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In this video, Chelsea dives into actionable tips for improving your day-to-day life, from switching cell phone providers to switching up your daily commute. Click here to get started saving when you switch to Mint Mobile: https://www.mintmobile.com/blog/personal-finance-2022?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=tfd&utm_content=3/1

IRS tax withholding estimator: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/tax-withholding-estimator

Key tracker: https://chipolo.net/en-us/

1Password: https://1password.com/

Accountability stats: https://signatureanalytics.com/blog/accountability-partners-and-why-you-need-one/#:~:text=Your%20performance%20will%20improve%3A%20When,boosts%20that%20chance%20to%2095%25

Clutter & mental health: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201705/5-reasons-why-clutter-disrupts-mental-health

Travel hacker Julia: http://geobreezetravel.com/media-bio/

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Hey, guys.

This is Chelsea from The Financial Diet, and this week's video is sponsored by Mint Mobile. And this is a video with 18 points, so, long story short, making good changes in your life does not always mean making huge changes.

It's all about the small, but important, tweaks. So what are the 18 of them? Let me show you.

Number one, file your taxes early. And I know, I can hear you guys on the other side of this camera being like, ugh. And it sucks.

What can I tell you? Nobody likes filing taxes, but if you can file them early, it is such a huge and easy win. As this video is released, we will be about a month and a half out from tax day, so I know plenty of you will not have filed them yet.

And there is nothing magical about filing them in an earlier date, but getting rid of the anxiety that it holds over your head is a game changer. Especially, if you're worried about owing money to the government. But knowing your situation as soon as possible means that you can make a plan to pay for it.

Because if you do owe money to the IRS, that doesn't mean you have to pay it all right away. You can set up a payment plan that works for your budget. And if you know that you're not going to be in a place to file by tax day, for whatever reason, stop what you are doing right now, pause the video, but don't close the window, and go file for an extension on your taxes right now.

Number two, is switching to a better wireless service. For better or for worse, most of us spend a few hours a day on our phone. Some of us more than others.

And that is likely not going anywhere, because even if you're reducing screen time, wireless service is not really something we can live without. But just because communication is a fixed cost does not mean that it has to eat up your budget. And now that we're in tax season, we're in one of the best times of the year to get a new phone.

If you're getting one of those sweet, sweet refunds, for example. And with Mint Mobile, you'll get three months of service for what you'd pay for just one month of your typical service. Mint Mobile believes that everyone should have access to premium wireless service, on the super reliable T-Mobile 5G network, for as little as $15 a month.

They also offer an unlimited plan for only $30 a month. They keep their costs low, which keeps your costs low in return. And it's this mentality that got the attention of, actor and entrepreneur, Ryan Reynolds.

Who went beyond just using their service and became their owner in 2019. As one TFD commenter put it, "I love Mint Mobile. We saved $800 a year by ditching Verizon, and we have the same coverage.

Never going back. Oh, and we live in a more, rural setting, where even Verizon is known to have dead zones." That is a real comment. So click the link in our description to learn more about Mint Mobile, and see how you can save up to 100 a year on wireless service.

Number three, is to set up a "drop zone" just inside of your front door. This is mine. Listen, I used to not have one, and I was constantly losing things, constantly misplacing things, always having to search basic items leaving the house.

I even locked myself out of the apartment a couple of times, because I forgot to take my keys, and I used to have one of those doors that automatically locks behind you. So basically, create a nice little drop zone. It can be a beautiful tray, a set of hooks, a little mail sorter.

It can be as elaborate or as simple as you need, but keep one place where everything that you need, coming into and out of the door, is right there for you and you know where it is. If you want to get real fancy you can also put up a little whiteboard or chalkboard to leave yourself reminders and to do lists and get in the habit of treating that drop zone as a very important part of your mental routine and similarly Number four, is get a key tracker. A key tracker is a small device that attaches to your keychain and connects to an app on your phone, so that you'll never lose your keys.

We'll link you in the description to one called Chipolo, that also works the other way. If you can't find your phone, you can click the tracker to trigger your phone to make a beeping noise. Now, speaking of keys, how are your passwords doing?

Because some of my passwords, if I'm being real, are still a variation of the password I made up in high school that's based on my ex-boyfriend's name. Don't put that in this video someone could figure that out. You'll never figure it out, because it's based on my nickname for him that no one would have known, trust me.

