A COVID outbreak in my neighbourhood shattered holiday plans recently. I suddenly had three weeks available. What to do? I dabbled briefly with intoxicated sulking. Then I tackled something I’d cheerfully deferred all year. Reviewing my financial health – especially checking my expenses line by painful line.
It wasn’t pretty. I’d collected ‘inexpensive’ subscriptions for years. Mostly software services to support my business. Signing up seemed trivial at the time – just a few dollars and so few clicks! But combined the monthly price was significant. Over a year it was eye-watering. Over 5 years punitive.
The good news was that I could cancel half of them. Although they had served a purpose at the time, many had been superseded by more affordable or even free online services. Others could be downgraded to cheaper plans. It felt surprisingly good to tidy up with a little subscription house-cleaning.
Incidentally, I used a free app called Pocketbook to get visibility of my financial health. Recommended.
I’m now turning my attention to another sort of subscription in my life. Habits. The behaviours I subscribe to also have costs and benefits, both compounding over time.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says that our outcomes in life are a lagging measure of our habits. Our weight is a lagging measure of our eating habits. Our knowledge is a lagging measure of our learning habits. Our net worth is a lagging measure of our financial habits.
I’m reviewing my behavioral subscriptions for health, relationships, work and play. Some have outlived their usefulness and will be cancelled (farewell intoxicated sulking!). Others may be adjusted. And there will be others I need to start.
What subscription change would make the biggest positive difference to your life? Start there.