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“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
–Henry de Bracton
With some planning and understanding of the lifestyle you want to maintain, choosing to be preventative in a variety of areas in your life will pay off in ways you thankfully will never know. I say thankfully because instead of having to deal with the consequences of poor planning and forking over a tremendous bill or two or more, you are knowingly saving yourself from unwanted bills, unwanted stress and unwanted tasks.
I am very confident that many of you are already leading lives that include preventative measures, but just as in life – we all have certain areas we are strong in and a few other areas that could use some brushing up. I include myself in this description as well. For example, taking care of my health, car and finances have always been on my radar, but the computer is one I’m quickly realizing I need to tune up on regarding virus protection, etc.
By choosing to take preventative measures you are giving yourself a priceless gift – peace of mind. And when you are able to be calm and be more level-headed, you make better decisions and are able to direct your energy toward projects, ideas and relationships that are important to you instead of always catching up which very much resembles time wasted that you could have better use in those areas that you have placed at the top of your priority list.
Here are a few areas to make sure you are attending to in order to ensure the greatest savings of your time and money.
Good Work Ethic
You never know when someone, after working with you or watching your performance, will be asked by your superior or a future employer of your abilities. Never leave yourself wishing you had done something that was completely in your control at the time. By choosing to always do your best and exude a strong work ethic of seeking answers on your own, working well with others and coming to the table with pertinent ideas, you begin to define yourself as an asset that anyone might want to work with. Click here to read more about the benefits of working hard.
As we all know, when you’re young you tend to take your ability to run every which way and bound about for granted, but gradually with much wear and tear without regular maintenance and attention, your body begins to let you down; however, the truth is if this happens, you’ve let your body down. Keeping with the idea of being preventative, schedule an annual exam with your physician every year, or every two years if you’re in your twenties. Do some investigating into your family medical history and don’t be afraid to ask your physician questions – that’s what they’re there for. For example, if your mom had breast cancer, ask the doctor when you should begin having mammograms.
Outside of the doctor’s office, there can be a lot of exhilarating and enjoyable experiences when you choose to eat well and exercise regularly. I’ve always been an advocate for eating whatever you want, just in moderation. After all, as you’ve probably noticed from the list of recipes I share – I love pasta and dessert, and the same goes for your favorite dishes – once in awhile enjoy them and keep to a healthy portion. Recently a studied revealed that excessive weight gain is more a result of snaking than larger portions, but regardless – limit your snacking and eat balanced proper sized portions and you’ll be on the right track. For more on fitness, click here for my thoughts on walking and here for getting and staying in shape.
I talk about specifics regarding all three of these financial subjects in my Financial Food for Thought posts, but it bears repeating that in order to help yourself out, you must be savvy when it comes to money. Taking care of your past (eliminating debt), making financially sound decisions in the present (savings) and planning for the future (retirement) is a plan that when adhered to will allow you to sleep more soundly at night and give rise to many wonderful and exciting days ahead.
Whether it be health, car, home, flood, life or disability insurance depending upon your situation, make sure you have the right insurance and have a deductible that you can meet should the occasion occur where you find yourself using calling your insurance company. When you are knowledgeable of what your deductible is, set aside a certain amount each month until you’ve saved up that amount, that way should you need to use it, it doesn’t cut into your regular monthly budget.
Be Curious – Educated Yourself
Whether it be the education you receive in an academic setting or what you seek out on your own free time, never cease being curious. By becoming knowledgeable of the areas that interest you, affect you and are unknown to you, you give yourself power and you’ll always have it at the ready should a situation arise.
Depending upon how much you use your computer and are online, consider purchasing software service warranty which enables you to call up your service provider (Dell, Apple, HP, etc), once you’ve paid the initial amount, if your computer becomes infected with a virus, they will take care of it without extra charge. Once you have signed up for such a program, the annual renewal fee is quite minimal and you’ll be putting your mind at ease that your files, photos and documents are safe.
Another cheap way to make sure you’ll never lose your documents is to save your documents regularly to a zip drive. Many people are aware of this (especially the younger generation), but many other people still are not (I’ll confess that I wasn’t made aware of this until a few years ago). For between $10-50 you can purchase a zip drive and save photos, documents and other files each time you want to update.
Each fall just before the first frost, it’s time to prep the house for winter – unhook the hoses, close all of the vents, sweep the leaves off the roof and drain the outdoor pipes. In no time at all, I’ve saved myself money that I may have had to pay for a frozen pipe in the middle of winter and that certainly would not have been a memory I would want to experience. Depending upon your home and where you live, you will have other up-keeps as well, but generally just keeping up your yard, cleaning all of the windows twice a year and repairing minor things before they become bigger and more expensive problems will certainly save money down the line.
If you have a car, it’s an expense all unto itself, but by being an attentive car owner and scheduling oil changes and tire rotations every three months (or 3,000 miles), watching the wear on your tires and being sure you purchase tires before you need them, you will save yourself on large repair bills and save mileage along with gas money. Another simple task is to regularly clean your car inside and out. Depending upon what you haul in your car (in my case two dogs), you’ll want to schedule cleanings more often or less frequently.
A Good Night’s Sleep
One of the most valuable things you can give yourself each morning when you awake and begin to start your day is a body that has been well rested. And after reading the list up until this point and following through on each of them, you are already more apt to find a restful and lengthy night’s sleep. A rested body and mind are more agile, more energetic and primed to perform at their best.
The last preventative task I’d like to mention is one that doesn’t cost a thing. Whether you call it karma or following the golden rule or simply just being nice, spreading kindness around to those you engage with on a day to day basis is sure to have a residual effect for the giver, as well as for the recipient. Simply by being friendly, saying good morning to fellow walkers in the early hours, gentlemen – holding a door open, ladies – accepting this gesture by saying thank you, and a list of other gestures that could go on and on, you are beginning a cycle that is more likely to create an environment that you would want to be involved in. While there are no guarantees, it certainly won’t hurt and at least you’ll go to bed at night with a clear conscious that you’ve put your best foot forward – after all, all you can control are your own actions.
Out of curiosity, what preventative measures do you incorporate into your life now that you know have added quality to your life? I’d love to hear.