It's not my husband's full name and birth date or something. But suffice to say, I've recently been switching to those really, really complicated passwords, and I highly recommend, for number five, that you set up a password management system. There are lots of them, a really good one that I use is 1Password.

But basically, these are just the systems that generate passwords for you, that are crazy and impossible to figure out. And keep them all for you in one place that only you can unlock. These are especially important for things like credit card accounts, or other really sensitive accounts that you definitely don't want people hacking into.

But I would say that's all of them. I don't even want someone seeing my Amazon history. Number six, is to get an accountability buddy for at least one habit you're trying to change.

Pick the habit, get a buddy. Whether you're trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, like me, or keep up with another exercise routine. Or spend less, or avoid certain foods, or whatever it might be, an accountability buddy is, statistically, one of the best ways to keep up with that new habit.

Research shows that when someone publicly shares their goals, they have around a 65% chance of success. However, having a specific accountability partner boosts that chance to about 95%." And if you don't have someone IRL to be a specific buddy for that goal, try going online to spaces that are full of like minded-people. Like, the TFD Facebook group, or you could join our society, and there's a whole slack channel that comes with it that you guys can keep each other accountable on.

For example, TFD team member, Holly, is in a Peloton group where people specifically post about looking for accountability partners for their workouts, and it works. I never worked out more than early COVID when I was doing four Zoom Pilates sessions a week with my friends. I mean, RIP to that version of myself, but it was a moment.

Number seven, is to schedule a regular "scary hour" with a friend. So similarly to the accountability system, this is a great way to take the things that you have been dreading, or putting off, and give yourself a dedicated time and mentally compartmentalize-able space in which to do them. I actually can't take credit for this.

This is my colleague, Jane, who told us about her doing this on a weekly basis with her sister. "Basically, the "scary hour" is where they set aside 60 minutes on Sundays and just do personal, life admin stuff that they have been putting off, for whatever reason. Doing it together holds them both accountable, but they also try to make it fun. Like with lighting a candle, turning on soft piano music, pouring themselves a nice beverage, or whatever they feel like that day.

Their phones are out of reach, and they're done once they hit 60 minutes." No matter what things you may be putting off in a given week, having this dedicated space where you're going to take care of them, it makes it so much easier to actually get them done and get them out of the way. Number eight, is internalize the rule of, "Don't put it down, put it away." A cluttered home is just not good for a lot of reasons, and one of them is how difficult it can be for mental health. According to a study from the University of New Mexico, clutter was negatively related to the psychological sense of home and ultimately to well-being.

As the authors concluded, clutter is often an insidious and seemingly harmless outgrowth of people's natural desire to appropriate their personal spaces with possessions. When clutter becomes excessive, it can threaten to physically and psychologically entrap a person in dysfunctional home environments, which contribute to personal distress and feelings of displacement and alienation. Additionally, having a cluttered home makes you want to spend less time there, leading you to go out more where survey says, costs more money.

And one of the best and most sustainable tips for avoiding clutter is to make a personal rule with yourself. And this is a great thing to loop in an accountability buddy for if you need one, as well as why having a drop zone by your door is so important. That when you are done with something you put it in its proper place rather than just setting it down.

If you can hold yourself accountable to this for even just a week, you would be shocked at how much it already starts to put you into the mindless habit of organizing things, rather than just setting them down. Number nine, is automate savings for a "just for fun" account. Now we often preach, at TFD, about the importance of saving for things like investments, or other important goals and sinking funds.

And of course, let's not underestimate the most important one of all, which should be prioritized above basically everything else, your emergency fund. But we know, psychologically, that people need a lot of little motivations and rewards along the way to stay consistent. So automating very small deposits to go into an account that's just for fun, just for you to use on whatever you want.

Whenever you want, without guilt, because you know that it is not coming at the cost of the rest of your budget, is a great way to do that. All you have to do is set up a small automated deposit to a savings account that is earmarked for whatever you want. It could be clothing spending, travel, concerts, shows, or just a general fun-fund, and you could pull from it whenever you want.

