A Guide to Substantially Improving Your Life in 3 Frugal WaysBy Ernest Hamilton, UniversityHerald Reporter
One of the great journeys in life is to continually better yourself. Self-help is a billion-dollar industry and motivational speakers and authors make a living selling you advice on how to fix your life.
At the end of the day, though, most of their advice will not really improve your life if you're not psychologically ready to embrace change. For that reason, a lot of people spend way too much money over-complicating their costly self-help rituals.
Here are 3 easy ideas for how to think practically about self-improvement:
Don't be embarrassed about medical problems.
Virtually no one is completely healthy. Everyone's got something, whether it's bad knees, a congenital heart arrhythmia, or something simple like a minor allergy. While great strides have been made in destigmatizing medical conditions, especially in matters of mental health, many people still forgo discussing problems with their doctors because they are sheepish about disclosing personal details.
One of the most obvious and common examples of this is erectile dysfunction, which affects some 18 million American males. More and more men and their partners are acknowledging this condition and trying to do something about it. In the past, you could spend exorbitant amounts of money trying out pills, pumps, and even surgery to combat ED. These days, a safe and simple ED device can realign your blood flow and physiology without the side effects reported in other treatments.
Another example would be smoking. Smoking cigarettes is widely known to cause cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and a variety of other grisly health conditions. Many smokers are embarrassed by their habits and hide it as best they can instead of confronting their addiction head-on and seeking help. There is a new generation of smoking cessation aids that are more effective and less expensive.
The longer you kick the can down the road on treating your medical problems, the worse - and more expensive - they will become. Embrace the journey.
Balance your checkbook....even if you don't have a checkbook.
In previous decades, pretty much everyone had a checkbook. They used checks for groceries and other larger purchases. Nowadays, with debit cards, Apple pay, Paypal, Venmo, Cash App, and the rise of online commerce, checkbooks are not nearly as common. People have checking accounts, yes, but much fewer people - especially younger people - actually carry around a checkbook and they are much more likely to use a card or make an online payment.
However, that doesn't mean that the principle of "balancing your checkbook" can't still be applied. The basic premise is keeping track of all your outgoing payments so that you always know your bank balance and can plan accordingly. The concept holds up even in this new post-check world.
New online bank account portals and even third-party apps allow you to easily organize your finances in a new digital incarnation of "balancing the checkbook." These tools are usually free.
Stop living on credit....unless you have no choice
The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the finances of millions of Americans, causing millions of job losses, defaults, and evictions. If you're living off your credit card right now, you should know that you are not alone. Many families are dependent on loans, cash advances, and credit right now to pay rent/mortgage, put food on the table, and keep the heat on during the winter.
However, if you have enough money, either in savings or as an on-going salary, you're much better off not driving up a credit card debt. It can really come back to haunt you later in life.
Once you reach a certain point with a large credit card debt, your monthly payments are no longer even chipping away at the balance - you're literally just paying off the interest that has accumulated. This is a morbid cycle to get into and one you should avoid at all costs.
Do you have any simple, frugal methods for self-improvement? Share them with us.