Like most young people, my long march to the suburbs culminated at age 29. Over the past eight years I have gone from my parents basement, to a rundown townhouse with three roommates from work, to a studio in a transitional neighborhood, to my own slice of Americana with my wife, complete with a forty minute commute to my office downtown.
What also comes with my slice of Americana, is a lawn that takes 2-3 hours of maintenance every four to seven days. I honestly don’t hate it as much as much as I thought I would. Oddly, I look forward to it thanks to some great advances in technology (podcasts-check out Erik Lang Show) and some tips from my dad (beer-Miller Lite-keep it simple!).
I’d say that my only knock on the whole yard maintenance thing that is that after my commute home, I am arriving at the house at 6PM on a good evening. That means I am literally going to be in my yard the entire evening, maybe grabbing dinner, and then crashing. I am unable to spend time with my wife, work on my other businesses, or just simply decompress and get in some biking, golf, or other activity.
Of course, I could pay for someone to take care of this for me, but right now it’s just not in the budget as we are adjusting to home ownership.
I recently read somewhere that people with tons of responsibilities (CEOs, lawyers, doctors) farm out routine services that we would consider chores or responsibilities. This list continues to grow (grocery shopping, dog walking, laundry, etc.).
To this, many people (myself included) say it must be nice to have the money to pay for other people to take care of your mundane services. But, through a bit of research and talking to others, I have learned that you don’t need extra money to declutter your life, you just need a plan.
Here's part of my plan to simplify life.
Local Resources-Be creative and utilize what's availble around you.
That new best selling book will cost you either $14.21 or nothing if you have a library card.
Doing-Making my bed when I wake-up.
I know that many of you have seen this clip from a Navy Admiral at a college graduation where he states, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed”. Now I don’t want to think that I’ve necessarily changed the world since I starting doing this but it does give me a weird since of pride and accomplishment as I am leaving home as well as when I come home from a long day at work.
Reading-The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
Some really great thoughts on automation and how to acquire more of the currency that is time without going broke in the process.
Automating-From finances to news
Like most I’ve taken the guess work out of when bills are due by simply auto-paying anything and everything that I can. That way I’m avoiding late fees and assuring that the lights are going to stay on at our house.
I’m even doing this with consumption of news by receiving emails with news clips of stories that are impacting the industries I’m monitoring. You can usually get this curated news for free from local, national, and international outlets.
There are countless things these time and budget "hacks" can be applied to, if you just get creative and create your personal plan.
Hopefully I’ll be able to pay the kid down the street to cut my grass, soon enough.