Inside: People think that managing your money is hard. It can be. But, in other areas, it actually pays to be lazy! Here’s how the power of laziness has helped me.
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Sometimes I think that managing my money is hard. Indeed, parts of it are. I am endowed with an addiction to updating my daily budget bordering on obsessive-compulsive.
But, in other areas of my life, I’m profoundly lazy. So lazy in fact, that I could put Eeyore to shame (I really do like naps).
What’s really cool is when you can take something that normally is a negative and turn it into a positive.
Being lazy has helped my finances in many, many ways. I’ll tell you about a few of them, and give you some tips on how to hook up your own laziness to help your financial situation
Exhibit A: My Teeth
I had horrible dental hygiene growing up. Seriously. I don’t know how I still have teeth. My parents used to let me drink a whole two-liter bottle of Coke every day. Come to think about it, I don’t know how I don’t weigh 300 pounds now either.
I used to drink a lot of soda well into adulthood too. But, living in a second-story apartment changed all that. I’m simply too lazy to carry those heavy two-liters up the steps. I largely stopped drinking soda about a year and a half ago.
Last month I went to the dentist in the first time in eons. The last time I went to the dentist, they said I would likely need fillings on four teeth in the future. Much to my surprise, despite years of abuse, I didn’t need a single cavity filled. It’s a Christmas miracle! Hallelujah!
According to Nerd Wallet, the average cost of a resin dental filling for a back tooth is $170 (side note: I do have the option of becoming a famous rapper by getting a gold-plated filling for the sweet, sweet price of $1,123). I’ve therefore saved at least $680 on dental work, not to mention at least $1,155 that I’ve saved since switching out water and yerba mate for soda and energy drinks.
Exhibit B: My Investment Accounts
A couple years ago I started investing for the first time with Betterment, a simple robo advisor that automatically allocates your money to different investments. All you have to do is pop money in like a savings account (although your money isn’t insured like at a bank).
That’s about the entire capacity I could handle for investing at the time. In fact, I even automated the monthly withdrawals because I’m so forgetful that sometimes I can’t find my keys while I am still physically holding them.
I’m learning more about DIY investing now, but for those first two years, taking the lazy approach has infinitely helped my finances. If I would have waited until I was an expert to start investing, I probably never would ever start at all.
Is Betterment the cheapest, most efficient way to invest and build wealth? No. Did my Betterment account allow me to even start investing at all? Yes. Baby steps.
Exhibit C: My Bills
Remember how I said I was forgetful?
Much like my automatic investment deposits, I also automate as many of my bills as I can. Even though I pay off my credit card bill every couple of days (remember: obsessive-compulsive), I still set up automatic minimum payments in the odd chance I am still carrying a balance at the end of the month and do forget to pay.
Doing this has preserved my credit score. It’s allowed me to get cheap interest rates on my loans (the only bright side of my debt) and get access to premium credit cards even though my net worth is probably one tenth of most other premium credit card-holders. I use these credit cards for travel hacking so that I can get free travel.
In fact, I’m even writing these words from 39,000 feet up in the air somewhere between Denver and Richmond on my way to a family reunion. The flights for me and Zach would have cost $1,200, but we got them for free (plus a free hotel stay and car rental), in part thanks to the lazy way I pay my bills! I wouldn’t have been able to afford to see my family otherwise.
Exhibit D: My Kitchen
I hate cooking. I eat to live rather than live to eat.
We used to get takeout all the time because we were tired at the end of the day and didn’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking. It was just easier to do it that way.
But, once I started budgeting, I found out we were spending enough money to subsidize a small country. We had to put the brakes on that like yesterday. Cause if there’s anything I’ve ever learned about money, it’s that I ain’t made of it.
These days, me and Zach do almost all of our cooking at home. But we do it smart. We do it the lazy way.
Even though it’s just the two of us in our household, we’ll still make at least a four-serving meal each time we cook. That way, we have leftovers for later. I used to hate leftovers too, but once I realized how much money I saved by making a conscious choice to spend less, I was like “holy schiznit batman! Why didn’t we do this sooner?”
We also use the freezer cooking system every single week. We collect recipes from MyFreezEasy. When the ingredients for a recipe go on sale, we load up like two drug mules from a third-world country. We assemble the meals so that when it comes time to eat, all we do is pop the food into a slow cooker or the oven, and Bob’s your uncle (hi Uncle Bob!).
How can you use laziness to turbocharge your finances?
Obviously being lazy doesn’t help with all aspects of your finances. Wouldn’t that be amazing if you could pay for rent with naps? Holy shit. I could live in a mansion!
The trick is to find the sweet spot between two things:
- Something you really, really hate doing
- Something that has easier options available
I’ve already identified something I really, really hated doing in my cooking example. To solve this problem, I have several options: subsist on PB&J for the remainder of my life, find cooking hacks to shorten my actual cooking time, suck it up and just cook fancy meals dammit, and/or stop eating and die. I chose option two.
All you have to do is identify your pain points in money management and find good workarounds. You’d be surprised what kinds of crazy things are out there:
- Mint is a free budgeting tool that auto-updates your budget so you don’t have to
- Debitize will pay your credit card for you
- Betterment will invest your money for you
- Qoins will round up your purchases and send that cash towards your debt
- Acorns will round up your purchases and invest that money
- Honey will find coupon codes for you automatically before you check out online
- Freshbooks will automatically track payments from your side (or full-time) hustle
- ToDoist will automatically remind you to do things
Now, go forth my friends—be lazy, and improve your finances at the same time!
What lazy workarounds do you use to improve your finances? Leave a comment below!