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Simplify Your Life

Updated on September 14, 2012
Kids know how to enjoy life simply.
Kids know how to enjoy life simply. | Source

Amongst the personal finance tips I use on a daily basis, one that worked for me is to simplify your life. There were two things I learned about money when I was eight years old.

  1. Saving money was hard esp. when all you had was a small amount of allowance and your parents were a thousand miles away.
  2. I learned to simplify my life.

Self Money Trained

I had a roof on my head, food on the table and a bed to sleep on every night. My tuition fee was paid for and I lived with a relative whose house was very near my school. So I just walked past the three houses and there I was tucked safely inside.

Since I didn’t have weekends with mommy or daddy to go malling or outings, I learned to entertain myself. While most of my classmates had toys, dolls and gadgets in their homes, I wiled my time away staying glued to the tube watching Sesame Street, Voltes V, Thundercats and made up my own stories in my head. When no one was around, I’d do my own Sesame street one-woman show.

When I got bored with that, I read anything I could find in the house. Reader’s Digest, Archie’s comics, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys filled up a lot of those spaces. And there were moments I would wake up early esp. on Sundays and I would look outside the window and gazed at the clouds and tried to name all the animals and people and trees I could form in my mind. And well, when I wanted badly to talk to someone and pour out all the things inside me, I talked to God.

There were moments though when I wished I had extra money. That was when my allowance for the month had ran out and I wanted to eat this small chips and nuts that were sold in the grocery store near the house. Aside from that desire, I couldn’t remember wanting material things so much. Being away from home at a very young age I learned to value family and relationships more and being creative in finding ways to spend your time without spending much.

As I write this hub, I am now way past thirty and as I pause and reflect I can see that I am still very much the same as that eight year old. Here are four basic principles I’ve lived by all these years.

Live within Your Means

I have more money now than the allowance I used to have as a child. But I have learned to always live within my means. Let’s say you have $250 on hand, it would just be common sense to spend $250 and below right? Well, if you are one of those people, good for you.

Please understand this is not about meeting your basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. I’m referring more to the kind of lifestyle you have chosen for yourself. I’ve sometimes observed how the choice of a fancy lifestyle complete with all the high tech gadgets of the times causes a person to frantically work so hard to keep up with all the expenses.

Identify Needs from Wants

A need is something you can’t do without. Food or water is a basic need. A want on the other hand is something you would like to have. It may be something enjoyable but it is not necessary in order for you to survive. Want vs. Need: Basic Economics explained very simply.

Are you a compulsive buyer? Our former secretary who was on a very tight budget would be noticed having new clothes and shoes almost every month. It seemed crazy to be spending on these things when her family needed the money for food on the table.

As a child, my basic needs were already met. So unless I needed a new pair of rubber shoes because my old one was too small for me, I wouldn’t be spending on a new pair just because the other kids were into wearing signature ones. As an adult, I find that habit still deeply ingrained in me.

Master the art of identifying needs vs. wants.
Master the art of identifying needs vs. wants. | Source

Prioritize Needs from Wants

Try to list down all your expenses so you know where you spend your money. Then try to check where you could cut cost. I’ve observed how a friend of mine (after receiving her salary) would apportion her money: Needs, first followed by her wants. She would set aside a certain percent for savings, followed by payment for the bills, food and transportation budget. The remaining amount would be for things that she wanted like a collector’s item book. And if she wanted something like a camera, she would set aside a portion of her income and save up for it.

Simplify and Uncover Happiness

Most people would like to spend in order to be happy. Having a bigger house, getting the latest plasma TV, owning the most expensive car, eating in the most expensive restaurant, could bring happiness to the family. But what if this situation would also mean having to work harder to pay for the credit and mortgage bills used to acquire these things?

Define what brings you happiness. If we are able to find joy in the simplest and ordinary things in life, we may come to realize that we don’t need to spend so much in order to be happy.

Save money by simplifying your life. And then you can go and enjoy life more.

By: Michelle Simtoco

Happiness is enjoying the simple things in life.
Happiness is enjoying the simple things in life. | Source


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    • Peter Owen profile image

      Peter Owen 

      8 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

      Essentially, do not let desire for material things run your life. Now if we could just teach the Baby Boomers this trick.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks Neil! :)

      Thanks Nellieanna for dropping by and sharing your insights on this subject. There is so much wisdom in what you have shared. You are a delight. And thanks for your kind words. :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      EXCELLENT! This clear-thinking advice could help anyone be happier with the material things they have, better equipped to sustain a good level of "life-support" from those areas while attending to the other things that matter most, - those qualities of life which make it meaningful which you've writtenn about also. A balance in living is so important here. One can't pursue only one part of it and sustain the wholeness very well or for very long!

