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Upgrading your life doesn’t mean you have to give in to lifestyle inflation and start spending beyond your means. In fact, there are tons of little improvements you can make with very little effort — like making a better choice with your tax refund, or even finding a simple system to deal with clutter.

Pew research study:

Average tax refund:

Compound interest calculator:

How Americans plan to spend their refund:

How much we wear from our wardrobes:

American drinking habits:

“Junk bowl” method:

Money spent on Ubers:

Monday stress:

Using devices effectively:

Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here:

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Hey guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is brought to you by Wealthsimple.

And today, I wanted to talk to you about a few simple changes that you can make to your everyday life to seriously improve the quality of your life. There are so many little one-time decisions all around us that we could be making to have huge positive impacts on the way we live. For example, one change that I made that had huge positive impacts in my life was going from having a gym membership that I basically never used to taking the time to find a studio that I would not only love to go to because the classes were right for me, but also, it was in a location that was the perfect distance, that was next to a bunch of things that I also needed to do, like grocery shopping.

And that fit really perfectly into my life. I went from basically never working out and also feeling guilty about the fact that I was spending money on a gym membership I never used to actually working out several days a week and enjoying it and finding that it really fits into my overall life. But there are so many of these changes that don't even require the commitment of signing up for something or paying for something.

Just simple swaps in how you do stuff can radiate through your entire life. So without further ado, here are 12 effortless changes that will upgrade your entire life. Number one is divide and conquer when it comes to chores.

So if you live with someone-- and for many of you, it might be a roommate, but for a lot of you, like myself, it might be your spouse-- chances are, chores are a big part of your domestic life together. And if they are frequently a topic of contention, you are very much not alone. In fact, according to one Pew Research study, more than half of married couples identified sharing chores as a key to a successful marriage.

But the problem is, when it comes to the actual sharing/division of those chores, many of us are simply doing it wrong. It seems like a natural thing to do to take turns with chores, i.e., I'll do the laundry this week, and you'll do the laundry next. But that often leaves us with, A, forgetting or avoiding doing certain chores and, B, leaving us doing things that we simply hate doing and are, therefore, more likely to not do very well.

A much healthier way of sharing chores is to simply divide based on what you guys are OK with doing or good at doing or maybe even enjoy doing. And those are always your chores. And while it may seem like the kind of thing that only college roommates must do, lest they get into some sort of physical altercation over who left the dirty dishes in the sink to "soak" again, having one of those charts on the refrigerator with cleaning tasks actually can help grown adults in a grown adult marriage.

Making chores a regularly scheduled part of your week and knowing which ones are yours and which ones are your partner or roommate's responsibility makes everything clear and something that you can plan around. And having them written out for everyone to see ensures that things are not just going to fall off the list. No matter what system works for you, though, ensuring that the domestic tasks in your home that need to get done are always accounted for and divided fairly will lead to a much happier overall relationship, whether that's with your spouse or with a roommate.

You never want to be the person who's yelling at your partner about how you want them to want to do the dishes. You need to just divide it, and keep it clean, literally and figuratively. Number two is using your tax refund wisely.

According to Bankrate, the average tax refund for 2018 is currently $1,949, which is a lot of money, quite frankly. But when asked how they plan to spend their refunds, only 9% of Americans said they plan to invest it. The most popular answer was to pay off debt.

But many others said that they would make a big purchase, go on a vacation, or put it toward a shorter-term goal. And it is tempting to use that tax refund money on something like a vacation or a little shopping spree because, on some level, it feels like free, unexpected money. But this is money that you earned.

And for many of us, choosing to invest that money can have huge benefits for our futures. Let's say that you receive the average refund of $1,949, and you invest that money today. Without adding any other contributions, after 30 years of compounding annually at a 6% interest rate, it will grow to just about $11,194.

And of course, you should be contributing to investment accounts outside of just the one-time lump sum of your tax refund. But it does go to show you that even just that one-time decision can have enormous benefits. It's easy for investing to fall to the bottom of the list for so many of us because, on some level, we feel like that money is just kind of theoretical.

But we will be older one day, and that money will be very real. And if you are looking for a smart place to invest your tax refund, we recommend Wealthsimple. Wealthsimple as an online investing service that is as simple and human as it gets.

They'll build you a custom portfolio to fit your personal needs, goals, and timeline in just 5 to 10 minutes. Just answer a few simple questions about your financial goals, and they'll manage it for you on autopilot. Set it, forget it, and let it go to work in the background.

You can switch on automatic deposits from your bank account as well as set up smart savings accounts with higher rates than big banks for your shorter-term goals. The fees are much lower than traditional microfinance institutions, and TFD viewers get up to $10,000 managed free in their first year. Check them out at, or use the link in our description.

