living simply http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11409/all en-US Do You "Want" to Be Happy? Then Here's What You Need to Do. http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-483660917.jpg" alt="woman with umbrella" title="woman with umbrella" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, &quot;I'll be happy when...&quot;</p> <p>You know, &quot;I'll be happy when I can own my own home,&quot; or &quot;I'll be happy when I can buy a new car/afford nicer clothes/replace this cludgy old desktop.&quot; Even people who aren't focused on gaining possessions tend to fall into this kind of thinking, only for them it can sound like, &quot;I'll be happy when I get a promotion,&quot; or &quot;I'll be happy when I have kids/feel better/have more free time.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-happier-this-year?ref=seealso">Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier</a>)</p> <p>Whether the thinking focuses on possessions or more abstract desires, it all comes back to one thing: wanting more. Most of us live this way because it's the life we've been taught. Wanting more is endemic to our culture.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://www.ted.com/playlists/4/what_makes_us_happy">having more does not necessarily make us happier</a>. As it turns out, wanting less and happiness are connected in some interesting ways, and there are a few steps we can take that will help us achieve both goals.</p> <h2>Cultivate Gratitude</h2> <p>Gratitude leads us to want less because it <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-shows-that-saying-thanks-can-improve-your-health-and-happiness">reduces our feelings of insecurity</a>. When we intentionally look around and see all of the good things in our lives, we feel more secure with who we are, what we've accomplished, and what we have. When we are secure in what we already have, we are happier.</p> <p>In fact, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/">gratefulness is tied to a higher sense of wellbeing</a>. When we take the time to notice and feel appreciation for the things in our life that we value, we feel better about who we are and how our lives are going. We feel a higher sense of achievement, and we realize that we have more of the things that are truly important to us than we might have thought before we took the time to be grateful.</p> <p>Put those two effects together &mdash; security in our achievements and overall wellbeing &mdash; and we lose some of that urge to want.</p> <h3>Steps to Take</h3> <p>You can write down the things you're thankful for or share them over dinner every night. Choose what works for you to get gratitude going. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-say-thanks?ref=seealso">20+ Ways to Say Thanks</a>)</p> <h2>Let Your Values Rule</h2> <p>In order to step back from the cultural drive for more, you need to know what your life is about and then set your goals accordingly.</p> <p>Start by spending some time pondering your answers to the following questions:</p> <ul> <li> <p>What do you value?</p> </li> <li> <p>What do you want out of life?</p> </li> <li> <p>What are your overarching goals?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Once you have your answers, take some time to let them guide your goals. For instance, if you discovered that you value new experiences, you can begin saving for a trip rather than for a new vehicle. When I went through this process, I realized that truth and honesty are driving forces in my life. These values helped me make it a goal to only take jobs that allow me to keep my integrity, even when they don't pay as well or aren't as plentiful.</p> <p>Answering these questions and forming your goals based upon them will help you gain the self-understanding necessary to step back from &quot;more&quot; as a way of life and to cultivate a life that better aligns with your values. When our lives and our values don't align, we can feel empty and then we often try to fill that emptiness with more stuff.</p> <p>When our values and our lives do align, we stop trying to fill those empty places with stuff and ambitions, because we are already full to overflowing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trade-goals-for-values?ref=seealso">Trading Goals for Values</a>)</p> <p>Defining what our lives are about also gives us the chance to define what happiness looks like in our lives and to pursue it. When we do this, we turn happiness into something measurable and achievable, rather than abstract and kinda hazy, and then we can work step-by-step to become happier.</p> <h3>Steps to Take</h3> <p>It takes time and intention to figure out what you want out of life. Give yourself regular chances to journal about it and to talk with like-minded people, and you may discover values you didn't even know you had.