21 Little Life Upgrades for 2024

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What’s one small change you could make right now to instantly improve your life?

I’m talking about tweaks that are completely within your control—minor upgrades that deliver outsized returns on your happiness.

Today we’re talking 21 little life upgrades—small purchases, shifts, and habits you can adopt this year to improve your life.

I’ll be sprinkling in some of my own tweaks throughout, but we’ve also got a ton of suggestions from the Side Hustle Nation community on everything from work hacks to health habits to home upgrades.

If the format sounds familiar, we did a round of these in 2020 as well! I definitely encourage you to check that one out as well (episode 418) for even more upgrade inspiration!


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1. Portable Teleprompter

Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com recommended a portable teleprompter for all content creators.

He put it simply, “I make a lot of YouTube videos because it takes me forever to film a video unless I have it scripted. I need a teleprompter, but the problem is the one that I currently had is gigantic.”

But Steve found a portable version on Amazon that was “super light, came with its own carrying case,” and most importantly, allowed him to “film full YouTube videos on the fly.”

The Padcaster Parrot Teleprompter Kit
The Padcaster Parrot Teleprompter Kit

The portable unit I use is called the Padcaster Parrot

The Padcaster app loads your script, then this little Bluetooth remote controls the speed. You can slow it down to nail that tricky sentence, or speed it up when you’re feeling confident.

2. Improve Your In-Home Studio

Tyler Christensen from Creator Side Income wanted a professional-looking studio to make YouTube and Amazon Influencer Program videos.

He built out his basement with fancy lighting and bookshelves. But when all was said and done, Tyler still wasn’t happy with how it looked on camera.

It turns out that a simple canvas backdrop can make a world of difference.

Canvas Backdrop

“I went on to Amazon and for $10, I bought a canvas backdrop that photographers use,” he shared.

The canvas hides imperfections in the walls, looks great on camera, and is easy to switch out.

And as an added bonus, Tyler was able to write a product review on the backdrops as an Amazon Influencer. So his $10 backdrop investment gets him better video quality AND passive earnings from referral commissions! Pretty slick.

3. Attend Events

Networking. Ugh. I feel you—it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But force yourself to be more proactive about event attendance this year.

As Shannon Weinstein of Keep What You Earn podcast emphasizes, nothing beats face-to-face relationship building. “One upgrade I’ve made this year is my effort to connect. I’m making a conscious decision to attend more events and grow my network this year.”

Events also present opportunities to learn, have fun, and potentially meet partners, clients, and promoters for your personal brand or side business.

4. Custom T-Shirts

Speaking of wardrobe upgrades, let’s talk about an easy way to spark daily joy—stock up on custom t-shirts and quality threads you actually love to wear! Here was my rationale this past year:

Life is just too short for crappy t-shirts.

Next Level T-shirt from Printify
Next Level T-shirt from Printify

So I ordered four soft, customized shirts from Printify in my perfect size and favorite style for less than $100 in total.

Whenever I pull one of these from my drawer now, it gives me a little energy boost and gratitude for following through on such a small but satisfying project.

While you’re at it, Marie Kondo that dresser and ditch your bottom 20% of clothes. 

5. Cloud Massager

When you spend all day sitting at a desk, your feet and legs can get stiff and sore. Upgrading to a Cloud Massager can provide soothing relief right at your workspace.

Simply slide your feet into the electronic massager and enjoy compression, rolling, vibration and sway messages while you work.

Cloud Massager
Cloud Massager

Rosemarie Groner from Busy Budgeter said this $260-ish splurge was life changing in terms of increasing comfort and energy at her desk.

“It feels so amazing to sit at your desk and have your feet massaged all day long.”

With the physical and mental perks, this little upgrade quickly pays for itself if you’re logging serious hours.

My only hesitation is whether I’d actually stay focused on WORK with all those sweet, sweet kneading sensations. But maybe that’s a risk worth taking if you easily get fatigued or distracted sitting all day.

6. Delegating Email

Email can be one of the biggest drains on productivity. Responding to inquiries, looking up information, and the mental effort it requires all eat up precious time.

But as John Jonas of OnlineJobs.ph explains, you may be able to escape the email chaos by delegating the task.

John started small by having his Virtual Assistant draft responses so he could review and approve them. As he explains, “I realized there’s a bunch of stuff that I don’t need to deal with in my email.”

After providing feedback to improve his VA’s skills over time, John was confident allowing her to respond directly without oversight.

The results? Massively reduced email workload and associated mental drain. Now his VA handles the tedious informational lookups and basic requests while John focuses on the bigger picture.

7. Treadmill Desk / Walking Pad

Maybe you already know that sitting for too long is not good for your physical and mental health. You also might have thought of buying a treadmill… but you hesitate because it’s expensive.

As Jacques Hopkins from PianoIn21Days.com and theonlinecourseguy.com discovered, you don’t necessarily need an expensive treadmill—an affordable walking pad can work just as well.

As he explains, “I found a great one on Amazon for around $200, and there’s even more affordable options than that. So remember, walking pad, not treadmill.”

He sets it to 1.5 MPH and hops on for certain low-intensity work like email in 1-2 hours daily. This auto-pilot movement keeps energy and step counts high without detracting from tougher tasks.

8. Walk a Mile a Day

Last year, I set a simple daily goal to walk at least one mile per day.

With two kids, I’m usually walking to school to pick them up anyway, so this forces me just to be more mindful of that 15-minute round trip on foot rather than using a bike or car.

We have great conversations when moving at walking pace, plus it guarantees I get some steps in instead of sitting too much on busy days.

9. Track What You Eat

What gets measured gets managed, right?

Simply paying attention to everything you put in your mouth can work wonders, as Chad Carson from the Real Estate Investing podcast discovered.

