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Review (and a Contest!): “10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget” by the Writers at Wisebread

Review (and a Contest!): “10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget” by the Writers at Wisebread

Live Large on a Small Budget

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      For years now, the folks at Wisebread have been giving out great advice on living well for less. Now they’ve gathered all their wisdom together between two covers in 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, a new book featuring hundreds of great ideas from all their talented writers. Beautifully designed and engagingly written, 10,001 Ways… is a fun read straight through, and a great reference you’ll return to again and again.

      The book is divided into two big parts. The first, “Frugal Living”, is a guide to cutting costs while maintaining – and even improving – your quality of life. With sections on food and drink, travel, health and beauty, shopping and bargain hunting, green living, and education and self-improvement, Part 1 offers plenty of tips you can put into action immediately.

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      The second major part, “Personal Finance”, is about managing your money and, hopefully, increasing your individual wealth. The basics of budgeting, financial planning, and investing are covered, accompanied by a section on handling credit cards and debt and another with tips on advancing your career and making more money. 

      Although the book doesn’t get much into philosophy, the Wisebread approach has always been living well without living above your means. In the wake of global economic problems, massive job losses, unstable gas prices, and general uncertainty on a day-to-day basis, this message has never been more welcome. What 10,001 Ways… offers is a practical, grounded, and sensible approach to living and enjoying life – something a lot of us have been missing in the consumption-driven lifestyles that have become almost inescapable over the last couple of decades.

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      Don’t worry, though – the tips in 10,001 Ways… are practical but they’re not boring. This isn’t a book about living in monastic simplicity or puritanical self-deprivation. The very first chapter is a quite thorough guide to picking affordable wines! (Tip: Seek spin-off labels from big-name wineries for top-quality wine at bargain-bin prices.) Some of the other topics covered in the book include:

      • 7 Ways to Lower Water Heater Costs (Try dropping the thermostat to 120°F to cut your energy cost for hot water by up to 10%)
      • 10 Killer Ways to Feel Like a Million Bucks (Strengthen your hamstrings. Sitting all the time leads to weakened hamstrings, which can lead to aches in your lower back, knees, and hips.)
      • The Best and Worst places to Stash Cash in Your Home (Tampon boxes are in; toilet tanks are out.)
      • 12 Ways to Become Rent- or Mortgage-Free (Have you thought about living in a yurt? They’re affordable, comfortable, and you get to say “yurt” all the time – what more could you possibly need or want?)
      • 20 Signs That a Pink Slip Is Coming (Have you started getting a lot of requests by email or memo that could just as easily have been given in person? Your boss might be building up a paper trail to justify letting you go to HR…)
      • And plenty more – the title promises 10,001 tips, after all.

      All in all, I highly recommend 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget. For more information, check out the book’s homepage at Wisebread, or order it directly. Better yet, talk to your local public library librarian about ordering a case for their library, and check it out when it comes in – not only is that incredibly frugal, but you’ll be helping out your community as well! Or here’s another idea: keep reading for a chance to win your own copy, courtesy of Wisebread, absolutely free!

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      Contest: How Do You Live Large on a Small Budget?

      That’s right, the editors of 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget have offered a free copy of the book to a lucky Lifehack reader. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling your fellow Lifehack readers about your tip for living well without spending lots of cash. Tell us about your affordable luxuries, cheap thrills, and low-price high life.

      All entries must be received by 11:59 pm PDT, Saturday May 30, 2009 (limit: one entry per person) and you must leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win (don’t worry, email addresses aren’t published on the site). After the entries have been . received, I will select one winner at random using a random number generator. Entries will not be judged, but try to come up with something good, anyway – consider it a public service!

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      Last Updated on March 31, 2020

      Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

      Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

      Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

      Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

      There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

      Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

      Why We Procrastinate After All?

      We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

      Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

      Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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      To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

      If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

      Is Procrastination Bad?

      Yes it is.

      Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

      Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

      Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

      It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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      The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

      Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

      For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

      A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

      Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

      Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

      How Bad Procrastination Can Be

      Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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      After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

      One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

      That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

      Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

      In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

      You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

      More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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      Procrastination, a Technical Failure

      Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

      It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

      It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

      Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

      Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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