Life in the Cloud

A little over a year ago I was fortunate to win a Dell Chromebook (this one in fact) with it came 100 GB storage on Google’s cloud service – Drive. I already had the ‘free’ 15 GB which gave me a total of 115 GB of cloud storage.

I have used various cloud storage systems both personally and professionally and while I find Dropbox useful in my work environment (many clients and project partners use it to share large files across multiple individuals). What I like for my personal files is the ease in which I can share, access and use them via Google Drive.

The integration with the Chromebook is, obviously, a big part of that. The limited on board space of the machine (16 GB plus any SD card I might add) certainly means I am more inclined to use the cloud system. The only down side to the Dell Chromebook is the need to be on a WiFi or Wired connection – no ability to add a SIM card. However, with a mobile phone I can easily tether the laptop and download what I need on the fly, then work on that document offline. The ease in which is updates once I am back connected to the internet is superb.

So when I am off playing our monthly D&D session I can make notes on a Google Doc, which will update when I return home. The only downside so far is that I can not edit a PDF in offline, they really need to fix that! A use the official D&D PDF character sheet which is great, the fill-able fields auto re-size the text to fit and I could upload an image of my character. The downside is I have to print off a hard copy to make notes on, which I then correct when back online.

With the size of the storage on Drive I have been able to back-up all our digital images, having them in one safe space means I can rest a little easier knowing that if a fatal error occurs on one of our drives (yes I have them on the PC storage drive and a back up external) they are still sitting safe in the cloud. This also means they are accessible anywhere, at least anywhere I can get an internet connection.

It goes without saying that I also have Gmail, which I now only view via Chrome browser, I no longer have the need to down load my emails or store them separately. Folders and rules within Gmail help me to manage my personal account and the ability to access them all from anywhere is so useful.

On work front I have been able to add the VMWare app which means I can log on to my work virtual machine and be able to take the lighter, longer lasting Chromebook to work events (as long as I have access to WiFi) – this has been very beneficial for many meetings and off site events. It means I am connected and virtually in the office. I have full access to my share drives, all the applications and email! Basically I am in the cloud for work as well – all with a very inexpensive, light weight yet powerful enough machine.

Google Drive is a super useful cloud storage option, coupled with the suite of programs Google offers for free (Docs, Slides, Sheets etc) provides a great integrated platform for most people’s home and indeed work needs. The additional 100 GB costs $1.99/month (full rates) and in my opinion is well worth the costs. Even the free 15 GB is able to hold a large amount of docs and emails.

I know that I was ‘lucky’ to get the Chromebook as a prize, but I believe it was only a matter of time for me to step into the world of Cloud, this was just the push (and tool) to allow it to be done almost seamlessly.


Reducing waste and saving money

My wife and I undertook 10 in 100 challenge earlier this year. Basically this is about reducing the clutter in your life by removing 10 things each day for 100 days.

We did pretty well, reduced a hell of a lot of clutter and junk, some things went in the bin (or recycling), some we sold on Ebay and some we donated to charity. We actually didn’t get to the 100th day, after our move to Melbourne only a year before we had already reduced a lot of stuff, still amazed at how much we had that was extra!

I think thought that we might need to do this again on a smaller scale, after all we should only have the last 12 months or so to build up clutter.

I think I might make this the 10 in 30 challenge and once again find 10 things a day to remove from our life for 30 days. I think 300 things would be a great investment and certainly reduce once again the clutter and streamline our lives even more.

Like last time I will post this via Instragram to show you all what I have reduced (maybe even let you know where it will be going). So keep an eye out for the #10×30 you are most welcome to do your own #10×100 or #10×30 I highly recommend it.

A recent post from the MillennialMoneyHack is on a similar line but for wastage in expenses, the model there is cut 3 for 3. It’s simple, cut three expenses each month for 3 months. Key here is to start small, cut the easy stuff, the things you really won’t miss or those expenses that you had been meaning to cancel or change.

We recently re-newed our phone contacts (mobiles) and saved ourselves over $30 a month, most of the rest of our expenses are pretty close to the bone or are our one vice (like coffee out etc) so while I applaud and support this challenge and can see a benefit, for a family like mine on 1 and a bit income I just don’t see the extra expenses we can live without.

Our focus is removing the debit of personal loan and credit card, while continuing to reduce the mortgage and keeping on top of bills, for us that is a win. Long term we want to start to save for an overseas family holiday – but that is a few years off but that vision is there and in the mean time if we can see waste we need to remove it.

Let me know your ideas or similar challenges and check back to see how I go with the #10×30 challenge this year.

Image from Andrea Decker