      I'm definitely a fan!

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great info! I have bookmarked this hub for further reading..

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks scheng and midnightbliss for leaving a comment and sharing your points of view and experiences.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      9 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      hi, ripplemaker, your hub makes me think about my experiences after I graduated college. I had a job but I tried to be thrifty and saved as much as i could because I really wanted to go to cebu to look for a stable job. after a couple of months. I did save a enough to go to cebu. It was quiet hard living alone and with limited finances but I survived by learning to prioritizing your needs and setting aside my wants for the mean time.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Those in the East have the opposite problem. The household savings are so high that the governments are worried.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you pjdscott! :-) Being able to manage our personal finances is a skill one can learn and goes a long way.

    • pjdscott profile image


      9 years ago from Durham, UK

      Some great advice and suggestions expressed in a clear and concise manner - well done again, ripplemaker! I hope people who find it difficult to manage money will read your most sensible and reasonable suggestions.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      You are welcome yash24. :-) Thanks for dropping by.

    • yash24 profile image


      9 years ago from india

      Thank  you   Ripplemaker

      Your wonderful suggestions will be useful to every-one. specially for me.  Once more time I  thanks you.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Tatjana, thanks for the thumbs up. :-) To a simple yet beautiful life! CHeers.

      Hi Julesita, your comment reminded me of Earth Hour (which we celebrated yesterday). Thanks for that.

      Hi countrywomen, me too. I have so much to catch up. I will surely visit your hub too :-) Thanks for dropping by and keeping in touch. Lots of love.

    • countrywomen profile image


      9 years ago from Washington, USA

      Michelle- I am sorry these days I have been doing a lot of catchup and I some how I missed this hub. But yes we need to identify needs from wants. And you are bang on target with your wonderful suggestions. Btw I also wrote a hub recently about saving money which is very specific to our scenario but it was a humble attempt from my side. Thumbs up for a useful hub.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wonderful advice, ripplemaker. Simplification and reduced consumption are key! Not only for the budget but to help lessen our impacts on the environment.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image


      10 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Great advices! So many people enjoy this life by living the style of living you suggested. 10 thumbs up!

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Diana, it's wonderful to hear your thoughts about this subject. One that you are very passionate about too. :-) I guess along life's path, we somehow forgot our basic Math and other things like how much joy can be found in treasures of the heart. Gratitude and oh yes giving (thanks for remembering to point that out) can indeed work wonders.

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      Hi Michelle,

      You have written some very sound advice concerning money and happiness. Living within your means, and distinguishing your needs from your wants are two basic principles that have somehow gotten lost to the world.

      The problem with buying on credit, and wanting more than we need, is what got our nation into the problem we are in. We can shout all we want to and blame the past president as well, but the simple fact of the matter is the American people got greedy and spent more than they earned. Bigger, better, faster, newer...yikes. It will all come crashing down, and it has. We are seeing the effects of that now in epic proportions.

      An attitude of gratitude and the practice of charity will be the only cure for the mess we are in, individually as well as collectively.

      Great suggestions and ideas!

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi ocbill, exactly! :-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      LOL...people who spend more than they earn non-stop beyond the necessities. It is always good to wait until you know 100% the money will be there to cover it.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Eddie, we may be sisters in another lifetime perhaps? (chuckles). But I always marvel at the similarities we humans have with experiences in life. There is much benefit in sharing and being affirmed by the lessons learned. Thanks for reading this hub. The more I simplify, the more I enjoy life more. I am glad it is for you as well.

