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Voluntary Simplicity Money Saving Ideas for Living on a Dime

Updated on January 19, 2015

Voluntary Simplicity as a Lifestyle

What is voluntary simplicity? Voluntary simplicity is about paring down your life and focusing on what really matters. Freedom of time is the ultimate goal. Is voluntary simplicity for you? Would you like to have more time to spend with your family? You don’t need to move to the country, live off the grid or start homesteading, become a hippie or join a new age commune to simplify your life. You can begin to simplify your life now, whether you live in the city or country. You can have a richer life by clearing out the clutter.

Living Simply

Voluntary simplicity is about choosing time freedom over materialism.
Voluntary simplicity is about choosing time freedom over materialism. | Source

Emotional Clutter vs. Physical Clutter

There are two main types of clutter. There is emotional clutter and there is physical clutter. Physical clutter takes up space in our homes, takes over garages and basement and can engulf an entire house if not kept in check. Emotional clutter is harder to recognize. It creeps in slowly and takes a strong hold. Both types of clutter can cause you to feel "stuck."

Debt Free Living

Voluntary simplicity is about living a simple life that rejects the high-consumption, materialistic lifestyle that has become the American way of life. Most Americans are so focused on accumulating "things" that they lose sight of what really matters. This is the physical type of clutter. All of that accumulation and over shopping has led us to piles of debt and constant stress and pressure to pay for our affluent lifestyles. We have lost sight of what matters most, which is time freedom. Time is the ultimate freedom. It means being able to make decisions on how you spend your day.

How to Simplify Your Life

Start slowly. Work on one area of your life at a time. Get rid of clutter in your life. This can be emotional or physical clutter. Eliminate some of your “stuff.” Any items that you don’t use on a regular basis should be given away. This includes clothing, tools and even home décor items. Go through each room of your house with a critical eye. If you have not used an item in the last year, get rid of it.

Save All Your Change and Dollar Bills

Eliminate Your Debt

Eliminate your debt. Make a list of your debts including credit card debt, loans, lines of credit, student loan debt, medical bills, car payments, and any other items you are or should be making regular payments on. Be honest with yourself. Write your debt down so you can take a good, objective look at it. Make paying off your debts a priority. Get your spouse or partner on board with you. Use the Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball approach to get the debt paid off. Focus intensely on getting the debt paid down. If you have multiple types of debt you can prioritize the debt by interest rate. Check to see how much interest each type of debt costs you each month.

Simplify Your Life By Shopping Less Often

Quit buying new stuff. Focus on quality and not quantity when you make a purchase. So many items that are on the shelves at stores are cheap items that are not made to last. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself a few questions:

Is this something I NEED? If not, move on. Needs and wants are totally different. Needs are about the necessities. Needs are items you must have. You must have a coat in the winter to keep yourself warm, depending on the climate where you live. Do you need a designer coat? Could you get a warm coat from a thrift shop? Do you have five or ten coats hanging in your closet that you don't want to wear? Do you want a coat or simply a pick-me-up?

Shop less often. Go shopping in your own closet. Pull out items that have gotten buried in the back of the closet or tucked away in drawers. Be aware of the number of items you own versus the number f clothes that you wear on a regular basis.

Eliminate shopping out of boredom. No more weekly trips to Target to pass a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The more time you spend in stores, the more money you spend. When you go grocery shopping, make a list and stick to it. Leave your kids or partner at home if they encourage you to buy items that are not on the list.

Read More Books


Read More Books, Watch Less TV

Visit your local library and check out a book. You can even take a class in computer skills, learn how to compost or start a garden in your backyard or get free tax help at your local library. There are story times for preschool age kids.

Tiny House Simple Living Appeal

Totally Tiny House Crazy

Ever since I first saw one of these Tiny Houses on a YouTube video, I have been fascinated by this movement, this trend toward paring our lives down to what we really need. I grew up in the eighties, in a time of giant houses with rooms that were rarely used (who actually eats in a dining room anyway) and walk-in closets to showcase enormous hoards of shoes and clothing. Paring my own life down to just the basics is an issue I struggle with. I'm a jewelry designer with a passion for antique and vintage buttons. My supplies have swallowed up two of the upstairs bedrooms in my house. I dream about living in a little garden shed within walking distance of my job. My reality is a 30 minute commute to work (each way) and a yard the size of a postage stamp.


Choose Voluntary Simplicity Today

I invite you to join me on the journey toward voluntary simplicity. I may not conquer all my physical clutter this month or even this year, but I am on a journey to carve out space in my life. I would love to hear your ideas and tips for living a simpler, more fulfilling life by choosing voluntary simplicity and embracing money saving ideas for living on a dime.


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    • heathersgreatcat profile image

      Heather Walton 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Always good to remember our greater purpose and let the little things go...take care and thanks for reading

    • profile image

      Teri Stohlberg 3 years ago

      Great advice, thank you!

    • heathersgreatcat profile image

      Heather Walton 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Thanks!!! I must admit it's easy to get caught up in a shopping less often and purchasing only items I truly need are a few of my short term goals.

    • amazaving profile image

      Amazaving 3 years ago

      Good advice! Thanks