Improving Your Finances (and Your Life)

There have been a few things over the past few years that I wished I would be able to do, but always found a reason not to.  I’ve read articles about how trucks are unnecessary, but I thought I needed a truck, so I couldn’t get rid of it.  I’ve read reviews about how bad Bank of America is, and found that Schwab actually cares about their customers (and their lack of fees show it).  But I couldn’t bring myself to actually make the switch.  I would always say something like, “if I were to start over, I would do that.”  But I never did.

Then later in 2012, I decided it was time to start making some changes to optimize my life. When Bank of America had me reset all my accounts, I fired them and moved all my accounts to Schwab (which is awesome, by the way).  When my third vehicle broke down, I decided it was time to reset my vehicle situation.  I sold my truck, bought a Honda Fit, and am in the process of getting a trailer and installing a hitch on the Fit to replace my truck and third vehicle.  I’m also in the process of fixing my old car and selling it as well.  I have only owned the Fit for a little over a week and have already used it like I used to use my truck twice.

I’ve been slowly making my home more energy efficient as well.  I’ve added insulation to the attic (and insulated my garage), added a water softener to prolong the life of my water pipes, water heater, washing machine, and faucets, sealed all the holes in my rim joists, and installed a whole house humidifier, among other things.

I feel like I’ve hit the reset button to optimize my life, but it’s been a gradual process over a few months.  I still have some things I would like to optimize, and I’m sure I’ll continually find more that can be optimized.  That’s the benefit of learning as time goes on.  The more you learn, the better you can become.

You can do the same thing I have been doing.  Just do research, take away your assumptions (i.e., “Everyone who owns a house needs a truck“), and move forward to make your life better from this moment on.  If you’re not making progress toward your financial future, you’re probably getting further away from it.  Focus on constantly making your life better, and you’ll be surprised at what you can do.  Everything you’ve done will sneak up on you one day, and you’ll realize how much more you know now than you did even a few years ago.  It’s a great feeling.  You should give it a try.

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