How To Be Lazy, Frugal & Happy

The word “lazy” often gets a bad rap.

It conjures up the image of someone who is “not willing or not wanting to work or use effort to do something,” according to Cambridge Dictionary.

Hardly anyone wants to admit that they are lazy in one way or another.

Usually, I ask other people how their work or life is going, the answer I often get is “Busy as usual.”

Life is short, and we all want to make the most of the time that we have.

Work, family, friends, colleagues, and other commitments tend to fill up our lives quickly.

I am a strong proponent of hard work and efficiency.

However, I have to admit that I am not always hard-working.

In fact, I can get super lazy at times and just don’t want to do anything about it.

What I’ve realized, however, is that being lazy isn’t all that bad.

In fact, laziness has helped me stay both frugal with money and happy about life in six different ways.

Related: 6 Tips On How To Be Productive

1. Not selling all of the clothes that I don’t wear

I don’t own a lot of clothes. However, there are certain clothing items that I rarely or just never wear.

I usually bring my old clothes to Vietnam when I visit home. My mom and sister will pick out some items and give the rest to my mom’s side of the family in the countryside. (Don’t worry. I also buy them new clothes).

I have also sold some on eBay. However, there were cases where I wanted to give away or sell old clothes to buy new ones, but I got lazy and put them back in the suitcase.

The thought of taking pictures of clothes, listing them on eBay, and walking to the post office to mail it somehow sounds so daunting to me.

Later on, however, I found myself wearing with joy those exact shirts, scarves or jackets I once wanted to get rid of. And the best part is I don’t have to spend money buying anything new.

For example, my mother-in-law got a red pea-coat as a gift. The coat looked a bit too young for her, so she gave it to me.

There was a time when I was tired of wearing red and pink and just wanted to stick with neutral color such as black and gray. I took some pictures of the coat to sell it on eBay but never finished that project.

A year later, I now wear that same jacket on a regular basis and have gotten a lot of compliments on it. If I were to buy a new pea-coat, it would have cost me around $100.

The key here, however, is that I try to not clutter my closet by buying new clothes often or getting free clothes that I don’t need.

I want to make the most out of the ones that I already have. Having a lot of clothes is also a constant reminder that I shouldn’t go out and buy more.

Related: 4 Reasons Why I Buy Cheap Clothes

2. Simplifying and automating our investment

Our current main investment is our 401(k) and 403(b). I need to educate myself about the stock market in order to yield a high return to our cash. But the truth is that neither of us are interested in learning about index funds, mutual funds, and anything fund-related.

Ignorance is not a bliss here. But despite skimming through multiple posts about S&P index funds, I still have no interest in learning more about it.

We might change our minds in the future once we have more cash laying around. But our current investment portfolio consists of the following:

1) Maxed-out 401(k) and 403(b)

My 403(b) is automatically invested in a pool of stocks and bonds pre-selected by my employer, so there is nothing I can do about it.

I was so relieved when I found out since that means that I didn’t have to do any additional research on the topic. That just fed into my laziness. Oh well, it works!

Related: We Discovered We Would Be Millionaires By Doing One Thing

2) Real estate

Despite our lack of interest in the stock market, Mr. FAF and I have talked a great deal about real estate. After paying off our mortgage, we plan to purchase a rental property or buy a new house and turn our current home into a rental.

We are not planning on purchasing multiple properties. I feel pretty good about having two properties that are completely paid off.

The bank won’t be able to take something (aka our house) that we own 100% even when the market is down with both of us being unemployed.

3) Stocks from Mr. FAF’s employer

In the future, Mr. FAF will get stocks from his employer after they are fully vested. Depending on the company’s performance (which is pretty good at the moment), we might just hold on to those stocks long-term.

That’s what our investment portfolio looks like: retirement accounts, real estate, and Mr. FAF’s company stocks.

If I were gung-ho about growing our investment, I would probably do more research on more investment tools. But I am not, so we will just play it slowly but surely.

Related: How Our Lives Have Changed After A 128% Increase In Income

3. Automating our bills

Our current bills are pretty simple: mortgage, water, electricity, and internet. I have automated all of them: set it and forget.

Instead of waiting for the paper bills, writing a check, and mailing it to the companies, I can handle all of those bills online without even having to think about them every month.

The automation not only takes away some stress in my life but also helps us avoid paying late fees in case we forget to make a payment.

4. Having one car

We are a one-car family. I take the Metro to work while Mr. FAF drives the car to work every day. Sometimes I wish we had two cars, especially when I have to take Baby FAF to see the doctor while Mr. FAF is at work.

However, thinking about researching for a used car, getting the registration, doing car maintenance makes me cringe a little.

We used to own a $2,000 Toyota Corolla (1999), and it caused us so much headache and anxiety whenever something broke. Mr. FAF would have to spend hours at the mechanic shop to get it fixed.

Life can be a bit inconvenient sometimes, but at least I’m saving money by not taking on another depreciating asset.

