Frugality, Minimalism, Simplicity.
To an extent – I identify with them all.
I can fully say that I’m good with being in-between all of these worlds.
It’s been quite the evolution.
A good one.
If you are seeking out ideas to make your life more fulfilling – all while simplifying, minimalizing, and frugalizing (should be a legit word, but it’s not) – this breakdown will give you some insights!
I’ll share with you a few reasons why it’s not complex for me to live a simpler life.
Let’s get started.
Living A Simpler Life: My Mindset, Money, And Goals
Many of the aspects I can relate to in terms of living a simpler life are tied to the finances.
I’ve never been completely unrealistic in terms of what I could afford in my life and what I couldn’t.
In the past, a fulfilling lifestyle was correlated with having a big house on a corner lot, a luxury car, and designer clothes lining my closets.
All this, a byproduct of being successful, right?
Of course, I wanted ALL these things once I was able to figure out how to pay for them.
That was the problem.
I thought all those things would improve my life extraordinarily in some way.
It was through building a life that I realized that I could forgo those desires and still have a rich life.
Here’s the result…
Mindset Of Living A Simpler Life
#1 – I have big money goals…so spending frivolously doesn’t make sense for me.
In the grand scheme of things, the goals you set for yourself are going to propel you forward.
The decisions you make with money can mean the difference between small amounts now OR hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future.
We all have choices to make, and not all of them are easy.
Some desires call out a little more loudly than others, so we need to do a little soul-searching to decide how to set our priorities.
Personally, in the big picture, I have to prioritize between financial freedom, a house with a fireplace, and living in my favorite city – to name a few.
Among these choices, I’m aiming for financial freedom.
Everything else pales in comparison.
TIP: Work on implementing goals that are important to you and make it happen. You got this.
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#2 – I refuse to pay credit card interest…so I buy what I can afford.
Thought-process: $50 on a tangible item OR $50 for interest on a balance I couldn’t afford to begin with.
It’s the first option every, single time.
In order for me to do this, I can’t spend more money than I can outlay to pay the bills.
Short and simple. This makes it very easy to skip the upgrades, cook at home often, and blog about finance + lifestyle instead of making another trip to Target to find something to buy.
TIP: Spend less than what you earn. If you have rich tastes, make more money and then spend less than what you earn. 🙂
#3 – I’m a planner…so I control what I can and prepare for any unknowns.
I don’t like surprises.
It’s life, so there’s going to be a ton of them.
Sometimes they come here and there. Other times, all at once.
The only way I can prepare for these unknowns is through planning for the worst.
I get it.
It sounds really pessimistic, but it’s just being responsible and realistic. It helps me sleep at night.
So, in my case, I have an emergency fund.
A simple way to start one of your own is to skim money off each paycheck and send it into a savings account.
It’s best to have one that is separate from your checking account (because let’s be real, that’s too accessible).
Save at least 3-6x monthly living expenses.
TIP: Fund this emergency account based on the expenses that you need to stay current on bills and be able to live – i.e. house, food, gas, utilities.
Let’s say you spend $3,500/month, but only $2,000 of it is necessary for you to survive, then save 3-6x that amount.
#4 – Things don’t make me exceptionally happy…for long.
Retail therapy is a real thing. It works – for a short time.
I shared this in the past, but I went through a time in my life that made me want to participate in consumerism to the max.
This 8-month episode left me with a closet full of silk, cotton, and poly – more fashion than I could ever wear.
Looking back, I’m SO GLAD I was able to let myself experience all this.
Now I realize, I don’t need all this “stuff” to make me happy.
TIP: Buy based on need, not based on want – otherwise you may never be appeased.
#5 – The thought of decluttering and living with less makes me happy…really happy.
The square footage I have grown accustomed to for the past 11+ years is ~1,300.
There’s not much to downsize in terms of square footage, but there are definitely some ways to declutter.
Looking around, there are things that still have a place in this home, but will probably not make it to the new living arrangement.
This will leave a max of 10 boxes – mostly board games, mementos, kitchen items, and clothes.
When I think about this it brings relief and a sense of freedom.
TIP: Look around. Anything you have not working its magic anymore? Think about whether you want to part with it and throw that extra money into your emergency fund or use it to further your financial goals.
#6 – Yes, I can…increase self-sufficiency.
Let’s just say life is flexible, some things can change quickly.
No, I’m not raising chickens…just yet.
For me, it’s a DIY project or finding the remedy for issues using Google and YouTube.
Here are some examples:
A few years ago, there needed to be a change STAT.
This meant putting up wallpaper, adding chair rails to the walls, and laying down new flooring. All this with the help of my husband.
Me on the walls, him on the floor.
About a week later, this all got done with our own bare hands. And it looks darnnnnn good.
How about this one.
Did you know you can plunge a clogged sink?
Use a new plunger for the kitchen clogs.
Apparently, 11+ years at my house and these clogs are getting more and more common.
The last time this occurred, I should have paid more attention when my husband said he was putting a whole pizza down the garbage disposal.
Ahem. It’s a long story.
Long story short, the pizza was inedible and the plunger did not work on this one.
Nowadays, everything gets Googled and YouTube’d to find the fix before making a house call.
TIP: Be flexible, capable, and live life on the edge! Btw – you might have a 9-5 where you have to think on your feet or make decisions in a fast-moving environment. Who says we can’t use those skills at home, where it benefits us the most?
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#7 – I remind myself…I live a privileged life considering the circumstances.
I learned fairly quickly upon stepping out into the world and creating a life for myself – with my husband alongside – that I could build the dreams if I was willing to put in the work.
Somewhere along the way, my dreams changed. They have become much more feasible.
Through this time, I’ve learned that even if I don’t have the latest gadget, biggest house, fastest car, most fashion-forward clothes – I still have everything I need.
TIP: Before taking a leap, consider if the grass truly is greener on the other side. The Joneses grass may not be for you!
Now you have it, my list of what makes living a simpler life, well that much simpler!
Let’s quickly review my reasons for keeping it simple!
#1 – The goals I set for myself keep my eyes on the big picture.
#2 – I don’t want to be tied to buying stuff that I can’t afford.
#3 – Planning keeps the unknowns in check.
#4 – Buying less stuff means I can focus my energy elsewhere.
#5 – Having less stuff means I can focus my energy elsewhere.
#6 – Being resourceful means being flexible and capable – live life on the edge!
#7 – Perspective is all I need as a reminder of how good I have it.
For you –
Keep in mind, it takes going through the movements and experiencing your likes and dislikes to realize what you really need to be happy.
Take the time to re-center and re-evaluate what is occurring in your life and if it’s truly what you want.
Until next time,
Full-Time Dollars (FTD) is dedicated to providing insights and resources to help you achieve your financial goals.
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How about you? What have you learned on your quest for living with less? Share in the comments below!