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100 Ways to Get 1% Better | EP 318




What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • After four years of talking about the aggregation of marginal gains and the idea of getting 1% better, ChooseFI has accumulated quite a lengthy list that you can stack together.
  • If you can invest a little bit of time to fix something, you’ll never have to invest that time again. Brad recently decided to move away from paper files and bills to join the digital age, while Jonathan has been using a subscription service to stop the paper junk mail sent to him.
  • Chris Hutchins shared a final hack with Brad after the end of the last episode that didn’t make it into the recording. Chris uses a browser extension to view book availability at his local library and borrow or place a hold on it.
  • Brad and Jonathan selectively pick from the list of 100 ways to get 1% better with your finances, starting with #3, Reading (or Listening) to One New Finance or Investing Book Each Month. Jonathan thinks this tip could be expanded to include non-fiction books that improve you in some way.
  • #4 on the list is to learn a new skill. It could be for obtaining background knowledge, gaining a marketable skill, or simply for interest’s sake. Although complacency can be seen as a bad thing, don’t mistake complacency for contentment.
  • Other tips include getting outside to exercise or try a new hiking or biking trail every week. Mix things up. There is a never-ending stream of free YouTube exercise classes to choose from.
  • Are you aware of your local FI group? While COVID has kept us physically apart, we are coming to the other end. You can invest in your local community.
  • As for dealing with debt, Brad says you need to sit down and be honest with yourself. Understand what you owe, who you owe it to, how much you make each month, and how much you spend. If you spend more than you make, you need to stop right now, and at least get to the point where you aren’t adding more debt.
  • Once you get to that place, Jonathan says you can look for ways to optimize your debt payoff, such as zero balance transfers. And then work to improve your credit score by putting a system in place, like autopay, to ensure you never miss a payment.
  • If you do not have $1,000, you don’t need an emergency fund, you need a crisis fund. You need $1,000 that doesn’t have a bill attached to it that you could draw on in a crisis. Once you have that, then you can think about building an emergency fund. Use your tax refund to establish your crisis fund.
  • Next, don’t give the government an interest-free loan and work it so that you don’t get a tax refund. The opportunity cost of having the government hold your money for a year is potentially big. When financially responsible and on the path to FI, you don’t want a big refund. You want to be saving and investing it all year long.
  • You can learn to do just about anything on YouTube, especially do-it-yourself home repair tutorials that will save you money. Even replacing your incandescent bulbs with LED is easy to do and saves on energy costs.
  • While lowering your hot water heater temperatures and adjusting the thermostat won’t make you wealthy overnight, stacking these tips with others is the whole point of getting 1% better.
  • Declutter your home and donate or sell items to simplify your life.
  • Owning a car costs a lot. Trying to manage the payment for a new car every 5 years versus buying a car and driving it for 15 years can have a dramatic impact on your path to FI. The one decision to drive a new car for 15 years, made just three times over an adult’s lifetime can result in a $742,000 difference.
  • If you can stack car ownership savings with other money savings hacks on food, or housing, it can mean a difference of multiple millions.
  • It doesn’t need to be about deprivation but just doing a little better than average to end up with millions more than your counterpart who is drifting through their financial life.
  • #33 on the list is to shop your car insurance every year, which Brad extends as something to be done with all your insurance policies. Make it a yearly “to do” task.
  • Unfortunately, companies don’t incentivize customers to stay, they incentivize customers to leave other companies to come to them. Even if you don’t want to switch, at least try and negotiate a better price. There are even companies who will do this for you.
  • There are a few ways to optimize healthcare, such as using a high-deductible health care plan with an HSA, prescription discount tools, and locking in medical service prices with websites, such as MDSave.
  • The health benefits of focusing on exercise and healthy food choices can not be overstated. 80-90% of the treatment modalities would go so much further if stacked with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
  • To keep food costs in check, Brad and his wife, Laura, try to anchor themselves to a $2 per person per meal goal. Laura has even curated a series of healthy recipes that fall within that cost.
  • Everything is negotiable. When Brad had a recent medical procedure, he simply asked if there was a pay-in-full discount and received a 30% discount.
  • Saving puts money in your pocket, and so does earning more money. There’s never been a better time for a side hustle.
  • CampFI’s are back! Brad will be attending the mid-Atlantic CampFI over Memorial Day weekend.
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What Are You Optimizing For? | Chris Hutchins | Ep 423

Sometimes on the journey to FI, we ask ourselves the following; do I really need to spend money on this? Do I really have the time and resources for that? These questions may be easy to dismiss by saying no in order to stay on track with your financial goals, but by dismissing them, you could be missing out on something that is beneficial to your personal journey! This week we are joined by friend of the podcast, Chris Hutchins, to talk about the hacks for optimizing your life, the differences between cheapness and frugality, and the importance of valuing your time and what it can lead to. Saving money is an important part of achieving FI, but you should never feel so restricted that you miss out on investing your time and money in things that bring joy and value into your life. While saving is important, it’s okay to spend money. Whether it’s on a trip or investing in something new, there are ways to make it work without feeling guilt or shame. Prioritizing and valuing your time can introduce new experiences and provide happiness as well as perspective while on this journey! 

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