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6 Common Chores You Actually Don’t Need To Pay Someone Else To Do

6 Common Chores You Actually Don’t Need To Pay Someone Else To Do

Too often it’s too easy to just let someone else do it…no matter what the “it” is. From lunch to changing the oil in our car to mowing the lawn, these tedious little chores seem to be worth the extra $20 or $30 spent to not have to do them.

But with the price of gas and food rising, it might be wise to start cutting back on expenditures. A great place to start is to start doing the little chores we pay others to do for us. You might find that you’re paying somewhere around $100 a week — or even more — to other people for chores you could be doing yourself. Think of the ways you could spend — or save $100. At the end of a year, that could be the cruise you’ve been dying to take!

In addition, there is something very satisfying about completing basic tasks, especially if our jobs aren’t very physical in nature. Doing chores like yard work and housecleaning get you working out a bit, without having to “work out.”

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Here are a few common chores you can do yourself:

1. Basic Auto Maintenance

From changing your own oil to changing the air filter, there are many small car chores you can do yourself. Have that neighbor you always see under his car teach you how to change your oil — or grab a Haynes manual from the local auto parts store and read how to do it yourself. You can also replace your own lights, air filter, windshield wipers, battery and brake pads. All of these things are fairly simple to do, you just need the manual specific to your car to see how it’s done. Don’t be afraid of doing these little things! You can save yourself a ton of money by performing these basic maintenance chores by not paying someone else to do them — and in the preventative maintenance that will keep your car running well.

2. Prepare Your Own Taxes

This is really simple, especially with the advent of online tax preparation software. It’s amazing, in fact, that anyone (aside from a large corporation) still pays other people to do their taxes. Programs like TurboTax, ask you simple to answer questions and you just plug in the right numbers from your W-2 or 1099. The cost is low or free depending on your income and you can even file different schedules for businesses, farms or other tax issues. Your state taxes can also be done at the same time. And with direct deposit, you receive your refund quickly — without having to pay a fee to a tax preparer.

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3. Yard Work

Doing your own yard work is one of the best ways to get in a great work out and still get your yard work done. Grab a push mower and weed whacker and have at it. Take your time. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Make a plan for tackling different jobs from mowing to weeding the flower beds. And if you’re going to be away for a couple of weeks, schedule someone to come and do the job. With some companies charging as much as $50 a lawn, it’s money in your pocket to mow it yourself.

4. Housecleaning

How much do you really need a housecleaner? I mean really. If you’re suffering from a large mess due to an illness or some other issue, it might be nice to hire someone to help you get started, but once you have things under control, it’s easy to keep up. When you’re in the bathroom in the morning, brushing your teeth, take a second to wipe down the sink. The shower can be easily scrubbed once every couple of days while you’re in it. Do all the floors at once, while you have the broom and mop bucket out. Make sure you always wipe down the sink after you do the dishes and the stove after each meal. But no one cleaned behind the piano? Well, if you can’t see it and your mother-in-law can’t see it — who cares? Get behind the piano during spring cleaning and forget about the baseboards most of the time. Most people don’t even notice — and you’re real friends know that you live in your house, you don’t just clean it.

Check out the Fly Lady, who has great tips for keeping a clean house without going crazy.

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5. Wash your own car

And don’t do it very often. Really, how dirty does your car really get? I mean really? Won’t it rain soon? If not, and you just can’t take the build up of dust on your car, then get out the hose and the sponges and let the kids go to town doing it. But really, car washing is one of those things that’s best done once in a while – save yourself the time, the water and the cash.

6. Dry cleaning

Does anyone go to the dry cleaners anymore? Well, they shouldn’t. Between handwashing and those funky packages they sell to do your own dry cleaning in your dryer, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for someone else to do your laundry. Even better — don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

 

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What other chores are simple to do yourself and can save you money? Let us know! Comment below.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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