There are no account minimums, and it only takes a few minutes. No excuses. Number three is pick one day a week to wear something you've forgotten about.

According to a 2018 study from relocation and removals company, Movinga, Americans hadn't worn 82% of the items in their closet the previous year. Please let that number sink in. Because honestly, it is shocking to me, and I knew it from reading the script. 82% of clothes are going unworn.

And that's excellent news because it means that, essentially, without ever having to buy a new item, you can have an enormous number of days this year where you wear an outfit that is basically new to you. And to make that into a reality rather than just something that you think about and kind of feel guilty, we recommend finding one day each week, maybe every Wednesday, where you have to wear an outfit that you have forgotten about or not worn in years. I once did a 30-day challenge where every single day in that 30-day span, I had to wear a combination of clothes I'd never worn in that way before.

And it is truly unbelievable how much you can feel totally refreshed and have a completely new look on your wardrobe, which is maybe feeling a little fatigued to you. No wonder you feel like you have nothing to wear. Statistically speaking, you're only wearing 18% of your clothes, so switch it up.

Number four is stop drinking alcohol certain days of the week. So statistically speaking, most Americans could stand to cut back on their alcohol consumption for a variety of reasons. And one of them is definitely saving money.

Researchers found that more than 40% of American adults drink excessively despite the health risks. And excessive, in this study, was defined as more than 14 drinks per week for men and more than 7 drinks per week for women. And for social purposes, it's so much easier to set certain days of the week where you're not drinking, rather than to moderate the quantity of drinks that you drink over the span of the week, i.e., it's a lot easier to just say I don't drink from Sunday to Wednesday than it is to say I'll only have one drink when I go out.

Because, quite frankly, you're usually at events that last a long time where there are more than one drink served, et cetera, et cetera. One study from the Journal of Neuroscience found that drinking alcohol can actually alter the structure and function of neurons that are found in the dorsomedial striatum, the area of your brain that controls motivational and reward systems. It's a vicious cycle wherein your brains yes mechanism is more easily activated.

And the more you drink, the more susceptible you are to its motivational powers. And while we would never say that cutting out alcohol entirely is the right choice for everyone, although, it is for some. We do believe that choosing to cut out alcohol some days can have enormous benefits, obviously, financially, but also in terms of getting better sleep, consuming fewer unnecessary calories, having improved complexion, et cetera, et cetera.

And while the days of the week can change according to your social calendar, having those days that you plan not to drink from the get-go allows you to plan other activities in that time, like maybe getting a workout in. Number five is putting little junk containers around your home. Now, it is no secret that, through the power of Marie Kondo, removing things from our lives that don't "spark joy" has become a complete phenomenon.

But that's for good reason because clutter actually has enormous impacts on our mood and stress levels. And one TFD contributor came up with a great idea to manage that horrible cluttered feeling in your home. As she put it, I have little baskets across my apartment to collect odds and ends.

And the baskets get emptied as part of my nighttime routine. Cleaning things up like this allows my apartment to appear very orderly and makes other cleaning much easier because the clutter is out of the way. And you don't have to empty them once a day.

You could make emptying your junk containers once per week a part of your regular cleaning routine that goes on your chore schedule. But either way, making sure that there's not just stuff piling up all around you will make you feel better in your home, reduce your stress levels, and make the real cleaning that much easier. Number six is delete your guilty spending app from your phone.

So the amount that you probably spend on convenience will differ based on your lifestyle and where you live. But if, like me, you live in a big city, there are basically endless apps out there to make your life easier by spending money. In fact, in New York, a large city, which is known to have ample public transportation options when the subway is working, people spend, on average, $84 a month on Ubers.

That's over $1,000 a year. And that's not even counting the times that they may hop in a regular old Yellow Cab. And a simple way to curb that convenient spending, whether it might be on cars or delivery food, is to simply remove that app from your phone.

Even committing to doing that for one month will shock you in the amount of convenience spending that simply disappears when the option is not right there at your fingertips. You'll think twice about calling an Uber so you don't have to walk the five blocks to the subway or bus the next time you have to completely re-download the app in order to do it. Number seven-- and this is a self-callout because I desperately need to do this-- is order a new shower curtain or any little item that will instantly change how you feel in your home, but somehow never really makes it to your shopping list.

Your home should be a place where you feel like your best, most productive, and happy self. And having things like a dirty gross shower curtain that you know you need to replace is one of the simplest ways to bring that vibe down. So find one item in your home today, like that shower curtain, that you know you need to fix and can do basically immediately, and do it.

