Every year we spend money. Most of it is on food, shelter, and 43 streaming services, but every once in a while, we spend to make out lives better. Over the past few years, I've been sharing the things that I have spent money on to make my life easier (more room, improved health, better coffee, ability to shower when you have 4 kids). This year is no exception:
Eero Mesh Network
With 2 adults working from home all the time, 4 kids, and all their devices being home MOST of the time, there are times when someone complains about slow internet (I wish I could take them back to dial-up days). Over the years I have bought successively more powerful routers to help spread the signal across my tiny house to no avail. This year, on the recommendation of a more-nerdy-than-me friend, I bought a mesh router. For those non-techies, a mesh router doesn't just broadcast the wifi signal in a circle, it has multiple hubs that connect to the main router and then re-broadcast it, just as strongly. Whichever hub you are nearest to is the one you connect to. No loss or weak signal anymore. And the best part is, it's an Amazon company so they have integrated a hub it into most of their Alexa speakers. My house is swimming in wifi signals now!
A household of 6 makes a lot of garbage. We try our best to keep that down but the kids keep insisting on being fed. We have had a compost area in our backyard for a few years and have taken full advantage of it. Recently, we switched to a we-need-more-veggies diet which makes a lot more organic waste than we have in the past. Our compost pile could not keep up. We looked at a few in-home composters and decided that the Lomi was the best option for us. Toss in your scraps, push the button and make dirt. The machine grinds and heats the scraps in such a way that it breaks them down into non-smelly, super-rich dirt. It takes 20 hours but that's way better than months for it to happen outside on its own. Plus, less smell.
New Washer and Dryer
There comes a time that, even though something still works, the little things drive you crazy. Case in point: My washing machine has a filter that stops big things that get through the wash from damaging the pump (that's great). This year I got an error code that it was plugged (not good). The fun part is the filter is located under the machine at the very front with no access door (super not great). You have to pull out the machine, take the back off and reach all the way to the front to clean it out. After the second time this year having to do that, we decided this was not a great long-term option. We researched and looked for deals and and and......Landed on a new super-duty, high-capacity wash-tower: Washer and drying stacked on each other. Here's a fun benefit I didn't think of: Washing machine technology has apparently advanced in the last 10 years. Now, I enjoy doing the laundry, but since it's so big and efficient, I have less to do. As I write this, ALL the laundry is done for the first time in years. Now, what do I do?
I told you last year that I used to do 2-3 loads a week of just towels until we switched to new, self-sanitizing towels. Since then, it's been easier to keep up with laundry but rarely do we have none to do.
In my life, I have installed 8 roofs, including my own. They suck. I never wish to do that again, So when it came time for us to redo ours, the options were to do it myself, take time off work, be super sore for a week or so and save a few thousand dollars, or pay professionals to do it right, do it quickly and do it while I work. (I shared my reno adventure last year when I decided I was too old for some things). We called multiple companies, met with them all, got quotes from them all, and decided to go with one. They came in, they did roof things and, in 3 days, they were gone and you'd never know they were here. During those three days, I had 12 meetings with clients. The shingles we used are "50-year" shingles, so we should be good for a while.
How about you? Think back over the last 12 months and let me know what some of the best things you bought were.
Kenneth Coombs CFP CHS RRC
Ken has worked in the financial services industry since 2005, is a Registered Retirement Consultant, and is a Certified Financial Planner. Ken has written financial planning columns and has been a guest on financial radio and podcast programs.