If you’re currently using the cloud services during the free service but can’t afford the $5 a month, or live in a part of the world which makes it effectively impossible to pay, then you’ve got a few weeks to change your configuration.
Switch to the Google Assistant component.
Switch to the Alexa component.
Some effort ahead
Both of these require a bit of effort to get up and running, and that your Home Assistant system is exposed to the Internet (over HTTPS). The Google Assistant component also requires that from time to time you re-complete the configuration, because Google seem to disable test apps every three months (or so - it doesn’t seem to be a fixed interval).
Well, I’ve signed up already. The cost is about that of two coffees from a coffee shop a month for me, and it’s going to support the development of Home Assistant. I needed to cut down on the coffee anyway. Yes, the last few releases may have caused lots of pain for many people, but I’m still liking the direction of travel.