The New Year is a great time to evaluate your current health and financial situation and put a plan in place. This positive energy can take many forms—exercise, losing weight, stopping an unhealthy habit. There are many ways we can all make changes for the good. Even simply something as simple as replacing everyday household items can lead to a better and healthier you.
Everything you use has a shelf life. Here’s a list of items you should consider replacing regularly, if not right away:
- Personal items, like your toothbrush and pillow
The American Dental Association advises replacing your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months—even sooner if the bristles look frayed or worn. Also consider replacing it when you get over an illness, like the common cold or strep throat. Healthy teeth and a great smile will improve not only your health but your mental well-being.You love your favorite bed pillow, but a worn-out pillow that doesn’t give optimal support to your head and neck will affect your sleep and even your health. Many doctors agree that you should replace pillows every two years. And don’t forget to keep them clean. If you wash your pillowcases as regularly as your sheets but don’t wash the pillows themselves, your pillows are likely to be full of dead skin and dust mites. That’s kind of gross. So, wash and replace your pillows regularly to enjoy healthier breathing and hopefully improve any allergies you may have.
- Heating and air conditioning filters
One of the best things you can do for your health is to regularly replace your filters. Filters are designed to protect you from allergens, smog, smoke, dust, pollen and animal dander. This all builds up on the filter and can hamper the functionality of the HVAC—plus your health could suffer. Check the filter manufacturer’s recommendation on how frequently to replace it.
- Athletic shoes
How long have you been running or exercising in your current shoes? Sneakers wear down over time with the support and cushioning decreasing with every jog, and this could lead to injury. If the outer sole has worn through to the midsole, it’s time to go shopping for some new sneakers. How often you use your shoes and what condition they’re in will dictate when you should consider replacing them.
- Toilet brushes
Don’t forget to replace your toilet bowl brushes regularly, especially if there’s been any gastrointestinal illness in the house. ‘Nuff said…
- Water filters
The filters in your refrigerator, faucets and home filtration systems should be replaced every 6 months. Refrigerator filters should be changed every six months. Your dishwasher also has a filter that is recommended to be replaced every 3-6 months.
- Worn-out tires
This is one of the most important items on this list. If you are driving on bald tires to save money—don’t! It could lead to an accident which could hurt you or others, involve high medical bills, and you could be held financially liable. Line up an appointment with your local tire business or other retailer. Compare prices; some offer “Buy 3, Get 1 Free” deals or other incentives.
What about “minimalism”?
The concept of a minimalistic lifestyle focuses on reducing clutter. Minimalists find that it eliminates stress and distraction from their lives and opens doors to new opportunities. It doesn’t mean you stop spending money, but rather you change your focus from buying “things” to enjoying life with hobbies, trips, vacations and family. This may also mean a possible early retirement or better vacations.
Take a look at these areas and see if you can tap your inner-minimalist to declutter for peace of mind and help save money:
- Shred unnecessary papers
Do you save every scrap of paper? Recycle or shred them regularly to open up space in your home and free your mind from looking at piles of paper everywhere. You can shred papers at UPS stores or other retailers. Tower also offers free shred events several times a year at select branches. Upcoming shred days are posted in TowerLine, on Tower’s social media pages and at our branches.
- Clean out the refrigerator and pantry
You’re sure to save money by eating what you have in the house before going on a big run to the supermarket. Who knows? You may even invent some tasty recipes of your own by taking this challenge. If you need a little help, check out these apps designed to help you make meals out of ingredients on hand: BigOver, Yummly or SideChef. Don’t forget to toss what is expired before you whip up your new dishes.
- Donate clothes you no longer or can’t wear
Many charities will regularly email you to schedule pickups of clothing or goods for those less fortunate, or they sell them to support veterans and other charities. You can also donate items to your local thrift shop or resell things online and make some money for an emergency fund or other expense.
If you really embrace minimalism, you’ll probably need less room to store everything that you have collected over the years. So, if you’re motivated to downsize, you might save money on rent or mortgage. It could also lower your utilities costs, freeing up even more money to spend on the things that are most important to you.
Finally, budget your money for better living. As you discover what is most important to you, it becomes easier to decide when and how to spend your money. So, make a budget and stick to a spending plan based on your current priorities.
A realistic budget may uncover areas where you can change the way you handle your money, for example the amount that you pay in interest each month on various loans and credit cards. Look for ways to consolidate that debt and save money on interest.
Resources: Acorns, The Balance.com, Money Talks News