Life Hacks

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I love learning new things, especially ones which make my life more organized or easier.  Scouring the Internet extensively, I have learned and employed many of these life hacks throughout my life.  The most recent one that I am “testing” is a new way of exercising, which I learned from the book “Body by Science”.  This book promotes an exercise regime which is completely different from any that I’ve seen – essentially basing the entire program on one workout per week, which takes about 15 minutes to do.  The workout (in my experience) is not easy, as it is supposed to stress the body to the point that it will force strength gains between workouts, but has reduced my time at the gym significantly.  I’ll see how much more I am able to lift in two or three months to assess this “hack”, but so far it seems to be working.

I would also put intermittent fasting into the life hack category.  Rather than having to watch everything I eat constantly, this method of eating (by not eating for a 24 hour period once or twice a week) allows me to maintain the body-weight that I want with minimal discomfort or hand-wringing over calories.

I see early retirement as the ultimate life hack.  Keeping my expenses low, I am essentially trading money made earlier in my life for more free time later on. Our low expenses (by North American standards) could allow my wife and I to live a considerably more lavish lifestyle.  We could go on more trips, live in a bigger house, own a second (or “nicer”) car, or a number of “improvements” to our current lifestyle.

Instead of making the aforementioned “improvements”, we have decided to use this money to increase our chances of financial independence from our work.  Our intention is to have high enough investment returns to replace the income that we are earning at our jobs.  There is no real trick to our plan however, other than attempting to keep our annual spending to approximately 35% of our annual earnings.  We do this by making sure we pay the most important things first (right now our mortgage, eventually it will be investments) and then planning our budget for the rest of the month.

While most lifehacks on the internet are small little additions to projects, such as using a post-it note to catch dust when drilling into drywall, or putting nail-polish on your keys to be able to tell them apart, an early retirement plan does not provide instantaneous feedback.  A retirement plan does not allow for this kind of feeling at all, we’re just hoping this will come down the road.

Do you have any helpful “Lifehacks”?  Have you tried anything you’ve read in a book or on the Internet that failed miserably?

Post Script:
I have one more that my wife and I have been using for the last year or so that lots of people we tell seem to like.  We were constantly misplacing pillowcases or sheets, until I saw a picture online with the simple tip of folding up one pillow case and the two sheets in a set and putting them inside of the other pillowcase….problem solved.

2 thoughts on “Life Hacks”

  1. Social Hack
    One of my lifehacks was to change the lifestyle of my friends for the ways that affected me. In order to keep up my social lifestyle, I actively organized BBQ’s and get-togethers at my house for my friends and declined invitations to restaurants and bars. Soon my friends reciprocated the same. For other social activities, I found cheap and fun local activities to do around my hometown such as horse back riding, visiting sugar shacks and trying out mushing.
    All these activities had a low cost and replaced higher lifestyle activities.

    Reno Hack
    In my first property reno, I installed DIY granite counter-tops for $500 in my kitchen. First I found a granite importer that brought in chinese granite slabs and sold them for $200-300/slab. The edge and surface was finished so all I had to do was to fit them and cut them with a $50 angle grinder. An over-mount sink was installed so I didn’t have to finish the sink hole.

  2. Looking forward to an update on the Body by Science method – I’ve checked it out before but haven’t done it. It seemed too easy I guess.

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