      Hi Darlene, there were many days I asked why my life had to be away from home. But looking back now, I guess I wouldn't be who I am today if it were not for my journey that took me to another place at such an early age. You must know also how that felt like being moved from one relative to relative. I can see though that you too have found gratitude for the simple and ordinary things like food, clothing and shelter and rejoice for the extra's that come our way! Thanks for sharing your heart. :-)

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi ConstantWalker, I've come to realize that if one is unable to live within one's means on a smaller budget, it would also be difficult to do so even on a bigger budget. Habits are hard to break. Thanks for adding your insights here. They are valued. :-)

      Hi Madison, I went over to read the links you posted here. I'm glad you shared them. As much as a person could identify the difference what her/his needs or wants are, one must also be able to prioritize. Your hubs are indeed a great contribution to this topic. :-) And I smiled at the shopaholic hub,boy, am I glad I'm not one LOL

    • DarleneMarie profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Great Hub Ripplemaker. You learned such a valuable lesson at a very young age and it the lesson still works today. It is really too bad you had to be away from your family so young.

      I had a rather unstable childhood, moved from relative to relative. However, my life now is stable and I have everything I need: food, clothing and shelter - everything else is extra.

    • profile image

      Eddie Perkins 

      10 years ago

      You are right.  It sounds like we were raised by the same family.  Are you my sister?  :)

      I’ve had to learn to live within my needs and unfortunately many have to be brought to that place before they learn.  We can learn by example or experience.  I’ve always had to make my mistakes before learning. I love your words; simplifying your life”.  And… then go enjoy life more”

      Thank you for the great tips on saving money. ~ eddie

    • Madison Parker profile image

      Madison Parker 

      10 years ago from California


      You hit the nail on the head; stuff doesn't make you happy and you'll be less happy if you keep shopping for "stuff" and living above your needs! Between TV and the internet, it's no secret any longer "how the other half live." That does not mean that everyone can AFFORD to live like the other half! We don't all need Jimmy Choo shoes a Louis Vuitton bag and a Mercedes to make us happy.

      I hope you don't mind if I put a couple of links here to article that speak to this issue?

      Great Hub!

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 

      10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Excellent advice here - and I really enjoyed the reflection of your early years! I also appreciate the many benefits of living within one's means, no matter what the budget is. I've discovered that one can live very well - on what many would consider very limiting means - and still have all the "needs," and even a few "wants" taken care of. Simply by living within one's means.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I guess we are pretty much the same SweetiePie. I can only imagine what great fun it must have been to play in the mountains and exploring all the wondrous nature. I guess that is why upto today love for nature has been deeply ingrained in you too. :-) It's always lovely to hear from you. Thanks for reading this hub.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I agree with what you said about living within your means and sharing with your family.  When I was little I do not remember having lots of fancy video games like some kids or wearing the most stylish clothes, but I actually had fun because I lived in the mountains and could play in the forest.  So many kids grew up in the mountains too, but they were so busy always playing video games or wanting more expensive clothes that they never really seem happy.  You always seemed happy to me Ripplemaker, which is why you look more like 25 I believe :).

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Angel Shirley, I am working on it. :-) Thanks for dropping by and journeying with me in all of life and its lessons.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Benson, you just made little ripplemaker happy! :-)

      Dayzee, I promise you will be the first one to read it and then off it will go into Shirley's hands and then Dottie! LOL The musical, hear ye, hear ye! Wouldn't that be great when all of that will come to be?

    • dayzeebee profile image


      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hahaha that's great to know how many chapters is that again?LOL. Looking forward to make a musical about it! See yah then:)!

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 

      10 years ago from Hong Kong

      Hi Michelle,

      thanks. It brings a warm nostalgic mood to read about the little ripplemaker in you.


    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi dayzeebee, I guess I am just so awed at all the great writers in hubpages, I still see my "work" as so simple sounding. LOL Yes, I see the critic within is standing beside me with arms akimbo. Hahaha Shooo, go away critic! Hahahaha Thank you for reminding me when I allow this persona to speak up and be heard.

      Father God raised me well, that is so true! The book is in the making - it's still in Chapter 3. Hahahah thanks for asking and for inspiring me to do better always.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Peggy, I love making the world a better place. Let's keep on and spread ripples of inspiration to all those with whom we encounter daily starting with ourselves! Have a good weekend. :-)

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great hub, Michelle.  I'm listening to the Joyce Meyer video as I'm typing this.

      Simplifying is great advice.  I think that you can go from there as you can afford it.  Plus, then you can enjoy it more because it is within your means.  :)  What a great plan!

      Thanks for sharing more of your story from when you were a little girl.  I love reading about it.

      By the way, since Daisy brought it up....have you started the book?  I'm not pressuring, just curious.  Someone asked me to check out a publisher for them today.  :)

      Love & Light to you, Angel Michelle!