</p> <h2>Focus on the Present</h2> <p>Focusing in the present means paying attention to what is in front of you, instead of running from one thing to the next on the hamster wheel of life until exhaustion sets in. You can do this no matter what your daily tasks include. If you need to wash your dishes, just wash the dishes. Notice how the light refracts through the suds and the way the warm water feels on your hands. If you are entering data on a spreadsheet, you can focus on the way your hands feel on the keyboard or what your work means &mdash; for you and for everybody else on your team.</p> <p>When we take the time to focus on the present, we learn to see when things go right instead of focusing on when they go wrong. When we are stressed and acting without thinking, <a href="http://psychcentral.com/news/2007/08/29/why-we-remember-the-bad-times-more-than-the-good/1207.html">daily events often only stand out when they are negative</a>. Being present, then, allows us to not only see and celebrate the small times when life is good, but also allows us to acknowledge our baby steps and value them, no matter how small. Sometimes, the distance between where we are and where we want to be seems insurmountable, but focusing on these small steps in the present helps us see that we are moving forward, even when the goal line isn't quite in sight. This <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_killingsworth_want_to_be_happier_stay_in_the_moment">makes us happier</a>.</p> <p>Seeing life as it is &mdash; with both the good and the bad &mdash; gives us a tool to evaluate our lives based on what we value. We won't simply do things because they are there or because we usually do them. Instead, we will be able to determine which of our actions bring good, even if that good feels small. This aids us in evaluating which of the things we do helps us achieve our overarching goals, and which ones are extraneous to those purposes.</p> <p>This can lead us to wanting less, because we will no longer want the things that don't fall into our overall view of life. We will be living in closer alignment with our values, so our daily actions will be valuable and we won't need extraneous things.</p> <p>Focusing on the present also helps us to see that we already have many of the things that we want, especially when it comes to things like relationships with family and friends and neighbors and colleagues.</p> <h3>Steps to Take</h3> <p>Many people find it easier to focus on the present when they practice regular meditation, or when they take some time to sit in nature every day. This sort of practice often allows people to better focus on the present through the whole day. If that feels intimidating or difficult, start by simply stepping away from your electronic devices for a few minutes. Just disconnect and be where you are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-joy-of-disconnecting?ref=seealso">The Joy of Disconnecting</a>)</p> <p>And if you don't have the time or energy to add something new, start focusing on what is in front of you, whatever it is. Focus on the physical sensations and the reasons behind your actions. Even the most mundane tasks &mdash; like cleaning the kitchen &mdash; are rich with sensation and meaning, if we allow ourselves to sense them and to consider them.</p> <p><em>Have you found that wanting less and happiness are tied together in your own life? I'd love to hear more about your journey!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quarterlife-crisis-what-is-it">Quarterlife Crisis! What is It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-the-lottery-without-paying-a-penny-for-the-ticket">How to Win the Lottery Without Paying a Penny for the Ticket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Personal Development happiness living simply more wanting less Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:36:23 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1135140 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-4794309-small.jpg" alt="declutter" title="declutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love to declutter. In fact, I love it so much that I seldom have a chance to accumulate enough for proper decluttering. In my mind, a really deep declutter is more than just about cleaning. It's an opportunity to change our lives and reorganize our world. If you need to change things up in your own life, consider a deep declutter. It can help you in lots of unexpected ways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today" target="_blank">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Move on From the Past</h2> <p>Decluttering our homes can help us move on from the past &mdash; processing previous relationships, old jobs, and ideas that didn't work. While there's certainly nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality, holding on to everything can sometimes hold us back.</p> <h2>2. Gain Good Karma</h2> <p>Most of our homes are filled with very useful things that we have no use for ourselves. Free up space by freeing up objects. Donate clothes, cookware, tools, and toys <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation" target="_blank">to charities for a tax write-off</a> and good karma points.</p> <h2>3. Clear Some Mental Space</h2> <p>It's difficult to feel at peace in a disordered environment. Too much stuff clutters our homes and muddies our minds. If you're in need of a mental or emotional reset, try a bit of declutter therapy.