So our taxes have been filed and I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for our money. I have SO many things that I want to do with it! As I wait, I’ve of course been making a list of all of the things I’d like – and I figured, why not make a list of all of the things that everyone should have? Not just stuff, but the items that end up being a truly amazing lifestyle upgrade.
So here it is! Some of these I know from experience, some I’m just hoping will be as amazing as I imagine.
LIFESTYLE UPGRADES FOR YOUR HEALTH
Everyone in my family got one of these last Christmas and I can not emphasize enough what a massive lifestyle upgrade it has been. Not only does it throw in your face exactly how much (or little) you are moving, but it gives you the opportunity to compete with your friends and family. If you have even the slightest competitive edge, then this is for you. It will make you healthier and happier.
If there was even the slightest possibility of fitting this in my house, this would be my #1 purchase. Unfortunately there’s not, but if you can fit a treadmill in your home, I envy you!
Year membership to a gym
I don’t really like the idea of adding extra monthly expenses and honestly most of my time is spent trying to figure out how to eliminate them, BUT this was one expense we added this past year and it has wildly exceeded my expectations as a lifestyle upgrade. This one is amazing – a great workout room, multiple pools, tons and tons of classes, a track (with a stroller lane!) – and FREE BABYSITTING.
I know Vitamixes are all the rage these days, so when our trusty old blender died on us a few weeks ago I went searching online to order one. Ummmm, what????? Some of these puppies cost almost $1,000! I’m sure they’re amazing, but there’s no way I could personally part with $700+ for a blender. I ordered the KitchenAid instead and was able to get it for $120. It’s loud and it’s basic, but it makes a mean smoothie. Either way, a blender is a great appliance to have on hand – quick and healthy!
I don’t currently have a juicer, but I want one really, really bad. Not only do they help to be healthy, but I’m hoping it will be a great way to sneak some veggies into my son’s diet. AND it seems they are more in the price range of the KitchenAid, which is a huge bonus, so this will definitely be an upcoming purchase for me.
Ergo Baby Carrier
I didn’t use the Ergo carrier when my son was really little, but I finally decided to give it a try when he just became too heavy to carry in the front. Holy. Moly. What a lifesaver. THIS was definitely a lifestyle upgrade. I can now carry him on my back and he is as comfortable as can be. Soooo worth the purchase.
LIFESTYLE UPGRADES FOR YOUR HOME
If you don’t already have a Keurig, it’s time to join the masses. There’s a reason everyone and their mother owns one – they’re fabulous!
Stainless Steel Jumbo Trash Can
Ok, I hope I haven’t lost you. But I know – who spends money on a trash can? Well…I finally did this in an effort to corral my toddler and IT WORKED. We added cute magnets and voila! We still yell “Lifestyle Upgrade!” every time we throw something away (We’re weird like that). And really it’s not just about the baby distraction. It looks nice and has been a huge space saver for our tiny, tiny kitchen.
Cat Water Fountain
Obviously you need a cat to consider this one! But before you pass it by, listen to why it’s such a great addition to your life (not just your cats) – First, you don’t need to refill their water nearly as often because it holds so much water and is constantly filtering (this is HUGE if you travel). Second, it sounds nice (it’s a mini waterfall!). And third, they’ll be happier – cats love flowing water so they’ll drink more and be better hydrated.
For those not familiar, the Roomba is a robotic vacuum. You can actually set a timer and it will automatically start vacuuming and then return to it’s charging station. It’s pretty unbelievable. Ours has already reached the status of pet in our home. My toddler only says Da-Da-Da-Da-Da right now, but I’m pretty sure his second word will be Roomba.
Dyson Vacuum Cleaner
Before the Roomba entered our family, it was just me and the Dyson. Luckily the Dyson had been given to us as a gift because otherwise I would never have realized how valuable a good vacuum cleaner is! The greatest part of having a Dyson is that you automatically get a warranty and can get it fixed for the duration of it’s “life.” It’s amazing. You’ll actually enjoy vacuuming every day.
TECHNOLOGICAL LIFESTYLE UPGRADES
There are different versions of this type of device (Apple TV and Chromecast for example) and they probably all work just as well as the Roku, but that is what we use and I would highly recommend it. The greatest part of the Roku is that by enabling you to watch things like Netflix and Amazon Prime right on your TV, you really have no reason to keep cable, so you can save a boatload of money each month.
Lifeproof iPhone Case
Luckily this is not an expensive purchase, especially when you consider how much it’s going to save you if your phone breaks…or is broken by any little humans running around your house. If this case delivers on it’s promise, your phone will be able to survive a toss down the stairs, a drop in the toliet, or being buried in the backyard.
I asked my husband what his greatest lifestyle upgrades were over the past year and his Pebble Smart Watch was first on his list. It’s basically a smart watch so he can receive emails, texts, and notifications to his watch. Since he travels a lot for work, this was especially amazing for him.
LIFESTYLE UPGRADES FOR YOUR FUTURE
Contribute to an IRA
If you work or have a working spouse you are probably already investing in a 401K through your employer (and you should definitely keep doing that). BUT that doesn’t mean you’re investing enough. In fact, odds are you aren’t – because statistically speaking, the vast majority of us are not saving nearly enough for retirement. And if you or your spouse are not working, then you definitely should consider taking this extra step. Your future self will thank you for it!
529 College Savings Fund
For the record, retirement savings needs to come first. But helping our kids save for college still needs to be on the table. If you can’t make monthly contributions to a college fund, then try to put a chunk of your tax return or bonuses into a 529 Plan. And if you’re wondering why you should be using a 529 College Savings Plan, check out my article here.
Pay off your student loans.
My husband and I had all of our student loans paid off by the time we had our first baby, which was one of the biggest factors that made it possible for me to stay home with our son. Needless to say, that was probably the biggest lifestyle upgrade we’ve ever experienced, so this is well worth it.
Pay off your mortgage.
My husband and I have a goal of paying off our mortgage in 10 years, so this is on my mind a lot lately. For almost all homeowners, the mortgage is the largest monthly expense – what if you didn’t have that?? You could retire earlier, travel more, and put all of that money towards other great lifestyle upgrades. (You can read about my other quick tips for paying down the mortgage here.)