You have finally taken the plunge. You have canceled a subscription (Netflix for example) in order to save money. You may feel good about yourself. That £5.99 is going to matter, it is going to help you towards financial independence.
However, the risk is that in three months’ time, this additional money is absorbed by your costs of living. It is easily done with £5.99. Two nice cups of coffee at a well-known coffee chain and you could forget how much self-discipline it took you to save that money in the first place.
Therefore, there is an additional step that is essential for that money to make a real difference.
Pretend that you still have to make those payments, but to yourself.
You may have managed to live with this monthly or quarterly bill for quite some time. Years maybe. Somehow, it would just get lost among all the other bills as an ‘essential’ or as a ‘fact of life’. Unless you have had to cancel subscriptions because of a financial emergency rather than an attempt to live more frugally, the likelihood is that you would still be able to cover your essentials as well as the odd little treat without this sum ever being in your bank account.
The solution, therefore, is to create a standing order to your savings account for that exact sum , on the day that it would be due.
For example, my Netflix subscription was due on the 21st of every month. I have set the standing order up for the 21st of every month and labeled it under ‘SAVINGS NETFLIX’.
With this all automatically set, you can just carry on with life, knowing that your discipline and dedication to your new frugal way of life is paying off, £5.99 at a time.
To conclude: I wish I would have thought about this in the past. How much more would I have saved ? How much closer to my goal would I be ? (Maybe not more than £150 overall but still!!)
I am writing this today as a commitment to my future-self: I thereby promise not to subscribe to Netflix ever again.
Although for the longest time I had been able to resist the siren calls of this subscription, I eventually gave in to the promises of entertainment that my colleagues raved on about constantly.
“This series is amazing!”, one of them would comment whilst sipping her cup of tea during our lunch break, “you don’t know what you’re missing!”.
Was it FOMO (Fear of missing out) or the ubiquitous statement that “everyone has it” that enticed me to sign up for the free trial? What I didn’t know at the time is that I had willingly entrapped myself into a snare that I would struggle to get out of: binge-watching.
I have on occasion watched four episodes back to back. Korean dramas, rom-coms, chick flick movies, films off the beaten track. Days upon days of free time have been swallowed by the films and series this platform offers. Some of them have been great discoveries and have provided great entertainment. Others have been utter disappointments.
I can see people coming from afar and saying: “5.99/month is not very expensive, it would save you money rather than buying and renting films”. And they would be right. It could potentially save money if it wasn’t for the fact that not all films that I would like to see are on Netflix and that despite the overwhelming choice, I have found myself with “nothing to watch”! How paradoxical, given the huge choice of films and series that are available.
Another argument in my favour would be that it is very enticing to consume content that is readily accessible and provide 1 hour and 40 minutes of fun. However, in this new £1,000,000 mindset, I need to focus on becoming a ‘producer’ rather than a ‘consumer’.
So farewell Netflix, it is with a sad and heavy heart that I let you go.
As a comforting last thought, I have included a screenshot of a financial freedom calculator that shows the hypothetical free time I could ‘buy’ yourself by choosing to save a given amount rather than spending it. This is for one month subscription for a hypothetical retirement fund of £1,000,000 (with an estimated growth of 6% and inflation rate of 3%).
To conclude: for every month I save on a Netflix subscription, I am hypothetically ‘buying’ 0.1 days of freedom in the future.