15 Unusual Ways to Make Your Life Easier

justin-casey-528838-unsplash.jpg

We all want to feel like busy, less stressed, and less like we’re being pulled in a dozen different directions. Between work, kids (if you have any), aging parents, finances, and general daily life, things can get hectic. That’s why we at Guiding Wealth are all about finding and sharing tools that can make our clients’ — and readers’ — lives easier.

So today, we’re sharing our list of tools that you maybe haven’t heard of or considered that can help make your life a bit easier. While these things can cost money, we know from our clients and our own experience that they’re definitely worth it.

Services That Make Traveling Easier

1. A travel agent

For anyone who has ever traveled, you know that having someone else handle the details and bookings sounds heavenly. But it’s not out of reach! Travel agents are in virtually every city and can help you:

  • Choose the best destinations

  • Book packages that aren’t available anywhere else

  • Handle emergencies if they arise

  • Get exclusive access to resorts, activities, etc.

  • Save money on the best trips

Nobody likes booking a trip that ends up being a disaster or a hotel that definitely doesn’t look like the pictures online. A travel agent can help with that — and they’re a lot more affordable than you think (and sometimes free).

2. RV travel insurance

The RV life is a symbol of retirement for many, but it’s important that you don’t just assume your RV is covered by regular insurance. RVs are heavier, have more complex parts, and cost more if they break down, so you need really good RV insurance. But the best RV insurance won’t just cover your RV. It’ll actually:

  • Provide transportation back home if you need it

  • Fly someone out to drive you if you are unable to continue driving

  • Board or fly your pets home if needed

  • Provide coverage in some of the most remote areas (not every shop can perform RV repairs, which leads to RV repairmen driving hundreds of miles to get to a broken-down RV)

Companies like GoodSam offer some of the most extensive RV insurance coverage, but they’re not the only ones. Do your research to find a company that has testimonials and proof showing the lengths they’ve gone to return people (and their RVs) home after an accident, illness, or breakdown.

3. Flying with TSA PreCheck

What’s better than not waiting in long lines when you’re flying? Signing up for TSA PreCheck is worth it and totally easy. Just follow the steps on the TSA’s website.

4. Pack Up + Go

Have you ever taken a surprise trip where you didn’t know where you going but someone else had the itinerary and told you what to pack? Most of us haven’t, but it’s a big recommendation from some of Guiding Wealth clients (and our travel agent connection). Pack Up + Go is a travel service that just asks your budget and who you’re traveling with (solo or as a group). Then, they book a surprise vacation for you! They handle all the details — you just show up at the airport. Most of their trips are domestic to the U.S. but they also offer some international trips. How fun is this?

Tools to Streamline Daily Life

Who doesn’t want to make everyday life a bit easier? Our team and our clients have used these services and they all come highly recommended:

1. HelloFresh or Blue Apron

There are a ton of these meal subscription services, but the ones we hear about the most are HelloFresh and Blue Apron. These services deliver all the ingredients you need to make meals, and they tell you exactly how to prep the meals they’ve sent! This is great for empty nesters and retirees who want fresh food but don’t want to go shopping or get tons of food, or for really busy families who want good food but don’t have time to shop (or hate it).

2. Housekeepers

A clean house is priceless, and housekeepers are worth everything penny. Plus, if you ask around (and don’t use a national chain service), you can get a great housekeeper who is really affordable — and reliable. You can hire a housekeeper who comes every 2-3 weeks or even once a month to manage laundry, deep cleaning, and more. This is perfect for anyone, but especially active retirees and busy families who have better things to do than clean.

3. TaskRabbit

Imagine having a handyman and an errand boy or girl on speed dial. That’s exactly what TaskRabbit is. This platform has thousands of background-checked people who are ready to  for running errands (this is great for busy retirees, too! Or for single / widowed people who need a little extra help getting things done)

4. Grocery delivery services

Larger grocery chains now offer grocery apps and websites that allow you to order your groceries and then pick them up — without ever stepping inside the store. Chains like Kroger, Central Market, and Whole Foods offer this, as well as some other local chains. Check your local grocery store to see if they offer something similar, as it cuts down on time and money (because you can’t spontaneously buy that bag of chips or chocolate).

5. Uber / Lyft

Cabs have always been difficult to arrange, but now we have Uber and Lyft. These app-based rideshare services allow you to simply call on a driver based on your location. You can choose from a few options on each platform, including a single ride, a shared ride (which pools you with other riders who are going in the same general direction) and even “black car service.” This is great for fancy nights out or even client meetings where you want to impress everyone. The best part? It’s affordable and saves you from needing to park, move the car, or drive in heavy traffic.

Financial Apps That Make Daily Management Easier

1. You Need a Budget

We’ve talked about You Need a Budget (YNAB) before because we think it’s just such a great tool for managing your daily finances and household budget. Essentially, YNAB allows you to connect your accounts, your cards, and any other expenses that you pay so that you can get a real-time picture of what goes where. Their platform and app are easy to use, especially if you’re married or in a relationship.

2. Guiding Wealth dashboard

Of course, we have to talk about our Guiding Wealth dashboard, which provides a total view of your accounts, whether it’s checking, savings, retirement, college funds, or stocks. This way, you get a really easy to read overview of your cash and assets, so you can stay on track with your financial planning goals. (For current Guiding Wealth clients, you can find your dashboard here.)

Fun “Splurges” That Are Oh-So-Worth It

Last but not least, we’re sharing some of our clients’ favorite splurges:

1. Decorator / Organizer

This is something that Hannah is benefiting from right now. She’s working with a decorator/organizer to work on her office space and house — and it’s making a huge impact. If you’re not sure what to do with a space, all your stuff, or you need help organizing the things you need most, a professional organizer can be a huge help. Interior decorators are also great for designing your spaces in a way that are comfortable yet stylish. Of course, they do cost a little bit, but you can always find referrals from friends or family to make sure you find someone who matches your needs.

2. StoryWorth

Parents and grandparents have a ton of stories, some of which you’ve never heard or thought to ask about. StoryWorth is such a neat idea; it sends a weekly story prompt to your loved ones and they can write their responses. Then, the platform saves those stories and then creates a bound, keepsake book for you at the end of the year. This is a beautiful gift for your parents and grandparents, but also for yourself. It’s something you can all treasure for years to come.

3. Audible

Audiobooks are a lifesaver for anyone who loves to read, but also wants to be active. Whether you’re still commuting to and from work, have a long road trip, or just like to have something to listen to while doing the housework, Audible is perfect. You can buy individual credits for books or they do occasionally have sales where you can buy a bundle of credits at a discounted rate. If you’re new to Audible, they usually offer your first audiobook for free.

4. Professional pictures

With social media, pictures feel like they’re a dime a dozen. But professional pictures of the whole family (taken by someone who has a really good camera, not just a smartphone) are the perfect gift for everyone, and they’re something you can display proudly for years to come. They definitely cost more than a cell phone selfie, but they’re beautifully posed and edited so that everyone looks great.

While this list is pretty extensive, we know it’s not the end-all-be-all of resource lists. So we want to know: do you have a life-changing tool you want to share? Let us know in the comments or share it with us on Facebook. We’ll make sure to add it to this list so other people can benefit from it!

Hannah Signature.png