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It was originally made to be a savings plan for college but can also be used for private school before college.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