In today’s increasing fast passed over-scheduled life, we can quickly feel overwhelmed and stressed out by the many tasks that need to be taken care of as we try to keep our head above water financially. So the last thing you need are more complications in your life, what you need are simple and practical solutions. Choosing to simplify your life is the first step. Here are seven simple and practical solutions which will put you on your way to living a simpler lifestyle.
First, we need to determine what a simple living lifestyle is.
Simply put, voluntary simplicity is about minimizing the money we spend on consumer goods and services so that we have more time and resources for what is most important to us. The term voluntary simplicity was coined by Richard Gregg, a lawyer. See Richard Gregg, ‘The Value of Voluntary Simplicity.
So simplicity and frugality are tied together. If you want to lead a simpler life you have to realize that everything you spend money on is a choice. You are trading your time and resources for the purchase you are making.
The goal with both simplicity and frugality is learning to be content with what you have. You will have the means to spend, both time and money, on the things you truly enjoy, when you learn to be content with the things that you have. Minimizing your possessions allows you more opportunity for things like, vacations, time with family or even being debt free.
If you are a spender by nature and desire to live a simpler life, you have to start with changing that habit. Realize there are no quick fixes to getting rid of habits that we have been formed over a life time.
However, with these practical steps, you can quickly take control of your spending. When you take control of your spending, you will have more time and resources to enjoy the things that truly matter. This is what simplicity is all about. Here are seven solutions to help you get started on curbing your spending and simplifying life.
1. Reward Yourself
This might sound like a strange way to start off a list on curbing spending and simplifying life, but I promise you it works. Every time you don’t spend money that you would otherwise normally spend, reward yourself by taking that money and placing it in a piggy bank, or separate savings account. Continue to save that money, with the purpose of saving for something really important to you.
If you are trying to pay down debt, when you reach a certain savings amount apply that to your debt. Or if taking a nice family vacation is what is really important, save that money until you have enough for that special vacation. Whatever you are saving for, you will be motivated to continue to save as you watch that savings grow. As your savings grow, you will get closer to being able to have what is really important to you.
2. Remove the Temptation
Learning to change your money spending habits, so that you can lead a more simple frugal life, is no different than breaking any other habit. If someone is on a diet, they know that they need to stay away from bakeries and ice cream shops, it is no different with a spender.
You need to stay out of the stores, plain and simply. Every time you walk into a store there is going to be a temptation to spend money. The best way to overcome the temptation to spend money is to avoid the store.
The same can be true with catalogs and online browsing. It is quite easy to convince ourselves that we really need something when we are browsing a catalog or the internet. Remove the temptation and unsubscribe from all catalogs and stay away from online shopping sites.
3. Wait 24 Hours Before You Make a Purchase
If you do need to go to the store, and you find an item that you had not previously planned to purchase, wait 24 hours before you purchase the item. By waiting to purchase the item, you are instantly stopping impulse buys. Force yourself to go home and really think about the item. If after 24 hours you are still thinking about the item, then you can go back to the store and make that purchase.
4. Rethink Sales
Sometimes you find yourself at the store on the last day of a special sale or find a great clearance item. When this happens you can’t always wait 24 hours before you have to purchase the item. In this case, you need to ask yourself is this item really worth purchasing or am I just purchasing this because it is on sale?
If you make a purchase just because an item is on sale, are you really saving? Spending is not saving. Ask yourself, is this item worth buying if it were not on sale? If you would not buy the item if it were not on sale, you should not buy it just because it is on sale.
5. Pay with Cash Only
When you shop with a credit card you are not paying for an item, what you are doing is borrowing money. It is so easy to hand over a credit card. When you pay with cash, you will physically see the cash amount you have dwindle down. When the cash is gone, so is your purchasing power. By leaving your credit cards at home, you will avoid purchasing items you do not need.
6. One in One out Rule
I first learned of this rule from a friend, who has an amazing and popular home organizing blog, Organizing Made Fun, for every purchase she makes, she forces herself to get rid of something. So if she purchases a new dress, she has to get rid of a dress she already has. Now she does this for the purpose of keeping her home organized and clutter free, but this rule works the same with our spending. If you know that you have to get rid of an item you already own in order to purchase a new item, you have to give up something for everything you buy, you are far more likely to reconsider your purchase.
7. Consider Why You Are Buying the Item
For every purchase you make you need to ask yourself why am I buying this? You should not purchase any item unless you really love it. If the item is not 100% making you love it, wait until you find something that you do really love.
When you practice these simple and practical solutions for living a simpler life, you will relieve some of the overwhelm and stress that can be caused by having your resources, of both time and money, unnecessary spent on material things you neither need, or most of the time want for any length of time.
I would love to know if you have any other tips for living a simpler frugal life? Let us know in the comments.
Now, live simply, live fully and make today your Favorite day!!