</p> <h2>4. Reorganize</h2> <p>Decluttering is the first step to getting organized. A deep declutter can set the stage for redefining spaces, establishing new habits, getting control of bill paying or budgeting, or setting up a home office.</p> <h2>5. Find What You Already Have</h2> <p>Do you know what's hiding in the back of your closets or the darkest recesses of your basement? Maybe there's a few things back there you could actually use. Avoid buying duplicates or triplicates by rediscovering what you already own.</p> <h2>6. Make Space to Pursue Hobbies</h2> <p>Decluttering our homes can create new space to pursue those hobbies we've put off for so long. Clear out an area in the garage for a woodworking shop, turn the attic into a craft studio, or remake a bedroom into a home office.</p> <h2>7. Make Some Extra Cash</h2> <p>Decluttering can be a cash cow if you're willing to sell on eBay, to a consignment shop, or at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-yard-sale" target="_blank">well-planned yard sale</a>. Somehow, cleaning closets doesn't seem so daunting when there's a few bucks to be made.</p> <h2>8. Save Money on Storage</h2> <p>Last August, I wrote about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea" target="_blank">why self-storage is a really bad idea</a>. A big part of the losing equation on storage is the cost. Emptying and eliminating the storage spaces that have become satellite homes for our stuff frees up money. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a stuffed wallet than a stuffed storage locker.</p> <h2>9. Reignite Old Interests</h2> <p>Sometimes life gets in the way of our passions and hobbies. The process of decluttering can unearth interests we've tabled and projects we've long forgotten. Declutter with a sense of discovery and stay open to reenergizing those old pursuits.</p> <h2>10. Share Memories</h2> <p>Decluttering can uncover treasures to be passed on and shared with family. A couple of years ago my mom stumbled upon some old photos and silverware that belonged to a late relative. We sent these heirlooms to the relative's granddaughter who loved receiving them and will cherish them more than we ever could.</p> <h2>11. Reduce Your Footprint</h2> <p>When we know exactly what we have, we can skip unnecessary purchases. Likewise, owning less means there's less to store, less to clean, and less to maintain. Decluttering can help reduce our footprints (carbon and otherwise) and help us to live greener lives.</p> <h2>12. Turn a Bad Mood Good</h2> <p>To put it in not-quite-clinical terms, <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/room/ci_8060057" target="_blank">clutter is a downer</a>. Although it may take us awhile to work up the motivation, cleaning and purging our homes of clutter can recalibrate our mood and improve our outlook. Our personal spaces are important and taking the time to spruce things up is a wonderful way to honor ourselves.</p> <p>In a world where sometimes it feels like we have to beat back clutter with a stick, ridding our lives of unnecessary objects is practically therapeutic. The results can be wonderful and the high can be habit-forming. Now grab some boxes from the grocery store and start emptying the attic!</p> <p><em>What's the most surprising or valuable thing you've discovered while decluttering? What's your decluttering schedule or strategy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea">7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization Productivity decluttering easy organizing living simply Tue, 02 Jul 2013 10:20:56 +0000 Kentin Waits 980185 at http://www.wisebread.com How Minimalist Can You Really Be? http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-4847847-small_0.jpg" alt="minimalist" title="minimalist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are people out there writing about minimalism who seem to own a passport, a laptop, a toothbrush, and not much else. But that level of absolute minimalism isn't exactly possible for most people. While many of the specifics of minimalism come down to matters of personal preference, there are certain limits that are hard to go past for the average person. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care?</a>)</p> <h2>Lifestlye Over Life Lived</h2> <p>Different lifestyles put their own constraints on how minimalistic you can easily be. Of course, no matter what other factors are at play, you can find ways to reduce your number of possessions further and to live even more simply &mdash; but it won't be easy. For most people, there's a point where eliminating even more from your life <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/confessions-of-a-minimalist-9-reasons-i-miss-my-stuff">just isn't enjoyable</a> and your pride in not having &quot;stuff&quot; isn't going to balance it out.</p> <h2>Unsustainable Minimalism</h2> <p>There are certain practitioners of minimalism who have built fairly expensive lifestyles around owning very little. They take the approach that if they can buy, rent, or otherwise access whatever they need, as they need it, and then get rid of that item in some fashion, they're still living a very minimalist lifestyle. Similarly, some people will spend more money on more versatile products that can see them through more parts of their lifestyle.