A Few Quick Life Tips
From someone who should listen to himself
2 years ago | 3 min read
- Be careful when you switch to a new wallet or key chain. They’re easier to lose, misplace, or forget while getting used to them. (I learned this the hard way with a new wallet).
- Work shifts an hour or two off from traditional shifts if possible. If you live in a big city with a rough commute, this can change your life. You’ll have a shorter, less hectic commute twice a day every working day.
- Take public transportation if possible. You can read, study, knit, etc., instead of just sitting in traffic.
- Earplugs can transform an unlivable situation into a comfortable one. People who pay high rent in NYC are mainly paying for the quiet.
- Buy a DVD player and take advantage of the library. Most movies don’t require the big screen experience, and you can ditch cable and TV in general. You save money, and waste less time watching crap.
- If your phone and wardrobe are still functional and appropriate, you don’t need new ones.
- Pack your lunch and take advantage of free coffee at work, or brew your own at home. If you must, go to Starbucks just on Friday for a treat. You’ll save $50 or more a week, lose weight, and appreciate that Frappuccino that much more.
- Bad habits have to be replaced by sustainable good ones. Instead of getting hammered Saturday morning, go for a walk. Walking is an easy habit to get into, and if walking is difficult for you, that’s all the more reason you should start walking more.
- Get rid of your TV and get off Facebook. Once you’re off a couple months, you won’t want to go back. With Netflix and the library, you’ll have enough choices, and watching crap on TV or checking your feed will no longer be your default options. You’ll see snatches of TV in the break-room or at a friend’s house and won’t believe how crappy and annoying it is, and you’ll begin to notice how zoned out people are on Facebook. It’s creepy seeing almost everyone on Facebook.
- 100 push-ups and 100 pages of reading a day, every day, and 5 miles walking, 5 sets of pull ups, and 500 words a day, every day. Invest in a pull up bar, preferably one you can keep up in a busy thoroughfare, like a doorway between the bedroom and the bathroom, and you’ll use it all the time like a monkey. It’ll get to the point that it’s difficult to sleep if you don’t do all of these things, but if you need a day off, take it. EDIT: except for the walking and reading, I’ve been shitting the bed on this one lately.
- Pay off high interest rate credit cards first, invest 80% safely, and risk the other 20% on cheap, volatile stock, preferably biotech. Instead of blowing $500 a month on cable, lunch out, and Starbucks, gamble on the market. You will bleed, but eventually, one of them will hit. Unless you’re already rich, this is your only realistic shot.
- Set whatever investment platform you’re using to automatically reinvest your dividends.
- Buy traditional IRAs. If you owe $1000 in taxes, buying a $1000 traditional IRA could turn what you owe into a refund, and the IRA earns a much higher rate than a savings account. I do this every year. Last year, instead of paying the $2000 I owed, I bought a $3000 IRA and got a $1700 refund. It’s the easiest way to make a couple extra grand a year I know of (if you know of other ways, please let me know).
- If your job has a matching program, get them to match the maximum. For contributing 6% of my income before taxes, I receive what amounts to an additional 4% of my pretax income. Your company is basically paying you to save, and less of your income is taxed. After taxes, I take home about .5% less than I did before entering the program. I wouldn’t have noticed the difference if I hadn’t checked, and it adds up to several thousand extra dollars a year.
- The people I know who have managed to save a decent amount of money are all single with no kids. This is anecdotal evidence, but if you are single and aren’t happy about it, maybe think of it as a chance to save.
- Everyone commits social blunders. If you’re comfortable with them and with yourself, people will be more comfortable with you, and worrying about that dumb thing you said yesterday isn’t helping anyone anyway. Learn from it and move on.
- You have options. They aren’t easy or necessarily better than what you’re doing now, but you have them. Sometimes, it helps to remember this.