Simplify with Shannon
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Simplify with Shannon

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Keeping Track of It All

We have passwords and accounts for everything. We have things that automatically renew, either through a subscription monthly, bimonthly, even annually. It is not worth our brain space to keep track of all of these different things without some sort of system or method for tracking. How do we do that?

Passwords

They say that you should come up with unique passwords that include letters, numbers, and symbols and a blend of upper and lower case letters. That’s great advice and helps keep your accounts safe, but we have so many accounts and passwords to keep track of, so we use the same few passwords to keep track and not forget. Or, we just create a new password every time we need to log in - its okay, we all do it!

What can we do to keep track of our passwords and start creating those unique passwords to keep our information safe? When I started tracking my passwords more efficiently, I put in over 100 accounts and logins on the first round of entries, now it is close to 150 accounts. Some of those “added” accounts were ones I forgot I had, or new accounts created in the past 6 months.

I started using a digital password keeper called 1Password. For the app on my computer or phone, I either use my fingerprint to open it or a single password - so yes, I do need to remember one! It logs me out on phone when I switch to a different app, and it logs me off on my computer after a few minutes. It helps me create unique passwords to use when setting up new accounts, and to change the passwords on old accounts. It lets me decide how I want to passwords to be created - i.e. numbers and letters, or words, the length, how many digits or symbols to include.

It has made my life so much easier. When I create new accounts, I log into the app and add it immediately, there’s a note section where I can put any security question answers that I needed to create or other important info for that account. There are various password keepers that you can find - a good and secure one will cost a fee, but it is affordable and worth it. I wouldn’t recommend a handwritten one unless you have a secure, locked place to keep it.

Subscriptions & Autopays

My first tip for tracking subscriptions and autopays is asking you if you use a calendar or planner and what is it? If you use a digital calendar - i.e. Google, iCal, Outlook - you can set up repeating events, weekly, monthly, annually. When I set up a new subscription or payment - whether it is autopay or manual - I automatically put it in my google calendar. For me, my calendar is my lifeline and it’s always the most accurate. I look at it frequently, plus it sends me reminders that I can change or adjust as I need. I do think for monthly payments, but honestly more importantly for annual payments or renewals. Some things only come around once a year, like Amazon prime, and I know the approximate time it renews, but it is too much to keep track of. Most places will also remind you with an email when it gets close to your renewal date, but a calendar for yourself is a great way for you check on it in an easy way. In addition to putting things on my calendar as reminders for withdrawal or payment, I keep a simple spreadsheet that outlines my subscriptions - what they are, how often its paid, how much, method of payment or renewal. This is not meant to give you more things to look at and update, but it is a great way to look at your spending and costs and have everything in one place. Think about it - have you ever forgotten about something that automatically charges you and you panic? Or are at least taken by surprise? Let’s find a way to not be surprised by these charges and get a handle on what we have.