I Hate It When The Undead Steal My Power

In the quest for growing up to be a responsible, frugal adult person, every little bit counts.  Lately I have been trying to minimize my electrical bill at home by watching out for leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms, and such.  Imagine my horror when I cam across this news piece that tells the tale of how your power can be seeped away under your unsuspecting nose!   Some ‘vampires’ prefer energy over blood.

Picture any appliance that displays a clock while otherwise idle, such as a microwave oven, coffee maker or DVD player. They constantly consume little bits of energy.

Fiends!

Fight Back Debt With A Viscious Snowball Attack!

From over at ZenHabits.netThe 12-Step Get-Out-of-Debt Program

My favorite bit is Step 9 –

Start a snowball. Now that your finances are relatively under control, you can start a debt snowball. At this point, you should have the beginnings of an emergency fund, you should know how much you owe, you should have a temporary spending plan, you should be paying bills on time and controlling your spending. Now you can focus on paying your debt. Here’s what to do: If you can find at least $100 from your spending plan, use that to start your debt snowball. You may need to cut back on discretionary spending (as you did in Steps 2 and 3). Or, once your emergency fund is at $1,000, you can use the amount you were putting into that account for your debt snowball. If you have trouble finding $100 for a debt snowball, you need to look at what other expenses you can cut back on. OK, once you’ve found at least $100 for your debt snowball (and more would be better), take a look at your debt spreadsheet. First, order the debts from the smallest amount owed to the largest. Now, look at your smallest debt owed – you will start by paying $100 (your debt snowball) plus the minimum monthly payment on that debt each month, until the debt is paid off. When the debt is paid off, you will take the amount you were paying on it (let’s say $50 monthly payment plus the $100 debt snowball for a total of $150) and pay it to your next smallest debt, until it is paid off. Continue to pay off your debts, one at a time, until they are all paid off. Now you have a large sum you can put into growing your emergency fund, and funding your irregular expenses, and finally start investing.

This particular idea fro dealing with debt has been floating around the net for a while (at least as far as I have noticed) and I think it’s brilliant.  You can’t just skip right to here though, believe me, I tried.  You need to get a foundation in place first that includes a realistic assessment of your current spending habits, debt totals, and a reasonable budgeting plan.  Those steps take work, but once they are done you can start the fun filled, downhill run of snowballing your debts right out of sight.

And, who doesn’t want that?

Death to the Modern Work Week!

Leo, of ZenHabits, knocks one out of the park again with his latest contribution at LifeHack.org. Minimize Work: Cut Your Work Week in Half in 6 Steps. Thanks Leo! His six step process is well thought out, complete, difficult, and I believe well worth an attempt (to one degree or another.) In a nut shell –

1. Become super valuable. If you’re not already one of the top performers in your company, or an expert or extremely knowledgeable in a valuable area, this will be your first priority. You must become extremely valuable.

  • My first thought is that this is easier in highly technical fields, Database Administration, Network Infrastructure Management, Website Maintenance. But, really, all this means is that you have developed a skill that others value, to a high level.

2. Work for yourself. Once you’re super valuable, you’ve got what it takes to quit your job. Why give all this value to a company when you could be giving it to yourself? Cut out the middleman and hire out your services directly.

  • Leo, also gives an interim step, which is to build a side business. That’s my particular take, having made myself more valuable at work lately, I have less worry time after work and can devote more time to the things that matter to me; writing (with a subset of blogging), Aikido and spiritual study. The first two lead to income, the third is just a good idea.

3. Raise your rates. In order to support your lifestyle on half your work week, you’ll need to make the same (or more) money while working fewer hours.

  • Your increased rates should map to the increased value of step 1.

4. Know your biggest ROI tasks. Which are the tasks that will really make you money, that will make a name for you, that will give you the most bang for your buck?

  • This is part of the 80/20 rule now popular in self-organization.  In this particular usage – 80% of your profits come from 20% of your tasks.

5. Set your hours. OK, you’ve done a lot of work to get to this step, but you’re now at that beautiful stage where you can control your work week.

  • Whee! This is part of the true failing of the modern work paradigm. It is simply a fact that different people have different bio-rhythms and are more productive at different times.

6. Focus. OK, you’ve set your dream work week, and you know what tasks you should be doing during those hours (your MITs), and you’ve set a pay rate that’s high enough to support you financially. Now you just need to do the MITs within the hours you set.

  • If you want to get all your money making done in half the time there is no way around this step.

One thing to keep in mind about the above plan is this – Do you really want the type of work life it entails.  You may not.  I, myself, would love this kind of life.  But, whether such a plan is for you or not, Leo has done a grand job of laying out a very clear way to get there.