Personal finance bloggers love to help people develop sound money habits that will yield positive results if consistently applied over time. Many of these habits are hard to develop especially when they require great amounts of sacrifice. It took me a long time to realize I had issues with spending and an even greater length of time to bring that habit under control.
But success with finances doesn’t have to be difficult or take years of intense work learning how to budget or invest properly. In fact, there are some simple, everyday activities that take 60 seconds or less that could greatly impact a person’s future financial well-being. These require only minor preparation and even less time to execute.
Four 60 Seconds or Less Activities
Here are the four, everyday money-saving activities I’m doing right now that take me 60 seconds or less to accomplish:
1. Vitamin Supplements. I’m eating healthier the older I get and the more I realize how diet impacts my running. However, with four on-the-go kids, some days it’s a challenge. I also understand the confusing research that says vitamin supplements don’t contribute to overall health improvement. The jury still seems to be out on this, with both sides presenting evidence in their favor. And we definitely don’t want to over-supplement. The best way to get all the vitamins we need is still through our diet.
Regardless, each day I take one Men’s One-A-Day multivitamin and one 500-mg chewable vitamin C tablet to supplement my diet. I estimate the One a Day pills cost me $.08 each and the vitamin C tablets I get from Costco cost me $.03. That’s a miniscule expenditure for the potential benefits to my heart, immune system and energy levels that these pills claim they bring.
If I can reduce future medical costs and avoid missing work due to illness, this seems to be a no-brainer to me. Even if the benefits are small, I’ll take them.
Time required: 45 seconds max (to get a glass of water, swallow one vitamin and chew another)
2. Flossing. I have epic struggles with this one. I’m awesome at brushing my teeth. However, like I used to be with exercise, I’m on-again for months with flossing, then off-again for the same length of time.
This simple activity has many benefits that improve overall health and reduce the potential for expensive dental procedures as one becomes older. Obviously it reduces the buildup of plaque and reduces the risk of tooth decay and gingivitis. It helps with bad breath and aids in the whitening of teeth.
Plus it helps remove those lunchtime sesame seeds or that piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth. Hate to show up at a job interview with that issue. The turnoff could cost you a position.
Time Required: 60 seconds or less (unless you break the floss and have to get another piece)
Addendum: After writing this post, I ran across this video that shows the proper way to floss. Using the proper method (which it seems like I don’t) may require an additional minute or two.
3. Loud Music in Headphones. When I bought my first Walkman as a kid (remember those?), my parents warned me about the damage listening to loud music could cause. I didn’t care. I turned up the volume anyway.
Of course, now that I’m older, I’m telling my kids the same thing. But I’ve become interested in this for another reason – my running. I love listening to music while out on the road. Sometimes I need the burst of energy that one special song can bring (“Eye of the Tiger” anyone?).
But today’s headphones are much different than the ones I grew up with. Mine were the foamy-mesh that fit on the outside of the ear. (Remember how that mesh ripped and disintegrated over time?) Today we have ear buds that fit right into the ear canal, putting the music that much closer to the inner ear and leaving less room for sound to diffuse into the air. We also have Beats by Dre headphones that cover the entire ear like a Princess Leia hair bun.
As much as it bothers me to do so, I’ve begun to turn my music way down on long runs and run without it on the shorter runs. I don’t want to experience ringing in my ears or any type of hearing loss that can come from listening to music too long and too loud. And I definitely don’t want the medical bills that would follow.
Time Required: 5 seconds or less to turn your music down (seriously no one around you wants to hear what you are listening to!)
4. Wallet in Back Pocket. I used to laugh at this until I did an experiment for two weeks and realized how much better I felt. I have a really thin wallet, but I noticed a big difference in how comfortable I felt while sitting without a wallet in my back pocket.
Evidently this is a common reason for back pain (which I had experienced in the past), including sciatica, which the dictionary describes as “pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back.” Here is an image of what a wallet in the back pocket does to the spinal cord:
That doesn’t look healthy to me. (Image courtesy of BasicHealthGuide.com.)
Time Required: 3 seconds to take your wallet out of your pants pocket, unless it’s as big as the one in this video (Disclaimers: Luke1428 loves George Costanza’s frugality; his organizational methods, not so much. We also love Jerry’s humor – just not every word he uses to express it. Enjoy!)
Question: What other activities could save thousands of dollars in future medical bills that only require 60 seconds or less?
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Prior Post: “I’m Rich!” – How to Handle a Lump Sum of Money