My Favorite Life Hacks

10404334_9fd6238b8bA “Life Hack” is something that simplifies your life, or makes it easier in some way. It could be a tip to save you time or money, or even peace of mind. I’ve written a few life hack posts, but I keep getting requests for more. So here you go – my favorite tips to simplify life.

Money Saving Tips

  1. Get rid of cable – In this day and age you can watch all of your favorite shows without paying tons of cash each month for cable. Hook your computer up to your TV and stream shows. Use Hulu or Netflix. One of my favorite websites for TV shows has this handy guide to “cutting the cord” and getting rid of cable for good. Why pay for internet AND cable? http://www.sidereel.com/topic/cord-cutting
  2. Cook your own meals -Nothing new here. It is way cheaper to eat at home. This includes morning coffee.
  3. Use cash – When you pay with cash it forces you to handle actual money. You can’t over spend, or buy stuff you don’t need when you have cash. You’ll pay more attention to how and why you spend, and where you spend it.
  4. Stay home – Going out to the movies can end up costing upwards of $50, and that’s just for two people! Find ways to entertain yourself for free at home. You could bond with your family, play games, read, have a movie night, BBQ or indulge in that new hobby.
  5. Exercise – Hate spending money on the doctor? Hate getting sick? Exercise can reduce your chances of getting sick and keep you from costly medical bills later. And don’t go to a gym unless you have to. Exercising at home or in your neighborhood is FREE.
  6. Pay monthly – If you MUST use a credit card for a purchase, make sure you pay the entire amount at the end of the month. If you can’t afford to pay the whole amount at once, you shouldn’t buy it. Don’t live beyond your means. Period.
  7. Find happiness in life, not shopping – I know many people think of shopping as a sport, or a hobby. It isn’t either. Many people buy things because they think it will make them happy. And maybe it does … for an hour or two. But after the rush of having a new thing wears off, they are left feeling even emptier than before. Then they go out and buy something else. It’s a never ending cycle. Instead, teach yourself to love life. Go for a walk and take pictures of interesting things in your neighborhood. Find joy in your friends and family or in nature. Meditate! Exercise! Paint! Spending money does not equal happiness.

Time Saving Tips

  1. Learn to say no – The easiest way to give yourself more time is to stop giving it to others. You don’t have to say yes to every client, friend or project that comes your way. People will understand and it will leave you more time for yourself.
  2. Consolidate errands – At my house we go shopping about once a week. We decide on what we need and where would be the best place to get it. Driving to one store every day is ridiculous. Plan all of your trips for one day.
  3. Don’t multitask – That’s right, I said DON’T. If you concentrate on one thing at a time and finish it you won’t be left with a house full of half completed projects. If you start washing the dishes, finish washing the dishes. This also helps for staying in the present moment and lets you concentrate completely on the task at hand.
  4. Use your kids – If your kids don’t have chores … Shame on you! Children learn (or should learn) responsibility at home. They should be responsible for cleaning up after themselves and keeping their rooms tidy. At a minimum have them pick up their room before bed, and lay out their clothes for the next day. This helps save time in the morning also.
  5. Make your own mixes – I guess this could have gone in the Money Tips as well, but here it is. Make your own pancake, muffin, cake and biscuit mixes. Make your own spice mixes. You can find recipes for just about any mix you need online. Prepare large batches of the mix, and add wet ingredients when you’re ready to prepare the food. Store dry mixes in seal tight containers or jars until you’re ready to use them.
  6. Do major chores once a week – Schedule your major chores as part of a routine and they will get easier to do. Cleaning that tub once a week is way easier than once a month. Trust me. And don’t make more work for yourself either. There is no need to mop the kitchen floor EVERY DAY. Once a week is fine. Relax. Smile. It’s just a floor.

Sanity Saving Tips

  1. Don’t procrastinate – Let’s be honest, when we procrastinate, it is usually because we don’t like doing whatever it is we are putting off. Procrastination is a pretty bad habit. It keeps you focused of the things you hate thinking about. Just get it out of the way, then you don’t have to think about it anymore. How often do you put off going to the dentist? How about washing your car? Get it done. You’ll feel relieved.
  2. Put public pressure on yourself – Do you have a deadline? Do you often start projects and don’t finish? Then post about it on FaceBook. Tell your friends and family to keep you in line. If your boss, or husband, wife or partner expects something finished by a certain date, you’ll be more likely to finish.
  3. No TV in the bedroom – You shouldn’t have more than one TV. Think about it. Are you so lazy you can’t walk into the other room to watch your shows? If you only get rid of one TV, then make it the one in the bedroom. The bedroom should be your sanctuary. Have a book by your bed, but no computer or TV. This should be a place that is calm and relaxing and well suited for sleep.
  4. Go paperless – If you haven’t already, stop getting catalogs, bills, and crap in the mail. It wastes your time to deal with it. Instead set aside one time a month to deal with online bills. Easy!
  5. 3 Task Rule – If your “To-Do” list is never ending, then you might be a control freak. Instead of just making that list longer, and making yourself crazy, try doing just three tasks and do them to completion. Choose the tasks that are most urgent. The rest can wait til tomorrow. Nothing feels better than getting stuff done!
  6. Eat healthy! – Stop the soda (even diet. Guilty.) Eat fruits and veggies. Eating healthy does more for you than give you a rockin’ body. It keeps you healthy which keeps you from costly medical bills in the future. There are zero reasons that you should be overweight or unhealthy.
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