“Last year, I started tracking all of the food I eat with a free app on my phone called Fitbit,” he said.

The main benefit Chad emphasizes is awareness…just paying attention to servings and nutrition as you log meals improves eating habits naturally over time.

It adds just enough friction to make you pause and question if you really want MORE of those unhealthy snacks.

Plus, seeing aggregate data on protein/carbs/fats keeps things balanced big picture.

I have found similar results using MyFitnessPal.

Give it a shot for a week and see if it changes your eating habits!

10. Cut Out Sugar

Vincent Pugliese’s upgrade was to cut out sugar and bread from his diet. Within just a few weeks, he happily reported noticeable improvements in energy, weight management, and mental clarity.

“Most importantly, clothes fit much better,” he added.

You can learn more about Vincent and his work at Total Life Freedom.

11. Spice Up Your Life

Spices can make healthy food taste anything but boring. And this small change made a big difference for me.

My sister-in-law gifted us this Silverwater Secrets spice from a local restaurant (sorry, does not appear to be for sale online), and we’re hooked.

Find one near you for less than $10 and you’re actually going to look forward to eating the healthy stuff because the spice makes it taste so much better.

12. Work with a Trainer

Online teacher and course creator Jade Weatherington of TeacherJade.com explained that working with a trainer helped her make progress on “very specific body goals.”

Her trainer keeps her accountable and motivates her to show up and put in the work.

Jade also attends dance classes and sword fighting multiple times per week, further showing her commitment to fitness as the foundation for health and happiness.

13. Robo Vacuum

I recently upgraded my home with a robot vacuum we affectionately call “Eufy.” Every night, Eufy makes its semi-erratic journey around the downstairs and keeps me from sweeping multiple times a day!

eufy robot vacuum
Eufy Robot Vacuum

14. Get a Pet

Hala Taha from the Young and Profiting Podcast shared how adopting a kitten has been a serious upgrade to her mental health.

“Petting a cat literally produces stress reducing hormones,” she explained. “Their purring is known to be medically therapeutic for humans” by lowering blood pressure and helping heal infections.

15. Incentivize Your Kids

Jamila Souffrant from the Journey to Launch podcast is a busy entrepreneur and mom of 3.

Mornings in their home used to feel rushed and chaotic. The typical screams of “where are my shoes?” and “brush your teeth!” set an unpleasant tone for the whole household.

On a whim, Jamila decided to incentivize morning routines by rewarding her kids with 20 minutes of iPad time. While screen time felt taboo before, she suspended judgement and gave it a shot.

With motivated kids and less stressful mornings, she can “actually enjoy myself and have coffee and get myself together without feeling ragged.”

16. Outdoor Hot Water Hookups

Kids love splashing in water year round. But their resulting muddy aftermath is not so adorable when tracked back inside.

Susie from Busy Toddler shared a great solution: adding hot water access to your outdoor hose!

Now Susie can spray down her kids before entering the house to preserve her floors (and sanity.)

No more shivering or whining either; the warm spray makes rinsing off almost fun!

17. Smart Plugs

This year, we upgraded our home with a couple cool Kasa smart plugs.

Kasa Smart Plug
Kasa Smart Plug

We were a bit hesitant about joining the smart home craze, but these plugs turned out to be super handy, especially for our Christmas tree lights.

The outlet behind our tree was really hard to reach, and every time I tried to turn off the lights, I ended up knocking off ornaments.

With the smart plugs, though, we could control the lights right from our phones using the Kasa app. We could set timers or turn the lights on and off whenever we wanted, without any fuss.

18. Hire a Cleaner

Does cleaning your home feel like a dreadful, endless chore?

Like Mindy Jensen from the Mindy On Money podcast and Bigger Pockets Money podcast, you probably assume you should just power through this tedious task solo to save money.

But putting a price tag on your precious free time and mental space is important too.

“So my husband and I sat down and decided that we were going to hire a house cleaner.” By outsourcing her most-loathed chore for just a few hours a week, Mindy bought back personal freedom AND now actually enjoys returning home to sparkling floors and surfaces.

19. Simplify Your Travel Experience

Paul Minors of PaulMinors.com shared his family’s airport parking hack. Whenever they’re heading out on a trip, Paul pays a bit extra for valet parking at the airport.

Paul says it’s a total “game changer” that makes airport transport “that little bit easier” when managing antsy, excited kids.

And depending on where you valet, you can sometimes pay a reasonable fee to also have your car cleaned.

While it may cost slightly more than parking yourself, Paul says it doesn’t add too much to their total vacation expenditure.

20. Splurge for First Class (within reason)

I recently booked my first ever first-class flight that wasn’t on points or miles… and it was worth it.

And that extra $100 ticket instantly improved the entire experience for reasons I didn’t expect.

Beyond the wider seats, free drinks, and elbow room, I landed with this profound sense of gratitude that lasted the entire flight. And even before that, I found this fun “anticipation” benefit of really looking forward to the trip.

And then I flew Southwest on the way home, because you gotta stay true to your roots :)

21. Use a Budgeting Tool

Getting control of your finances is the foundation that enables all other life upgrades (I should have put this tip at the top of the list).

And that’s why Rachel Jimenez of moneyhackingmama.com recommended using a budgeting app called YNAB (You Need A Budget) as a first step.

YNAB allows you to track spending and saving in real time across all accounts to see exactly where your money is going.

This visibility helps naturally guide better decisions aligned with your financial goals vs. mindless spending.

You can review your budget before each spending decision to ensure alignment with the “big picture.”

YNAB also helps Rachel manage business finances efficiently without the cost of QuickBooks. She uses a free YNAB extension called Toolkit for YNAB to generate financial reports straight from her personal budget.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

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