Category Archives: Money

8 Things we Spent Money on Twenty Years Ago That We Don’t Today

Thomas Bros. Maps Street Guide for San Francisco

Last week I wrote about the things we spend money on today that we didn’t 20 years ago.  This week it’s the opposite.

1. Maps

Paper maps were available at most gas stations and drug stores.  They took up a lot of room and you had to buy a new one every so often because they would become outdated.  Then in the early 2000’s, GPS devices took over.  You still had to pay for updates to the map, but it was so much more powerful and convenient than those paper map.  Now those GPS devices are becoming old news and smart phones have taken their place.  No extra device to carry around and Google maps updates itself for free.  I’m still not sure why new cars still offer a built-in navigation package for the low-low price of $1,500.  Um, let’s see, free versus $1,500…

2. Newspapers

With the rise of the internet goes the fall of the physical newspaper.  We actually still get the newspaper delivered to our house.  It’s not really for us, it’s more for our dog that loves to fetch the paper from the driveway every morning.

3. Postage

Sorry USPS.  Email and online banking have saved me so much in postage and time, it’s ridiculous.  I think the only time I use postage anymore is to send greeting cards and pay the IRS.  Sure, I probably could just send e-cards and use my bank to pay the IRS, but my parents like getting physical cards in the mail and the IRS scares me.  I feel like if I don’t follow their instructions exactly, they’ll find a way to make my life miserable – the IRS, not my parents.

4. Watches

It used to be, the only way you could tell time on the go was to use a wrist watch.  But, over the years, people have grown to realize that cell phones also have the time.  So, why bother wearing that clunky thing on your wrist (Mrs. Pennypacker and I still do)?   Of course now, all the big phone manufacturers are turning back time and pitching us smart watches.  It still remains to be seen whether smart watches will gain a significant foothold in our world.

5. Printer Toner

I think the only time I use my printer is when I have to sign a document that doesn’t allow an electronic signature.  That I means I have to print out the form, sign it, then scan it back in so I can email it to someone.  Kind of pain, but I haven’t bought printer ink in years.

6. Pager

Before texting there were pagers.  All the cool kids had them.  Your typical pager is a portable device that you carried everywhere with you that could receive phone calls (no, it’s not a cell phone).  If someone wanted to get a hold of you, they called your pager number.  The pager would display the phone number on a screen.  Then you could find a payphone and call that person back.  Pagers typically only received numbers.  But, if you were creative, you could add a simple text message to the end of your phone number.  For example, 911 would mean “call me back right away!”.  07734 would be “hello” if you looked at the numbers upside down.

7. CDs

It’s all about streaming music now.  And, if you’re willing to sit through ads, you can listen to any song you want for free.  Want more than just the audio?  Hop on YouTube and you can watch all the music videos you want for free.

8. Stock broker

You really don’t need to pay anyone a commission anymore for buying or selling equities.  Most brokerage companies make it real easy to trade stocks yourself on the internet.  Plus, all the research is available online to make your own educated decisions and it’s all free or very cheap.   Sure, if you’re a day-trader, the brokerage houses might charge you $10 per trade.  But, if you’re an average Joe like me, you’re buying commission-free index funds and holding on to them for twenty-plus years.  No need for that stock broker, just tap your phone a couple times!

There are a ton of other things that could be added to this list.  Can you think of anything else?

9 Things I Plan to do When I’m Rich to Make my Life Easier

Velcro shoe

1. Outsource my tooth-brushing and flossing

Instead of enduring the grueling slog of brushing and flossing everyday, I’d opt for a professional cleaning.  I suppose some would just drive to the dentist everyday for their tooth detailing, but I’d take it a step further and hire an in-house dental assistant or an on-call tooth cleaner, to save me the trip.

2. Get fast-food delivered

I’d send a gopher out to grab Taco Bell or whatever for lunch.  I’m more of a Chipotle person so I’d probably lean in that direction.  As a rich person, Id probably never actually step foot in a restaurant anymore unless it had a certain level of hoity-toity-ness to it.

3. Hire a personal shaver

Barbers will already give you a shave, but it’s kind of a pain.  You have to go all the way down to the barber shop and possibly wait half an hour for your turn.  I want someone to come to my house and shave me.  It wouldn’t be on a daily basis.  Probably only twice a week.  I have my limits.

4. Switch to Velcro shoes

Tying my shoes is such a time-sucker in the morning.  Velcro would be so much more convenient, and cheaper than hiring my own personal shoe tier.  I could probably switch to Velcro now, but I think it would be more socially acceptable if I wait until I’m rich.  When you’re rich, fashion faux pas are admired as trend setting.

5. Find a mini-golf caddie

This might be frowned upon by true golfers, but I don’t play golf.  I play mini-golf or “put-put” as the true connoisseurs call it.  It would be nice if I had a caddie, not to choose my club (it’s always a putter), but to recommend angles and approaches.  Sometimes that clown just closes his mouth way too quickly!

6. Use a personal life guard

This works even if you don’t have a pool.  If you’re making a trip to the health club pool, or even a friend’s pool, or maybe the beach, your personal life guard is by your side.  He brings his own chair and sits by the pool making sure you refrain from horseplay.  If you start struggling, he’s right there to jump in and rescue you.  There’s no need to rely on some stranger whom I’ve never met and who may not see me as a flail my arms among the throngs of other swimmers whose lives he’s sworn to protect.

7. Sign up for premium mail service

these days, the post office is cutting back and moving more towards community mailboxes.  Is there some unadvertised premium service I could sign up for that would get the mail delivered directly to my door again?  Then again, I really don’t get anything in the mail, so maybe I could just opt out like Kramer in Seinfeld:

8. Enlist a laundry folder

Washing and drying clothes aren’t so bad, but it’s the folding that’s the killer.  I’d like someone to just stop by on laundry day to fold everything from sheets to socks.  As a bonus, they could also put the clothes back in their correct drawer or closet location.   Washio offers this service, but only in a few select cities.

9. Employee a golf cart pacer

I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill running buddy or personal trainer.  I would like a person in a golf cart driving right in front of me, yelling out criticisms and split times.  There’s something about chasing down an angry golf cart driver that really gets me going.

Is there anything you plan to do when you’re rich to make your life easier?