Because you are allowed to spend on frivolous things sometimes, you just have to budget for them. Number 10, is blocking chunks of time on your calendar just for you. Often, what happens is that we only actually use our calendars to plan for actual activities, commitments, work events, et cetera.

We're never using them to block out time for read this book, I've been meaning to read or just chill out for a while. Or don't schedule anything here, because I'm tired of always saying yes to everything and then feeling like I spent the entire weekend working. I'm very big on that, I love scheduling time for myself just to enjoy.

I mean, listen, I live in a two bedroom apartment. And my husband is obviously here too, so I'm very much in the habit of when I have television, that is appointment-viewing. You better believe it's on both of our calendars.

It is, Chelsea gets the TV, and I don't want to hear you, I don't want to see you, I don't want to know you exist. Do not mess up my vibe, and that's OK. That deserves as much a spot on my calendar as a meeting for work does, let me tell you, it's just as important.

Number 11, is set up a travel hacking plan. So travel hacking usually, in practice, just means optimizing how you're using your credit cards and which credit cards you're using in order to leverage the points, cash back, rewards, et cetera, to help subsidize, offset, or even totally pay for various expenses, like travel. You can get things like, flights for just points, hotels for free, or huge discounts on all of the above and more.

Now, there has to be some strategy, but setting aside even just one little afternoon to figure out how to optimize the credit cards you're already using, or how you can integrate new ones into your routines in order to help offset or even totally fund some of your travel plans later in the year or next, can be an incredibly powerful use of time. Now, obviously, credit cards should only be used within your means, meaning that you can always afford to pay them off, in full, at the end of the month and are never paying interest. But if you are using your credit cards wisely this way, there's no reason not to churn as many purchases as you can through them in order to reap all of those rewards and benefits.

And coming up with an early targeted plan based on where you want to go, things like airlines you're already using, or credit cards you already might have, is a great way to maximize what you're getting out of it. And we will link you to a primer on travel hacking, but if you just don't want to do it yourself, we'll also link you to a travel hacking expert, Julia of Geobreeze, that we've worked with several times here at TFD, who you can actually pay to come up with your travel hacking plan for you. Back to taxes, unfortunately, Number 12 is to use a withholding calculator.

So this is simply a tool to make sure that you're only withholding what you actually need from each paycheck and not giving the government more than what you actually need to pay in taxes. You should definitely be doing this every year, even if your income doesn't change much, because the tax laws may have changed for the country or your state. The IRS has their own tax withholding estimator, which we'll link you to, and if you find your withholding too much or too little, make sure to submit a new W-4 form with your employer.

Ask your HR for the right process of doing so. Number 13, is to assign different chores and domestic tasks to different days of the week. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by chores, or that you're always having to do them and always behind on them.

And the truth is that one person with a full time job, usually, can't do it all at once. So it's incredibly helpful to dedicate different days of the week to biting off different, small chunks of the overall chore agenda, so that you're never left feeling like you have to do it all. Maybe, Mondays are the days you vacuum and mop your floors.

Maybe, Tuesdays are the days you change your sheets. Maybe, Wednesdays are your big laundry day. Whatever it might be, making sure that you have a dedicated plan for each day of the week and what specific task they will tackle, means that you're not constantly, running behind what needs to be done and pushing the task off to tomorrow.

As a sub-divider to that point, I am a religious user of Excel Sheets for cleaning, where I have columns by the room, and then each of the cells is a different task within that room. And then, as I go through, I just gray out all the cells. I like to do it in one big, weekly deep clean, but you can also do it day by day and just gray it out as you go.

Number 14, is enforcing boundaries by offering alternatives. If you have people-pleaser tendencies, or hate letting people down, a really important thing to work on in small, actionable ways is setting, and keeping, better boundaries. And for many people who find it difficult to say no, it can often feel easier to say no when you're offering an alternative to whatever the ask was.

For example, if you're invited to a social outing that you just can't afford. Rather than feeling like you have to say no, or lie and say that you're busy, is to offer an alternative that actually fits into your budget. I'd love to hang out with you.

I'm on a bit of a budget right now, so that restaurant is going to be a little much for me. But why don't we both bring some food and have a picnic in the park, or come over to my place and we'll do potluck and watch some of our favorite shows. Remix this based on your needs.

