Modern life as it is today is so much more complex than it used to be before ‒ every new and old generation will be able to make a claim like that.
But taking some time to do things differently can not only simplify your life, but truly save you heaps of money, opening up much more time for yourself. Taking the hassle out of things will help you enjoy life so much more.
It is definitely not about restricting yourself.
As with anything, it can be done in different ways. Here are my 7 tips to help you get started:
If you can afford it, more durable goods. There is no doubt that disposable items of every kind are part and parcel of our everyday lives ‒ just think about disposable or throw-away razors, diapers/nappies, instant cameras, cutlery (when buying take-aways), packaging and many more. So-called “no-contract” mobile phones, sometimes called ‘throw away’ phones, are even available.
Lots of useful things we buy and use every day, replace something more durable as it is less expensive and more convenient. But think about it – apart from “take-away” food, consider everything you regularly buy and regularly discard after single use and replace with a new and more durable item. It might cost a bit more, but in the long run you will save lots of money, so try to buy something you use frequently (like a camera) just once.
Forget about being in fashion or style-driven. A used car runs as fine and gets you from A to point B just as easily as the latest set of wheels on the showroom floor. Do you really need a brand-new car? What about department-store jeans that cost 20% of designer jeans? Also, be strong and only buy what you really need as opposed to what you think might impress people. People can’t see the label in the back of your neck or pants…
Don’t be concerned about being judged ‒ it can be one of the greatest freedoms of all.
Live green and recycle everything you are able to. You will mostly only be helping the environment, not just yourself financially. However, it is very much possible to get paid for many of the things ending up in your dustbin. Contact your local recycling center and ask what they pay for certain things such as paper, plastic, metal and glass.
Apart from giving to charities or other people, don’t simply throw away clothing, furniture, toys, appliances and other things you don’t use anymore. If it doesn’t meet your standards anymore, it doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t enjoy it. Sell what you can and give away the things you cannot recycle and that can be used b y other people. Even in South Africa you can declare it as a donation and receive a tax deduction.
Recycling also means reusing. Many items in your own home can be recycled by means of reusing. This can save you money as you won’t have to buy whatever item. A good example may be using small containers as planters, worn-out clothes to make a rug or “lappieskombers” (patchwork quilt), everyday paper items for decorative gift wrapping. The list goes on…
Grow your own food. This not only gives you a lot better quality, but it can also be much cheaper and definitely fresher than the supermarket. Apart from that, gardening can be very relaxing and enjoyable, while kids love it, too. And think about all the trips to the store – you will be saving on fuel and also buying things you don’t really need…
Be more energy conscious. Shower rather than take a bath, and while you’re at it, take shorter showers. You will use less hot water and have more free time. A low-flow showerhead saves a lot of water and could potentially pay for itself in a month!
Invest in the newer fluorescent bulbs – they last a lot longer, and although they cost a bit more, they are much less expensive over time due to their longevity and lower power usage.
Don’t supersize ‒ downsize as and when you can. Buying in excess of what you need creates more garbage (leftovers) or unwanted stuff that you have to deal with sooner or later. If you haven’t used something for a long time, get rid of it ‒ and buying something you don’t need, is the cause of this. It is extremely also wasteful since you will have to throw some of it out in the end. If you buy more or bigger ‘just in case’, it is more expensive, leads to waste and creates clutter.
Don’t spend money on anything irrelevant. You know who and what you are and what you do. Think of your activities, hobbies, clubs (including the gym), and everything else you pay for. Do you really need it all? Do you really enjoy all of it? Is it worth the time and money? Getting rid of everything irrelevant frees up time to bring more meaningful activities into your life. Oh, and it also saves a lot of money…
You don’t have to lower your standards to simplify your life. Simplifying is great ‒ it gives you more free time and helps you waste money. We all have more stuff than we really need and spend far too much time on things that are not that important to us.
Use baby steps ‒ start small, but start today.
A simple life is a richer life, in more ways than one.
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