    • dayzeebee profile image


      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hello Ripplemaker --- I told you so...LOL. What you call "simple" could be the very thing that can get people to reflect. No one can deny the "simplicity of the pureness" that lies within your spirit. I honor you for the kind of person you have become even if you grew up away from your parents. Father God raised you well. Wink. Now, where is that book? hahahahaha Hugs:)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 years ago from Houston, Texas

      If we can look outside our "wants" and realize that most of the world is involved with merely satisfying their "needs" we would all be in better shape. Good and thoughtful hub.

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Bob, being able to differentiate want from needs is indeed an important step to simplify. :-)

      Hi Buddy, thanks for sharing that information. It does become different huh when we start earning and we now have to be responsible for our expenses. :-)

      Hi Kaylee, that was a great move! I believe once we let go of having to keep up with other people's lifestyle, stress flies out the window just like that! :-)

      Hi Ilovehubbing and Julie, thanks for dropping by.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      10 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      What a nice story!

    • ilovehubbing profile image


      10 years ago

      Ways to Save Money - nice hub

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Dottie, you warmed my heart by your comment.  I'm the eldest and three younger brothers so I never got the chance to do that - receive hand me down clothing or share clothes. Oh I surely do not mind at all.  In fact , I would love that - doing girly stuff together including staying up all night to chat!  Let's!  :-) 

      Hi Clara, glad to know you don't have any issues with money. Yes it is good to enjoy spending apparently with a lot of it in your hands. LOL

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi VioletSun, I bet you look good in designer's clothes as well as in jeans and shirt. (GRINS) Thanks for sharing your thoughts; and as I reflected I realized that it mattered more to me that I look good in what I am wearing than how expensive the clothes are or what brand. The funny thing is that when it didn't bother me too much, I ended up receiving some branded clothes or bags. LOL I am deeply grateful for the gifts expensive or inexpensive ones. :-)

    • kaylee.kenzie profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      Awesome hub! One of my most favourite quotes is "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't even like" We used to live in a 'Keep Up with the Joneses' type neighbourhood and chose to move away when my husband retired. Boy! are we less stressed out over the stuff we used to think was important. We shake our heads at friends who still think want is more important than need. You don't need to buy tanning minutes over choosing to pay your rent. Thanks so much for the reminder!

    • buddygallagher profile image

      Monie Maunay 

      10 years ago from manila, philippines

      Living off my parents growing up I never much thought about saving, maybe because its not my money I'm spending. Caution came when I had earn my keep and provide for myself.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      Simplify what great advice, learning to tell the difference between wants and needs is an important step.

    • Dottie1 profile image


      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Hi Ripplemaker, I really love that last picture of happiness sharing pie with your sister!  I always learn something new about you every time you write a new hub and it is always fun for me to hear and share what's in your heart. 

      I still find some of the things when I was little still very much engrained within me too.  Like for one I am a second child who got all my sisters hand me downs.  I know some people who will never wear any thing used because of those early years but not me I love when someone gives me their clothes, LOL.  I wonder if me and you are the same size that we can share our clothes with each other Sis, LOL.  Wouldn't that be fun! 

      Nice talking with you.  I'm being quite chatty for it being 4:00 a.m and I haven't gone to my bed yet.  I'm not even tired.  Let's stay up all night and talk Sis, o.k.? LOL :)

    • Clara Ghomes profile image

      Clara Ghomes 

      10 years ago

      Ohh... That was some interesting hub.. I know I can save a lot but as your last point say.. I'm happy when I spend.. lol.. Good hub :)

    • VioletSun profile image


      10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Now that I am a baby boomer, my life is so much more simpler, can't believe it as I never planned, and yet, I am fulfilled. The need to spend, is the same as the need to take drugs, or drink alcohol to excess, its an escape from ourselves. I used to spend a lot on clothes, even had a few designer clothes, which was stolen when my apt was robbed years ago. Nowadays, it just jeans and comfy tops, and being creative and finding ways of inspiring others.

      Thumbs up as usual to your hub!

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Catherina! LOL Your grandma was a wise woman :-) Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Catherina Severin 

      10 years ago

      Great advise... and I relate; remembering wanting to borrow a sum of money from my grandmother as a teenager. Her response was: "No I will not lend you money, but you can have half of what you are asking for - and you can keep it! xx


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