The $1,000 Magic Wand

One morning I ended my shower and discovered something dreadful. There wasn’t a towel to dry off with. Not on the towel rack, not on a hook, not even on the floor. I cursed the bathroom towel gods for leaving me stranded like this.

Alas, I plunged myself into the cold air of the nearby bedroom and over to the closet. I yanked down the first towel in sight. Then I scurried back to the bathroom to dry off and wrap the towel around my shivering parts.

Much better. But something about the towel was unusual. It wasn’t just that it didn’t match the other towels. What I noticed is how soft, thick, and absorbent it was. My usual bath towel seemed like a flimsy dishrag compared to this luxurious cloth.

A sudden realization struck me hard. I’ve been using a terrible bath towel for far too long. And my quality of life has suffered because of it. How ridiculous? What was I thinking?

I used that old towel over and over out of habit. It was “my towel,” but it was only a towel. I didn’t consider how thin it is, or many hundreds of times it’s been washed. I didn’t think of its lifespan. As long as it was there when I stepped out of the shower, all was well. 

Day after day, year after year, I never gave my bath towel much thought. And I didn’t realize that I suffered—just a little—after every shower. I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy something as simple as a halfway-decent towel with appropriate fluff.

Often you have to stay at a fancy hotel or a friend’s home to gain this kind of insight and discover better ways of living. On this winter morning, it happened in my own bathroom. 

Bath towels are just the beginning

But this isn’t about bath towels. This lesson is about blindspots, habits, and cheapness. These can all get in the way of tiny life improvements that you and I could make right now.

I invite you to consider the possibilities. Are there small changes you could make that would upgrade and improve your day-to-day quality of life? What would those changes cost?

You probably don’t need to wave a magic wand, rub a lamp, or part with much money to make it happen. A better towel, for example, is easy to get.

Here’s your wand

Let’s imagine I go full-on wizard and give you a $1,000 magic wand. I declare that you must spend $1,000, no strings attached, to give your life an instant upgrade. 

Waving around an actual wand is optional in this process. But if you have access to one, it wouldn’t hurt.

Let’s also stipulate that you can’t spend the money to upgrade your status or keep up with the Joneses. In fact, no one will know about these upgrades; they’re only for you. 

So, what would you upgrade? Would something as simple as a new towel turn the end of every shower into a five-star experience? What would have the most impact on your daily experience of life? 

Ideas to get started

I’ve got some ideas, and I’m sure you’ll have your own. None of these would cost very much. In fact, to pack more punch, many of these upgrades are free and only require your time and effort.

All the ideas below fall into two categories:

  • Upgrade items that you use every day. Presto! Change-o!
  • Cut out annoyances by completing small tasks or removing stuff. Alakazam!

Upgrade items:

  • Phone case
  • Bath towels
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Shoes
  • Pillow
  • Bedsheets
  • Blanket
  • Razor
  • Coat
  • Bicycle seat
  • Soap dispensers
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Spoons
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Kitchen sponge

Cut out annoyances:

  • Unclog slow drains
  • Clean your home or hire a professional to do it
  • Buy a robot vacuum cleaner
  • Clean and organize your refrigerator or freezer
  • Organize your junk drawer
  • Clean that dirty mirror
  • Throw out expired spices and other pantry items
  • Organize your pantry
  • Update your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Clean your glasses or sunglasses
  • Fix that drawer that won’t stay closed
  • Clean television, phone, and computer screens
  • Donate clothes you don’t like wearing
  • Throw out socks with holes in them
  • Clean your car
  • Tune up your bike

Saving and waving

One way to spend less and save more is to reduce spending where it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t make you happy or align with your goals, cut it. This is a useful value-based approach. But while you’re saving like a maniac, don’t neglect small upgrades that can improve your life right now.

I’ve already started using my magic wand on the list above. Some of them are already done, and some are going on my todo list. 

Consider using your own $1,000 magic wand and the immediate impact it could have. Imagine waving that thing around every once in a while and feeling its power. Imagine upgrading your daily life without sacrificing your long-term financial goals. Ta-da!

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