I'm all for making life a bit easier to live. No sense pounding your head against the wall if there is a better way to do things. So, here's a few things that I employ to make daily living a tad more convenient. I'd love to hear a few things you employ to make your life easier too.
- Google Apps
If you don't have a Google Account right now – stop whatever you are doing and sign up! It's free – and it will make your life a lot more convenient. I understand some folks are worried about privacy issues with regards to Google and their ability to access your accounts – but I say – if you don't have anything to hide, why worry? There are several Google Apps that you'll want to take advantage of. The most widely used, is probably Gmail. Gmail offers a great way to organize and store all of your emails and gives you the ability to chat, video chat and send from and receive from various email accounts. I've been using it since 2006 and love it. Among the other life savers – are Google Calendar and Google Docs (now, Drive). The Calendar app is easy to load dates/times into and you can share it with your other loved ones (who also have a Google Account). It will send you an email when an appointment is coming or ping you via your cell phone. As for Drive – this is another great resource that can store spreadsheets (I keep and share our budget on there so it's always accessible), documents and even presentations.
- Emergency cash
I picked up this one from the Mrs. The specifics of this are vague – but we were out on a date one night before we got married and were exiting a parking ramp when we needed to pay the ramp fee. Only thing is that yours truly wasn't carrying any cash. Good thing we were driving her car and she told me to reach into a side compartment by the steering wheel. Wouldn't you know – there was a $20 inside. We used it to pay the attendant and I escaped with a little dignity intact. From then on – I try and keep a few spare dollars tucked away in the car – just for those moments when you need it.
- Brown lunch bag and kernels
This is pretty simple and works well. Grab a brown lunch-bag, get some corn kernels, and throw 1/4 cup of em in the bag. Put the bag in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes (more than 5 seconds between pops – and you're done). Season with your favorite butter and/or salt! Cheap – and easy.
- The word, “sorry”
Your life can be made a lot easier by employing and utilizing a very important word: sorry. When you do – and it is appropriate for the situation (man forgets an anniversary, woman interrupts sporting event while man is watching), it can do wonders – and makes life – a bit more peaceful.
- Back-up battery for smartphone
I bought a very inexpensive extra battery that I simply plug into my smartphone and it helps to recharge my phone in no time. This is great if I've had a high utilization day and I need a quick charge. This is the one I have for my iPhone (3s and 4s only).
Now and then we'll have a sector of our house lose power. And, there have been times when the whole house goes dark. This one is owing to the Mrs. again for her foresight – but we have purchased some smaller flashlights that we have put in strategic locations that everyone knows about. When the power goes out – we can eventually feel our way to that location and grab a light.
We talk a lot about making sure your “financial house” is in order – and I don't know of any better way to back-up your plans for getting out of debt and starting on the road to independence than to have a savings account*. Dave Ramsey was the first person I started reading when I began my out-of-debt journey – and it was one of the first things he suggests doing: get an emergency fund (aka – savings account). It will certainly make things a lot smoother and easier when “life happens“. (* CIT has a savings rate of 0.9% – as of this writing)
- Be friends with the neighborhood “handyperson”
Charlie has written about this similar idea before – but having a person in your neighborhood or in your circle of friends who is a real handy person can make life easier. You can call them for advice on your car, your house or a small gadget repair. This is the person that seems to know it all. Being an un-handy person – I feel fortunate to know a couple of these persons.