Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Brian Gardner of No Sidebar.
Today’s world has many luxuries that are supposed to make life easier. At times they may, but other times, they make things more complicated.
Meanwhile, there are lots of people who dream of simple living. They picture spending their days sitting by a lake and enjoying nature. This dream is often interrupted by reality, but it does not have to be that way. There are things we can do to begin living a simple life.
When people hear about simplifying life, they may think it means moving into a home in the middle of the woods and living off the land. But that is not necessarily a simpler life—and it may not be for everyone.
Instead, choose things that can keep you in the modern world, but still make life easier.
How to Live a Simple Life
- Get a basic cell phone.
It would be nice to say that a cell phone was not necessary at all, but pay phones have disappeared and if you need to call someone in an emergency, you will need a cell phone.
Instead of getting a smartphone with data and texting, opt for a basic cell phone that only makes or receives calls. There are plans that allow you to get a phone for less than $50 and offer free minutes to talk with every month.
- Cut the cable cord.
Many people are spending well in excess of $100 a month on cable television that gives them 500 different channels. Out of all those channels, most people watch 10 to 15.
Instead of having a cable bill, use over-the-air stations you receive for free. Add a streaming service and you will never miss cable. Without cable, you can go back to an old, reliable method of entertainment—talking to one another.
- Get rid of credit cards.
Credit cards are nice. They allow people to buy things they otherwise could not afford and pay for it over time. They also become a burden that drags many people down each month.
Instead of using credit cards, only buy what you can afford. Stick to that plan and the fear of not being able to pay the bills will quickly disappear.
- Declutter the home.
A search around the home will find many things that are not needed or are no longer used. Find different ways to declutter your life and get rid of the things that are no longer necessary. It is even possible to make some money selling these things that can be used to help in other areas, such as paying off credit card debt.
- Get rid of monthly expenses that are not needed.
Many people are paying for gym memberships, mobile internet service, and many other monthly services they barely use. They have often put the monthly payments on their credit card so they do not even realize how much they are spending and not using.
There are often ways to get the same things that you get from these pay services without having to pay. Gym memberships can be replaced with exercising at a local park or walking around the neighborhood. If you need internet service away from home, look for Wi-Fi hot spots. They are found at many restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops. It might take effort to do this at first, but once it becomes a habit, it is easy to do.
- Start to track your expenses.
One thing people will benefit from doing is tracking the money they spend. It is the best way to find out when you are spending money and what you are spending it on. It is possible you will find you are spending a lot of money you don’t need to. You may find that second car is an expense you may not need. You could take public transportation to work and get by without a second car and all of its headaches. When you realize that, it becomes possible to make changes.
- Track your time.
Pay attention to how much time you are spending doing things. Look for ways to cut down on time you think is being wasted on unnecessary things.
Time and money are two of the most valuable resources people have. When life gets simpler, the amount of these two things that a person has available will rise. That is the benefit of a simpler life in today’s world.
The great thing about this list is that people have choices. They can choose to do one of them, all of them, or some of them. They can start out with just one and then add some others later.
Life is about choices. Choosing simple living is something that is becoming a popular thing to do.
Simple Living FAQ
What’s the difference between minimalism and simple living?
Minimalism usually entails getting rid of unnecessary possessions, focusing on gratitude, and choosing to give more value to the things that matter.
Simple living can have varying extremes. For some, it’s as simple as cutting their cable bills and getting rid of their TV, while others can go as far as living “off the grid.”
Minimalism and simple living have a lot in common and many aspects intersect.
What are the benefits of simple living?
Simplifying your life frees up more time, money, and mental bandwidth.
Will simple living save me money?
Lowering your expenses will save you money and put you in a better financial position, as long as those cut expenses aren’t replaced by something else.