy to keep scripts up to date.

They're pricey, but from what I've seen online they're a bit less shady than IFTTT.

The only tech related one I have is a subscription for internet service for $50/mo

Altium Designer costs ~$10,000

1. $4k - Graphic design service (they're worth every penny)

2. $2.5k - WeWork private office

3. $250 - CircleCI

Converted to approx dollar:-

Internet - $150/yr

Domains - $200/yr

Reseller Shared Web Hosting- $300/yr

Rent, phone, internet.

Probably my MacBook Pro and my iPhone and my iPad..


Zapier, hosting, domains

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