Gabe Weatherhead’s Macdrifter just published a short piece called The Annual Internet Service Value Test. In it, Gabe lists his yearly costs of using various internet services like Dropbox and Evernote and then goes through each, line by line, to decide whether or not that service is still of value to him.
Clearly, having a regular accountability process like this is helpful to rein in expenses (especially now that an increasing number of companies are essentially renting us their products instead of selling them 1 ). Subscriptions are a business model which seem to be growing in popularity and one which encourages us to put more of our spending on autopilot, potentially creating a large outlay of unnecessary recurring purchases which we’ve accrued in small, almost imperceptible increments. I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon so, as a sort of financial self-defense practice, I think Gabe’s advice is an especially good idea.
Here’s another: Do the same thing for how you spend your time.
Both time and money are important and finding the right balance between the two can be challenging. For me, at least, it’s always been much easier to change the ways I spend my money than my time and, by extension, easier to commit to projects or “social obligations” than to withdraw from them.
So for each, you might try asking yourself “What is the value in this?” or “Is this duplicating something I’m already getting somewhere else?”. If the answer isn’t clear to you–or if it leaves you feeling a bit phony when you hear yourself justify the expense–perhaps it’s time to hit the “CANCEL” button and get that time back for something more beneficial.
- J’accuse, Microsoft and Adobe… [↩]