I'm not your scriptwriter Number 15, and this one really hits home for me, double the amount of food you make for dinner. Now, I've been posting pictures of the food I make on my Instagram for, lo-these many years. And every time, without fail, that I post a picture of dinner that I made, usually it's a soup or pasta or whatever it might be.

I don't mix it up that much. I get so many questions. How many people are you cooking for?

How many does this serve? Isn't it just and your husband? Why did you make eight quarts of soup?

Listen, I'm sure you guys are smart, but how can you not understand that I freeze food? I say that I portion and freeze and/or put it in the fridge for leftovers constantly. But also, you have to understand that this is the way to cook.

I don't understand people-- I don't know if there are people who just, every night is like, Tabula Rasa, and they just cook another thing from scratch every single night. That never reuses ingredients or whatever it may be. I can't live that way.

I cook a fair amount, and I only cook a couple of times a week. And we usually eat leftovers at least one or two nights a week. this is how we have to live. So if you're cooking at all, at least find half of the meals you're making that you can easily double, or triple, or whatever.

And then you save, portion, save, freeze, whatever it may be, the rest of it. And listen, I am a soup-loving gal, but it's not really that I just love soup, which I do, it's also that soup is the easiest meal to portion and freeze. Same with like pasta sauces.

Weirdly, things like frittatas freeze really well. Point being, my cooking style is very geared toward what I can make in big batch and freeze. How can I still be getting this question every time I post food anyway?

Number 16, is mute or unfollow social media accounts that make you feel bad. I love home decor stuff, I mean, I'm definitely a novice. But it's something that brings me a lot of joy, and I really like to make a bit of a hobby.

And so I like following accounts that inspire me. But sometimes, I just see this absolutely perfect woman, who has an unlimited budget and half of her home is sponsored by like, Crate and Barrel, but it's never properly disclosed. And everything she posts is what I want but could never do, or what I have but 10 times better.

And I'm just like, I don't need this, unfollow. So I don't know what this is for you, I'm sure it's something else, but go through. You don't know any of these people you follow, and honestly, even if there are people in your own real life, mute them.

You don't need to be constantly exposing yourself to things that make you feel bad about yourself. Onward and upward. Alternatively, Number 17 is to follow more accounts that genuinely make you feel good about yourself.

Social media can be very helpful. It can help with things like aforementioned accountability. It can help normalize things that you are experiencing in your day-to-day life.

For example, following people who might live on a similar budget to you and talk about all the ways that they're creative with money. Or people who look like you or people who have the same interests as you but are maybe not amazingly perfect and flawless at it, which is what seems to be the trend on Instagram. Or you can follow accounts that bolster your skills.

If you're learning a language, follow accounts in that language. I have 50 Spanish meme accounts on my Instagram feed, and I don't understand 100% of the memes, but I get most of them. Point is, whatever accounts make you feel better about yourself, for whatever reason.

This is also why I only follow influencers over a certain age. Because I want to see older women living their best lives being normalized, because it makes me feel better about getting older. You don't own anyone an explanation, follow what you like.

Lastly 18, delete your credit card information from your devices. Go do it now. Take it out of your web browser, it should not automatically populate in all those stores you love.

It does not need to be on your phone, so that you can mobily shop while you're walking to the store. Remove so many ways to passively, and mindlessly, spend money. It is incredibly important that you put up a barrier between yourself and the act of purchasing online, because these brands aren't stupid.

It is psychologically designed, from both the perspective of only spending on a card which you don't see, the fact that a lot of this is credit cards which aren't automatically debited from your account. And the fact that the checkout process online is meant to be so seamless and show you all these useless discounts you're getting that make you feel like you're getting a good deal. They have made it as easy as possible for you to spend money online, including within social media platforms, right now.

The more barriers you can put to yourself and hitting "purchase" the better, and the easiest way to do that is to make yourself manually get up and go enter your credit card. Often, just the fact of being lazy will outweigh wanting to buy that thing. Lean into that laziness, use it as a tool.

Anyway, those are just a few of the very easy and low cost ways to instantly improve your life. And do not forget you may, in fact are likely, to be overpaying for your wireless service. And that is an easy place to get a big win in your budget, by switching to a better service for less money like with Mint Mobile.

You can do that at the link in our description. As always, guys, thank you for watching and don't forget to come back Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye.