Posts tagged ‘personal development’

Money, Space, maybe even Time: Kindle E-Reader will Save you all Three!

Imagine a device slightly smaller than a tablet that can literally free up real estate space in your home. A device that can eliminate an entire library of books from your home or room, giving you back much needed space to use for other purposes. I am taking about the Amazon Kindle E-reader!

It has been more than 6 years since I got my Amazon Kindle E-Reader and it is no exaggeration to say it has changed my life, at least from an education and reading prospective. To start, it has made it a lot easier to read, which resulted in being able to read more books per year. I went from reading 2-3 books a year to about 12 a year (1 per month) But the benefit don’t stop there, and touch other aspects of my life. Let me go through some and how this $100 device has made such a big difference.

Time saved

Kindle helps me save time reading, as it is all digital and makes it easy to go from one page to another, chapter to another or even book to book, all with a few clicks or swipes. More importantly, you can search through any book or the entire library, as well as make highlights and detailed notes on any page or section etc. As they say, the best way to retain what you read is to write your own notes or teach the material. With Kindle, you get to make notes as you read, and be able to review these later, even export them to other formats and be able to read them on other devices later. Speaking of other devices, as your books are saved on the cloud, you could pick up and read from anywhere, even if you don’t have your book with you. For example, you can download the Kindle app to your smartphone, or visit the Kindle website and be able to access all your books and notes there. Total convenience and a seamless experience to be close to your book anywhere and anytime. Imagine how hard it would be to do that with physical books, especially if you have more than a few.

Space saved

Amazong Kindle E-Reader can save you ton of physical space
Amazon Kindle E-Reader can save you ton of physical space

Speaking of physical books, here is a quick calculation of how many books can a basic 8GB Kindle hold: approximately 3,000-4000 books, and probably more if they are smaller-sized books. To put that into prospective, take a look at the picture above, which contains around 300 books: Kindle would save 10 times as much space as this small room! Yes, you read that right! In other words, if 3,000 books are equivalent of one floor stacked from floor to ceiling, then a Kindle puts a full house worth of books into one small device, which you can fit into your pocket! Understand that for those avid book lovers , a physical library is a must as it adds that extra dimension to the whole experience of reading. In that case, you can still have a small physical shelf and put your classics and all-time favorite books there, especially those timeless hard covers. For everything else, best to get them over to the digital world on a Kindle. Just as music went from tapes and DVDs to being completely digital and on the cloud, the book experience is heading that way, even if books are understandably different from music and some still want that physical experience.

Money saved

If Kindle can save you space and time, then it sure can save you the on the third dimension that usually goes along with space and time: money! To begin with, most Kindle editions of a book cost less, since there is no physical copy to print and ship. This alone will save you money in the long term, especially if you buy a minimum of 10 or more books a year. According to some estimates, on average, a Kindle version is 35% cheaper than the hardcover version, and 30% cheaper than the paperback version of the same book. In fact, you can find a lot of free books and classics on Kindle, something you would still need to pay for physical books even if the cost is minimal.

While some people still prefer the look, smell and touch of flipping through a physical book and having that cozy home library feeling, a Kindle E-Reader has a lot of benefits when it comes to space, time and money you could save. One way to get the benefits while still owning physical books is to limit your physical books to hard cover, text books and classic ones that look better in a real physical book. For the rest, get them in a digital copy on Kindle. As you get more comfortable with Kindle, you will realize its other benefit, which is to make you a more frequent and committed reader, given the great technology behind it and the ease of use. And although this article is about Kindle specifically, there are other E-Readers out there. But Kindle has the dominant share of the E-Readers market, given its superior technology and the number of books available on its platform.

Creating financial goals can help you get there easier, but there is an even better way!

One of my goals for 2022 is to get active with push-ups. To be more specific, I set to do 10 push-ups a day and increase that by 1 extra push-up per month. So for January, I started with 10 a day and I have since increased that to 11 a day for February. For March I will raise that to 12 a day and so on. The idea is to increase things while not shocking the system. I couldn’t just go from 10 push-ups a day in January to 20 in February. For those familiar with the ‘boiling frog syndrome’ , this should make sense.

You can apply the same ‘ladder’ approach to your finances, be it to save money or pay down debt.

Saving money

You can apply this in many different ways. You can start by saving a specific amount of your net pay and increase it by a specific amount or percentage each paycheque thereafter. Or, you can set it so that you are increasing it by 25% per quarter. So if you are starting with $100 saving bi-weekly in Jan, by April 1st, you increase that to $125, then $156 by July and so on. If this proves complicated , you can stick to the easier method of increasing it by a set amount. Alternatively, you can try out a more interesting method, where you increase your contributions based on the month. So starting in Jan with $100, you increase it to $120 in Feb (since Feb is the second month) and by the time you get to December, you will be saving $220.

Paying debt

Paying debt is similar to saving money, but instead of keeping it to yourself, you are paying it back to banks for borrowing their money. Here, too, it is key to set financial goals and fine-tune them as you go. Depending on your debt level, start off by dedicating a certain amount to pay off toward your balance and aim to increase that periodically. This could be done as aggressively as every paycheck , every quarter of however you want to set it. The key is to increase it periodically. Every increase will go a long way towards paying off your balance quicker, while saving on the interest.

Depending on what your financial goals are, start off by writing it down and being clear about what your current situation is and where you want to be. Next, set a timeline. And finally, decided how much you will set aside and how much to increase it by, and how often. It is magical what happens when you are specific, have a specific timeline, and add the power of compounding to it.

How to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic healthier wealthier and better overall

Make 2021 a productive year
Make 2021 a productive year

Here is the problem with the current pandemic we are living in, other than the obvious health and economic implications impacting billions around the world: it is the fact that it came almost unannounced and that we have no end date in sight. It would have been much easier if we were told, for example, that the pandemic will last for 6 months (e.g March 10 to October 10) and we all go back to our normal lives after that. But it has been more like a playoff hockey game, where we have 3 periods, followed by overtime that could go on and on until someone scores a goal. While we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from seeing this thing through. In fact, for Canada at least, we are being told the population as a whole will not get vaccinated in full until early to mid 2022. And considering that pandemic restrictions and curfews started in March 2020, that will be a full 2 years that we will have to put up with living our lives in seclusion and isolation from one another and our usual leisure activities etc. For pre-teens for example, that almost one quarter of their life spent in mandatory isolation from society!

That means, at least for most of us, we have only finished the first half of this boring and dangerous game called Covid19: the second half is yet to start and will last through much of this fresh year and early next year. Unless there is a big breakthrough that will massively scale vaccine production and delivery to Canada and other parts of the world, which doesn’t seem likely at this point. So, with so much more free time on our hands, why not do something useful with it, so that when it is all said and done, these 1-2 years of your life will not be defined by Covid19, pandemic and vaccines, but rather how you used it to advance your life in every area possible. I did it myself already and you can too. Let me go through some of what I was able to accomplish in 2020, and what I would like to continue doing for 2021, until we see us through this once in a lifetime pandemic.

Heath

When the pandemic started, in my first week of working from home and with my GYM being closed, I literally looked at my wife and said: “how will we do this?” it was a week in which I opened the door to our fridge more than I opened any other door in the bedroom or the entire house. That was March. Then came April and something changed. Despite the weather still being cold-even snowy at times-I started to walk, sometimes alone and sometimes with my wife who was off work due to the lock-down. Then in June, as some restrictions were eased, our local trails and hiking parks reopened and i started to frequent them on a semi-daily basis. I also bought dumbbell sets to work out at home, during my breaks from work. To put it into prospective, by the time the lock-downs started, I was around 180 lbs and by new year’s eve, I had gone down to 167 lbs, and body fat from 25% to 17%! That is 13 lbs loss and 8% body fat reduction, with no GYM! All because I took the decision to walk and work out, even with no formal GYM to go to. Last but not least, using my Apple Watch, I am currently on a 203 day move streak, going all the way back to July 12! That is how long I have been active on a daily basis.

Wealth

I am proud to say I spent the entire lock-down so far without once shopping off Amazon, unlike the majority of the population! With not much to do, I saved most of my money and I did two things that will benefit me tremendously for the long term: first, I bought stocks when the market bottomed out in late March, and again during the summer and fall. Every single one of these positions were in blue chip high-yielding stocks. Combined, I will be making over $1800 in annual dividend returns ($450 a quarter) . The other thing I did with all the money saved during the lock-down was to pay off my line of credit balance of $8,500. It would have been close to impossible to do this had there been no lock-down, where i would have otherwise spent my money in a multitude of ways. Between the two (LoC payment + dividends), I now have $600 of net monthly income that I am saving/getting.

Self Development

Depending on how you define this, to me it is the process or steps you take to develop your character, learn new things, or help you reach new goals in life. Going by this definition, 2020 was one of my best years ever. The things I was able to accomplish speak for themselves and prove that you can turn an otherwise terrible year into something productive and better yourself in the process. To start, and this is as synonymous as it gets with the concept of self development, this was a record year for book reading for me. I was able to read a total of 20 books, compared to my average of 3-5 books on average. Not only that, but some of these books were business and technology references, one of which helped me earn an industry-recognized certificate specific to my profession. 2020 was also a year in which I found a huge new interest in audio-books and podcasts. For the latter, I have even developed a new hobby: podcast driving. This is the act of driving for leisure while listening to my favorite podcasts shows. From March to December, I listened to around 500 podcast episodes, in a variety of topics.

Don’t let another year go to waste, start now!

I am not here to download the seriousness of Covid-19 and the terrible human loss for millions of people around the world. But the point is to not let it define us. If 2020 was defined by a pandemic and lock-down, and nothing else for you, you still have time to make 2021 better and more productive year. Start by setting some small but specific short term goals: how about finishing a book, losing 5 lbs, saving $1,000 and so on. As you start and gain some momentum, you will notice wanting to go for more and then the sky is the limit. Think of a snowball that starts small and as it goes down the hill, it gets bigger and bigger.

As you read at the start of this article, I started with a simple question and a simple walk, and those progressed into much bigger goals and accomplishments. And in fact, I am even more fired up for 2021. For January, and thanks to a milder weather so far, I have walked almost every day, for a minimum of 30 minutes. My fear was that I would start gaining some weight back during the cold winter months. Thankfully, that never materialized and I have kept the weight off. As they say, if I can do it, so can you. In fact, you may be be able to do more than I do, depending on your personal circumstances (whether you have a family, kids, full time job etc) . I would love to hear some success stories of how people used these pandemic months and years to better themselves and start a new chapter in their life that will forever change them for the better. Ditch the countless hours of Netflix binge-viewing and Tiktok scrolling and pick a book, go for a daily walk, or start a new online course!