Thanks to both of you guys for your replies.
@ThompsonWebDesign I'll definitely look into switching to monthly and cancelling that way. It seems so strange having to do such a convoluted workaround like that, when before you could switch templates back and forth no problem. I get the coding and behind-the-curtain stuff is different between 7 and 7.1, but I'm not looking to copy a page over but simply begin again on a different template.
The main thing I miss is the ability to add and edit content blocks. I'm a graphic designer, and having no freedom to put in my own spaces, or images, or text blocks, or really add any single item how I would like is super frustrating. 7.1 is definitely more streamlined for the average user with little to no design background or knowledge, but the ridiculously limited customisation is quite a step backward for me.
Unless I'm way off base? Is there a tick box somewhere that opens up the option to place blocks myself, or a button hiding somewhere in 'edit' mode? All I've been able to find is the pre-designed page sections (they look great, honest, but aren't usually what I have in mind). Paying for my own website and then being unable to make it my way is not a pleasant experience.