How to Simplify Your Life Financially

Early last year I decided I wanted to simplify my financial life. I had a bunch of bills and felt like, while I was making good money on paper, I didn’t have a lot (or any) left at the end of the month.

First I cut out my lawn guy at $60/mow. He would mow my lawn roughly every 10 days from mid-April to November….20 or 21 times. That’s approximately $1200/yr saved. I’m now on my second year of mowing my lawn myself and will have saved $2400 by the end of this mowing season.

Next I sold my truck, boat, and airplane and bought a ‘98 Acura as a beater. I’m not sure this was a good idea, but I sold my truck for $6500 and bought my beater for $1000. I’d rather have my truck but I did use some of that money to invest in my children’s 529 college plan.

I really enjoyed owning an airplane, but the honeymoon had worn off and a 40 year old airplane is a money pit.

The boat was just stupid.

I got rid of Netflix but that only lasted a few months. I have it back now, but we haven’t had cable since 2006 and we don’t miss it.

I also got rid of an old refrigerator through the power company. It was using $5-$10 month of electricity, but West Penn Power took it away for free and gave me a $50 check for it. Nice!

I also feel that term life insurance is extremely important and while this added to my expenses, an additional $500K policy for $36/month is must-do for every husband. Get 10-12 times your annual income in term life.

Just getting rid of stuff is an amazing feeling. Some stuff I sold and other stuff I simply gave away. Having less stuff frees you and it feels great.

What are you doing to simplify your life?

My former plane
sales advice

On the way home from the Hospital with your new baby, open a 529 plan

A 529 plan is an investment vehicle that you can put after tax dollars in for your child’s education.

For example, you take $1,000 from your checking account and open a 529, pick a mutual fund, and that money grows TAX-FREE until your child needs it.

It was originally made to be a savings plan for college but can also be used for private school before college.

Why is this amazing? Well, your money grows TAX-FREE! When you need that money, you don’t pay any TAXES! That is the amazing part!

Here’s another amazing part….most states will give you a TAX-BREAK for opening a 529! I put $1800 in my son’s 529 in 2018 and got approximately a $200 tax break. That’s about an 11% return on my money immediately.

What if you put too money in your 529 (that would be a heluva an awesome problem to have)? Well, you can use that money for your other kids.

What if I don’t have kids? Consider yourself lucky, but the 529 doesn’t apply to you.

Trust me, your future self will thank your current self profusely if you use your commission to open a 529 plan instead of blowing it on a 40 year old boat.