Monday, January 8, 2018

Richer, Thinner, & Healthier WITHOUT New Year's Resolutions

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. Frankly, I’ve really tried to live and make decisions consistently during the entire year. Still, there is no better time than the present to, well, make a clean start . . . even if it happens to be the start of a new year.

Here are a few ideas for anyone from the most die-hard New Year’s Resolutionary to just a guy who wants to make his personal, professional, and/or financial life a little better:

Clean-Up Junk eMail
Let’s face it, email isn’t what it used to be. With the proliferation of Snapchat, Kik, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and about a million other social media applications, it seems that the greatest beneficiaries of my Gmail account are advertisers. A few weeks ago, I found an email from Chuck E. Cheese. We haven't been to Chuck E. Cheese in at least five years.

Even if I automatically delete marketing emails, checking 20 boxes to delete 20 junk emails still takes time. Take a few minutes and “unsubscribe” to all of the email no longer relevant to you. It’ll save you a little bit of time every day and I’ll bet you can find a better use for that time.

Chuck E. Cheese isn't so relevant now my children are teenagers and young adults.

Compare Insurance
In my experience, insurance companies offer a sort of promotional rate to get you in the door. Also, in my experience and in spite of what All State and Farmer's wants you to believe, there’s not terribly much difference between most top-rated insurance carriers. Take the declarations from your home, automobile, umbrella, flood, boat, motorcycle, or whatever policy you have, bring them to one or two other brokers, and find out how much money you can save by switching to a new carrier. Bear in mind, those unwritten introductory rates may have a shelf life, so you may be back at it in a year or two.

Coffee, tea, or . . . get big results from small improvements
So, there are 23 calories in one packet of sugar. I don’t know anyone who drinks coffee with sugar who uses fewer than two packets. Among those people who drink coffee with sugar, a lot of them drink at least two cups of coffee. Do the math. Two cups. Two sugars each. 92 calories every day to have sweet coffee. So, a person who has two coffees a day with two sugars in each coffee consumes 33,580 empty calories a year. Considering the average person gains one pound for every 3,500 unused calories, having sugar in one’s coffee yields an additional 9.6 pounds per year.

How would you like to be 9.6 pounds lighter on you feet? Don’t sweeten your coffee or use a zero-calorie substitute. Make the decision easy. Stop buying sugar.

Clean-Up App Subscriptions
Once upon a time, when your son or daughter was younger, maybe
you had a subscription to a phone app to filter content or restrict usage on you child’s phone. Now, your child is older and you don’t need the app anymore, but Apple still charges your credit card 99¢ a month. Three years ago, perhaps you were dating. You downloaded Tinder or Bumble or whatever, and upgraded to the premium service for $2.99 a month. Now that you’ve found a romantic partner and are now dating exclusively, but the service auto-renews and you’re still getting dinged for the fee. No, it’s not going to break the bank, but if you have two or three obsolete apps and you’re still being charged, you can save yourself a few or a few hundred bucks a year by taking the time to terminating the subscriptions.

It’s a lot easier to make these sort of habit changes permanent of you simply “flip the switch.” Out of sight, out of mind. Check back with me in a year and let me know how much richer, thinner, and healthier you are.

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