Cash is Better Than a Big Garage

I’ve got a lot of stuff. I used to have more, but I still have a lot. The people who know me best might actually find it amusing to observe my transition from avid collector (aka mild hoarder) to a vaguely defined minimalist. I actually still enjoy quality objects and I still collect several things. However, I have come to the realization that cash is still a great equalizer and much better than even the biggest garage.

full garageThe evolution of cash and the speed of the marketplace: Once upon a time trying to find objects, especially unique or inexpensive ones, was an arduous task. Trying to find a used bike that was your exact size meant calling around everyone you knew, paying a retail markup at a local bike store, or spending hours searching flea markets or garage sales. If you were in a big city you might have the luxury of finding a decent classified section. (Photo: Planetgreenrecycle) However, this has all begun to change. The concept that makes cash better than all your stored junk hinges on the speed of information. It is now possible to find what you need and purchase it quickly and efficiently. The simple combination of amazon, local retail, craigslist, and ebay can get you almost anything you need quickly and simply. You no longer need to store hundreds of items or keep things for just-in-case. Most of the time, you are better having cash and the knowledge of where to quickly get the things you need. Continue reading Cash is Better Than a Big Garage

Using Finance to Create Simplicity

The world we live in does not encourage simplicity. In fact, we are presented with more and more everyday. We are constantly encouraged to complicate our lives by the things and responsibilities we acquire. We have more choice but more pressure than almost any other time in history. Seriously, our local grocery store stocks over 100 different types of spaghetti sauce. Buying something to top your noodles is no longer a simple choice.

finance simpleI was surprised to realize that we can actually use the limitations of finance to limit our stress, commitments, obligations, and worry. Most people think that more money will make them happier. But what many of us have come to realize is that the more money we spend, the more options, choices, responsibilities, and opportunities we have. The complexity of our financial life can become increasingly stressful even as our financial opportunities expand. (Photo Paxton)

Money doesn’t really care how we use it. We can spend it all, save it all, give it all, or bury it in the ground. It can make our lives better or worse. It can make our lives simpler or much more complicated. It doesn’t really care, but we do. We can use the financial decisions we make to set our priorities and focus our time, money, and energy on the things that are important. In order to create a simpler life, we can allocate our income in a way that limits unimportant distractions and focuses our money on the things we actually value. Continue reading Using Finance to Create Simplicity

The Great Detox Challenge Update

At the end of last year Ms. SE and I decided we would experiment with several life hacking challenges throughout the course of 2014. We laid out a single challenge for each month involving everything from eating, drinking, biking, sleeping, social media, to trash. We’ve kept the reader participants updated but we wanted to give all of our readers feedback and let you in on several of the struggles and victories we have experienced thus far. I’ll begin by saying we have already learned a lot about ourselves and it has been an entertaining (and sometimes difficult) set of challenges!

challengeOur original post outlined the monthly challenges and publicly announced the things we would try. We had several readers join us (you can too) for various months and we have had good feedback already. The first five months of the year included the following five challenges: Food, Exercise, Social Media, Reading, and Screen Time. If you want to know the full specifics of each post feel free to read up on the original. Some have been much more difficult than others, but we always learn something new by the end of the month. Continue reading The Great Detox Challenge Update

The Netflix Approach To Life – Search From Within

Have you ever searched for that movie you really want to see on Netflix only to be disappointed when it’s not there? Or maybe it was that 14th season of some show your friend told you about that you must watch. Netflix has 1,000s of shows and episodes. More entertaining content than any single soul should be allowed to watch in a lifetime. But for some reason, it often feels like that one show we want to watch just isn’t included. Despite millions of hours of television and movies, we can’t find what we want.

netflix approachI’ve enjoyed Netflix and watched countless hours of their content over the years. Although we currently use a different streaming service, many of the principles are still the same. The best way to approach a streaming service is to simply browse its content from within. Do your search from within. This means strategically limiting your options to what is currently available. Looking at the top fifty most watched shows on Netflix will be much more satisfying than if we were to look at the top fifty films of the year, and then search for them on Netflix. There may be a few that would be available but, by and large, you would be disappointed if your expectations were really high. Continue reading The Netflix Approach To Life – Search From Within