Life is tough, but it doesn’t have to be. Take it from me, there are plenty of shortcuts that can make your life easier and the best one is learning from other’s mistakes. I have compiled a list of items that are guaranteed to save you a step or two as you enter into 2009 and, perhaps, even lighten the load.
- Negotiate Medical Bills: Who knew you can negotiate the price of a teeth cleaning? If you request that your doctor, dentist and/or ophthalmologist accept your insurance company’s portion as full payment they might just do it. Most medical professionals are looking for loyalty and are willing to negotiate to keep patients.
- Auto Bill Pay: My money magically moves around and I have time for more important things like buying more stuff to create more bills to put on auto pay. While you’re at it, you might want to create an auto withdraw from checking to savings every month for a small amount. Before you know it you’ll be able to afford that recently reduced flat screen television, plus you’ll be saving paper.
- Make it a double: Find a friendly neighbor to split buy-in-bulk items (like toilet paper and paper towels) and/or share expensive services (nannies, house painters, plumbers). Many service providers will be thrilled to have the business and make it worth your while.
- Accomplishment List: This is something that I always tell clients and friends to create instead of a “To Do” list. Why? Because you end up feeling better before, during and after you create an accomplishment list and you instantly see what work can flow from what you’ve already done.
- Grateful: What is working in your life? By starting here, I found I could go anywhere. If you are having trouble feeling grateful, turn on the television and watch the news-you will be soon enough.
- Become a Hermit: I had a few challenges this past year and found valuable information by sitting alone with my thoughts. Sometimes it’s best to not talk with friends and family about the most challenging issues until you’ve thought them through.
- No Woman is an Island: Then again…after you’ve gone through everything in your head, stewed and brewed about it, talk to someone. There is nothing like a trusted family member, friend or even a therapist to get it all out in the open.
- Seek Balance: When I’m working on a project, I work on it full force until it’s done…then I sit back and sigh with relief…then I’m…well, stuck. As much as focus helps, sometimes it hinders life’s flow. So, take breaks, go for walks and find time to work in between.
- Family Reunion: The best part of my year was a family reunion I planned with my cousin. It was the first of its kind and included my small, but geographically separate family. It was a weekend affair and included my grandparents (in their 90’s) and my cousin’s 13-year-old daughter. We ended every evening curled up around a fire looking at old pictures and telling hilarious stories. If you can, I’d highly recommend planning your own.
- Personal Expansion vs. Economic Downsizing: Even if you haven’t lost your job, you, no doubt, feel the economic stranglehold felt all over America. I found that the more I viewed my situation, as much as it absolutely sucked, as an opportunity to deepen my friendships, spiritual connection and marriage, the better I felt.
Happy New Year!