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How to Live Frugally | Tips for Simple, Frugal Living
What is Simple Living?
"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life" - Henry David Thoreau in Walden.
This quotation sums up my beliefs about simple living. Life shouldn't be about unnecessary, self-inflected hardships and martyrdom, but it also shouldn't be so cluttered that possessions come to take the place of real meaning and life. This hub is about the difficult ways you can truly simplify your life, and save some money, along the way. Some of the tips are very difficult to put into practice - you don't need to jump in and do everything all at once.
Downsize your Posessions
If you can't remember the last time you used something, get rid of it. You can donate it, sell it, or throw it in the trash - just get it out of your house!
Unless you love donating or have large objects, I suggest trying to sell your items first. You would be surprised what sells online! If you can catch eBay during a 'free listing' event, you should go ahead and list (almost) everything you want to get rid of. From old board games, which can sell for a surprisingly large amount, to fast food restaurant kid's meal toys (yes, people buy them), you can turn your unwanted items into cash.
If you have large, unneeded items, try putting them on Craigslist. Just make sure to protect yourself by following general Craigstlist safety guidelines. Over the years, I've sold several pieces of furniture, a fridge, a washer, and a dryer on Craigslist, but I did have to sort through spam and scams to make the transactions successful .
If you have an object you don't think is worth cash, try listing it on a freecycle website. Freecycling is a great way to pass your objects along to someone who needs them, and it can be a fantastic way to pick up needed items free of charge. If you're considering freecycling, learn about freecycling etiquette and best practices before going hog wild.
Banish Unneeded Kitchen Gadgets
If you want to dramatically simplify your life, and increase your kitchen counter space, get rid of your microwave and toaster. You don't need them - they are just fancy ways to do the same job as your stove or oven. In fact, my list of necessary kitchen appliances is:
- An oven/stove
- A fridge
Additionally, I really love my French press coffee maker and my immersion blender, but neither are crucial to life. You can actually make delicious coffee on the stove with a percolator, and an immersion blender is simply a convenience.
Not only do microwaves and toasters take up a lot of space in a small kitchen, but they also make poor food choices very easy. Buying that single serving slice of pie that's ready in only three minutes is pretty tempting, waiting an hour for the same slice of pie gives you the chance to eat some real food and reconsider.
The Cost of Cable TV
Most basic cable costs at least $70 a month. Pay that for 12 months a year and you're shelling out $420 just for basic cable access!
Kill your TV
If you can't go totally cold turkey on your TV, at least cancel your cable. Ditching your cable saves you a lot of money throughout the year, and the extra time you gain is priceless. Americans always complain about having too little time, yet Americans currently watch an average of 34 hours of television a week! That's basically a full time job's worth to time. Some people worry about negative affects of not having a TV on their social life or on their children's lives. I grew up with little to no television access, and I believe it has made me a more creative person. I also think not having TV is the only reason I can juggle my life! If I felt obligated to keep up with my shows, I literally don't know how I'd get everything else done. For a more, check out my in-depth look at growing up without TV and how to live television free.
Live without a Car
How much easier would your life be without a car payment, repairs bills, frequent oil changes, and can insurance plans? Living without a car simply isn't possible for many people, but it is possible for a lot of folks who just don't realize it. I do not own a car and haven't in almost two years. That doesn't mean I don't have access to a car - I share a car with my sister.
If you don't have any kind family members living close by, see if your city has a car sharing program. Car shares are groups that provide short-term rentals. Sometimes, you can rent a car for a matter of minutes to get to specific store. Instead of returning the car to a rental lot, you can just park it in a neighborhood. The fleet of cars is managed through a company and you check cars in and out on the company's website.
If you live in a metropolitan area, consider biking, walking, or taking the bus as often as possible. You can save a lot of money and maybe even get a little healthier, too! Once again, if this seems impossible, check out my tips on how to live car-free.
Home makeover shows are popular on TV, but you don't need to hire a $100 an hour expert to fix your organization problem. A simple guide and some determination can do the trick!
Do you consciously try to live simply?
Simple Living = Joyful Living
Experiments can't tell us if it is causal or just a correlation, but there is a link between clutter and depression. People who are depressed usually have lots of stuff, and much of it is typically 'stored' on the floor. People with cluttered homes can feel out of control and unable take positive changes in their own lives. Being cluttered can also take a toll on your physical well-being, not just your mental well-being. If you can't go for a run if you can't even find your sneakers!
I realize that my tips are pretty extreme and that you may need to take a more gradual approach to a simpler lifestyle. If you are interested in creating a more simple life, but not ready to ditch your car, please check out fellow hubber billybuc's Ten Tips for Frugal Living.
If you have too much stuff in your house and too many bills to keep track of, trying a few of these living simply steps to reduce your physical and emotional clutter. You just may find yourself with more money and free time, as well as a little less stress.