How To Be Lazy And Still Be On Top Of Your $$$
A lot of bad things have been said about laziness and often, it’s seen as a quality linked to failure. But I disagree. Laziness is an art that wraps itself around the intricacies of my daily life. I choose to spend my energy on what matters; dog, family, career (yes, in that order).
The rest – life’s chores like financial planning and vacuuming – are harder for me to care about. Through my years of laziness, I’ve accumulated a sloth-like wisdom. There are small tasks we can all do to improve our lives and our financial health. Think of the following points as “minimum effort, maximum reward” so you can focus on the things that matter (like your dog) or, you know, watch a lot of Netflix.
#1 Remove the sweetest of temptations
If I’ve learnt one thing from being a freelancer (aka, Low-Income Earner Pty Ltd), it’s knowing your financial weaknesses. Whether it’s new release Black Milk clothing or a personalised planner with gold-foil lettering, learn to opt out of your temptations.
When an email subscription service pops into your inbox, take a moment to send it to junk. I’ve found when it comes to online shopping, “out of sight out of mind” is key. This also extends it to the real world: stay clear of shopping centres. Especially during sale time. You might try to tell yourself you’re saving money, but long-term wears like black jeans or blazers rarely go on sale. Saving 30% on a trend item will only hurt your wallet when you can’t bear to wear it in three months.
You can’t pine for that Gorman jumpsuit that makes your butt look fantastic when you don’t know it exists, right?
Being lazy has never been so easy after online banking came into being. If you have $5,000 in savings that you won’t be depending on in the next few months or years, set up a high-interest term deposit. This is a special type of account which offers higher interest rates if you keep your cash there for a certain amount of time – and the interest rate increases the longer time you opt to put it away. For example, the rates could be 1.50% p.a. if you hand over your money for a month, 2.10% p.a. for six months and 2.35% p.a. return for a whole year.
Let’s do some early 2000s Photoshop maths. If you start with, $10,000 for example, you could be earning $235 annually. It takes five minutes to apply online and for free money, that ain’t half bad.
#3 Pay your dues
If you have a mortgage, credit card debt or car repayments, consider topping up your payments every now and then. Considering interest rates, this will save you money long term. It may also help ease that recurring chest pain when you calculate how many years left you have to repay that car that was brutally dented by a runaway shopping cart.
#4 Get yourself a cushion
When I think of my freest, laziest self and how that is embodied, I think of a slug enjoying the sweet ease of moving through the day, slowly but surely, enjoying the sunshine. The idea of not being able to make rent or my car being written off? That’s a handful of salt being poured on my body by a malicious twelve-year-old. What I’m trying to say with this off-putting analogy, is that you should really have an emergency fund.
We should all incorporate an emergency fund into our lives. When my car was hit by a bus, I had to pay $950 upfront to my insurance company for them to begin an investigation.
There are lots of surprise costs that pop up after the world has slammed you, from a family member’s funeral costs to sudden unemployment. A buffer is a self-care tool that will help you get through the rough patches just a little easier.
The good news – budgets are easy once you’ve set them up. So you can be lazy and shuffle off some cash for your future self. Learn how to start one here.
Katerina Bryant is a writer and editor based in Adelaide. Her work has appeared in the Griffith Review, Going Down Swinging and the Meanjin Blog, amongst others. She tweets at @katerina_bry.