Related: My 12 Frugal Fantasies

5. Cooking meals for the whole week on the weekends

Neither Mr. FAF nor I like cooking. In fact, cooking is one chore that I dread the most. Fortunately, Mr. FAF comes to the rescue and cooks for us when my mother-in-law (MIL) is not in DC.

However, we try to minimize cooking as much as possible while not starving ourselves. Every Sunday afternoon, we would set 3-4 hours cooking 5-6 main dishes for the whole week.

What we once cooked for the week

On weekdays, we can just heat up the food or make simple soup to go with the leftovers. We all get fed, and that’s the most important thing. We have also talked about using the crock pot more often when my MIL leaves for China.

Related: The Pros & Cons Of Living With In-laws

6. Cleaning the house once a week

I know a lot of people clean their house thoroughly every day. But I will admit that I clean our house only once a week. Sometimes when I’m tired or just feel lazy, it will be once every two weeks.

Being ok with a less frequent cleaning schedule helps me get over the thought that I need to hire someone to clean every few days. It helps save money on cleaning service and cleaning products.

And most importantly, we know that we need to clean up after ourselves every day in order to avoid turning our house into a hot mess.

Related: Housework – The Financial Decision In A Marriage

Conclusion

I am definitely not promoting laziness in post. I am simply stating a true fact that I sometimes let laziness take over my life. However, I try to ensure that I facilitate my desire not to do work with automation, simplicity, and mass production.

Not wanting to work is not all negative. That’s what motivates many of us to work harder, save more, and generate more passive income.

The next time you feel lazy and simply want to wind down, just make sure that your finances, family, and work are still in order.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Think about the big picture and create systems to prevent the small stuff from being a nuisance in your life.

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13 thoughts on “How To Be Lazy, Frugal & Happy”

  • Ooh, #5 is clever. Usually people make prep meals but they’re all the same and in bulk. That’s not for me, I need something different every other day to break it up. That’s why I like Asian food so much. Anything goes with rice with sides 🙂

    For paid off real estate I remember someone saying it becomes an vulnerable asset in a lawsuit because they can just take it without dealing with a bank. I think we’re need paying off this mortgage and just dumping it in stocks. (I like it when we don’t twin LOL! Adds flavor to life and thinking.)

    • I think people will just sue whoever they think has money. But having a paid-off house definitely makes us look like an easy target. That said, we know next to nothing about stocks and are too lazy to learn at the moment.

      I think you guys have a great plan which seems to be working out great. Ultimately, it really depends on each person’s investment preference and risk intolerance. What’s more important is that both spouses are on the same page 😉

  • Your food looks yum! oops now i’m hungry lol. I tried prepping my meals in advance but for some reason, typically by mid week, i start to get bored with it, and it seems to not taste as good. I recently started prepping like 3 days in advance, that seems to work best for me.

    Also automating is probably my favorite FI hack, i try to automate everything as much as possible. Bills, investing, everything….saves me a lot of time and brain power

    • I think 3 days might sound like a much better plan since they food doesn’t sit in the fridge for too long. We have also discussed prepping all the ingredients on the weekends but make another batch of meals on Wed night for freshness after my MIL leaves. We’ll see how it turns out 😀

  • I lot of these things, like meal prepping and cleaning the house, I would classify as “efficient” rather than lazy. Plus, you need some downtime to reset your brain. You can’t be on all the time.

    • Thank you, Janet! Cleaning the house seems a bit mind-numbing to me at times, so I try to listen to podcasts when I do it. It’s just something we need to get done to live a healthy life 😀

  • Wow, that’s a lot of work in one sitting to cook that much. I have it easy because I can cook at 4 pm. 🙂
    Company stocks. Be careful with these. It’s good to have them, but don’t buy any extra if you don’t get a discount. That’s putting a lot of eggs in one basket.

    • I usually get home at 6 PM, and hubby gets home at 6:30 or almost 7. After my MIL leaves, we will need to handle the cooking by ourselves. When we get home, we’re just really hungry. Cooking at 4 sounds like a great time!

      Thanks for the investment tip! I think we won’t buy any stocks. We’ll just get and keep whatever stocks Mr. FAF company gives him. Maybe we will buy some when we get more stock-savvy in the future. But I will def use Vanguard as you suggested in your post today 😀

  • I love this post!! Working hard at something to allow time to be “lazy” later is such a great thing.
    Also being lazy about things that really don’t matter so you have time and energy for what does is super important.

    I also am a fan of cleaning once a week. (Or sometimes less if other things come up) my house isn’t pristine, but it isn’t a sty either.

    Putting things on auto pilot as much as possible help me too… auto pay bills, auto save, automatic dishwasher and rice cooker.

  • I’m a firm proponent of #6 – the house is just gonna get dirty again anyway! We’ll make sure we do enough each week to ensure we’re not living in filth, but the idea of spending time cleaning every day before or after work doesn’t appeal at all.

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