Number eight is activate the health app on your phone. And this is stuff like Apple Health or Google Fit. This is an amazing way to track things like how many steps you're getting every day, how many flights of stairs you're climbing, and your overall, general activity level without having to go out and buy a Fitbit.

I am religious about using the health app on my phone to get my 10,000 steps a day. But you can also use it for other kind of activity tracking. And what's so interesting is that, the second you start tracking these numbers, your brain automatically kind of turns it into a little mini video game, and you want to do more.

And there's a reason for that. Dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in happiness, is a neurotransmitter in the brain that's necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness. Many studies suggest that, as we age, we're constantly losing our stores of dopamine, which is why we need to constantly seek out experiences that release dopamine.

And the best way to increase your brain's dopamine production-- exercise. Number nine is have a Monday ritual. We are all used to hearing about how much Monday sucks.

And honestly, even if we have a good Monday planned, the general negativity around Mondays is likely to get us down come Sunday evening. And according to one web survey of over 1,000 respondents to gauge the impact of Monday stress, money was the chief agitator followed by work, relationships, emotional problems, and health. So go out of your way to have a low-key social activity or fun thing that you do by yourself each Monday to offset that and make Monday something that you look forward to.

For example, if you go to my Instagram, you'll see that I have a ritual dinner to make Monday suck less where I cook something really special and fun and indulgent on Monday night. And it makes me look forward to that night every week instead of dreading it. And this could stand to have huge benefits on the actual work you're doing on Monday because, generally speaking, the more looking forward you are to something, the more productive you are.

And that Monday excitement could have huge benefits for the actual work you're doing on that Monday. Because when you look forward to things, your productivity increases, and your overall happiness goes through the roof. Number 10 is to check your bank account balance first thing in the morning.

Before you look at your email, Instagram, Reddit, whatever, just get this out of the way. You don't need to check your accounts more than once a day, but you do need to look at them regularly to make sure that there is enough money in there to cover your day-to-day expenses and also that there's obviously no fraud going on or things that you're paying without realizing it. And doing this first thing in the morning allows you to totally get it out of the way and plan your day around that knowledge.

Meaning, you can do things like avoiding overdrafting or know when you should be spending less because your balance is running low. And the more this is treated like a morning ritual, which allows you to have a better day, the less it'll be something that you dread doing. Number 11 is delete that email you don't know how to respond to.

So it's probably safe to say that we all have that one email that causes us enormous anxiety because we don't know how to respond to it or we don't want to respond to it. This could be an ex reaching out who you no longer have a desire to speak to. It could be a personal request that's really encroaching on your space.

It could be a cold reach out for work, someone looking to pick your brain, or anything in between. And while ghosting should never be your first choice in terms of response, it's important to remember that with, as easy as email can make it seem for us to ask of things from other people, you don't owe other people a response. And especially in the professional world, people can be very aggressive about reaching out for things that really they have no business asking for.

And if there is that email that you have no good response to and is causing you anxiety, you should just delete it, provided, of course, that there isn't a response that is actually needed from you. But when it comes to the convenience that our devices can provide for us, their benefits are outweighed if their causing us massive stress and anxiety because of how accessible that makes us. And that stress of thinking about that email that you don't know how to respond to and don't want to is actually costing us precious time.

Getting better about setting your boundaries is so important. And remembering that you get to choose what you give your time and energy to is very freeing. So you have my permission, delete that scary email.

And lastly, number 12 is get rid of that one thing in your home that you actually hate, but I've never gotten rid of. This could be an ugly housewarming gift, an old piece of furniture that you somehow kept through college, a hand-me-down painting that you can't stand looking at, or anything in your home that gives you that ugh feeling when you walk by it. A house feels so much more like a home when it is free of all those unnecessary items that serve no purpose and give you a little bit of stress.

And for many items, you could possibly get money for them or give them to someone who will actually love and enjoy them. Decluttering utilizes your decision-making and problem-solving skills. You've got y amount of space and x amount of stuff.

To make everything fit, you need to make reasonably quick decisions about whether to keep or discard items and where to put them. Doing this successfully can help you feel confident about your overall decision-making skills. And giving yourself permission, similarly to that anxiety-inducing email, to really clutter and set boundaries around your space is so important.

You should not feel obligated to keep something that isn't making you happy, particularly, when many of those items could be making someone else happy. So picking one item in your home today to pass on because it's simply not sparking you any joy can have huge benefits for your overall life. And one of the best decisions you can make in life for both your current and future selves is to invest wisely.

And a great place to do that is with Wealthsimple. So as always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for new and awesome videos.