</p> <p>These approaches to minimalism can be more expensive than one might expect. In her article, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/culturebox/2013/03/graham_hill_essay_in_the_new_york_times_is_minimalism_really_sustainable.html">Is Minimalism Really Sustainable,</a> Katy Waldman describes minimalism as too expensive to be sustainable &mdash; and this is the variety of minimalism she's discussing. For anyone hoping to take this approach to minimalism, it's very possible to find yourself reaching a point where you're living <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-food-changes-you-can-make-today">as simple a life as you can afford to</a>. But, overall, your savings account shouldn't be the deciding factor on where your minimalism stops.</p> <h2>Getting to Almost Zero</h2> <p>As I was getting ready for a recent cross-country move, I reached the point where I wanted <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">to get rid of everything I owned</a>. I didn't actually do that, but I did manage to get rid of everything I didn't have an emotional attachment to or that we didn't absolutely need. My laptop and the family photos made the move; a large percentage of my wardrobe did not. I took a &quot;give 'til it hurts&quot; approach: everything I didn't even have a twinge of pain over getting rid of went to a new home. Everything that looked like it would hurt to move myself and that I didn't have a good reason for keeping also went to a new home. It was, essentially, a minimalistic approach to becoming a minimalist.</p> <p>I keep finding more things that I know I won't worry about if I don't have, so I'm getting rid of more soon. I won't ever get down to just what I can carry in a knapsack, but I'll be as minimalistic as my own lifestyle allows for &mdash; and I won't be stressed out by the process. It seems better to focus on how minimalist I want to be, over how far I can take it if I push.</p> <p><em>Have you embraced the minimalist lifestyle? How far have you taken it? What are your limits?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-cheaply-for-the-long-term">Living Cheaply for the Long Term</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-valentines-day-picks-your-pocket">8 Ways Valentine&#039;s Day Picks Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-scrumptious-super-bowl-party-snack-ideas">Flashback Friday: 122 Scrumptious Super Bowl Party Snack Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living declutter living simply minimalism minmalist simple Fri, 07 Jun 2013 09:48:35 +0000 Thursday Bram 976545 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Frugal Lessons I Learned From Aldi http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-lessons-i-learned-from-aldi <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-frugal-lessons-i-learned-from-aldi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5166134718_9038890f3.jpg" alt="Woman and baby at Aldi" title="Woman and baby at Aldi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was kid, the prospect of shopping at Aldi with my mom filled me with a conflicting sense of excitement and dread. I liked the feeling that I could indulge more of my wants since the prices were so low. But I also had the requisite preteen and teenage angst of being seen in a store that so starkly catered to the budget-conscious. Suffice it to say, I am no longer conflicted.</p> <p>For those of you who don&rsquo;t live near an Aldi store or who&rsquo;ve never had the pleasure of shopping from a loading pallet, let me give you a bit of background on the company. Aldi is short for Albrecht Discount, a grocery chain founded in 1950s in Germany by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht. Aldi stores are all about no-frills grocery shopping, featuring a focused selection of food basics with limited brand offerings and serious cost efficiencies. Today, the Aldi Group owns 8,210 stores worldwide and is growing steadily.</p> <p>As I&rsquo;ve matured into an unabashed Aldi fan, let me share with you the five lessons Aldi has taught me about frugality. Other stores take note; there&rsquo;s something to be learned here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-other-grocery-stores-should-steal-from-trader-joes">5 Things Other Grocery Stores Should Steal From Trader Joe's</a>)</p> <h2>1. Simplicity Wins</h2> <p>Aldi doesn&rsquo;t try to create a shopping &quot;experience.&quot; Rather, it tries &mdash; quite successfully &mdash; to give shoppers a reasonable selection of food staples at amazingly low prices. You&rsquo;re quite literally shopping in a small warehouse &mdash; off of loading pallets with the products&rsquo; shipping boxes cut open for display. No shelves, no top-40 music, no deli, no coffee shop, no florist, no free samples, no kidding. It&rsquo;s wonderful. Aldi&rsquo;s bare-bones business approach is an island of sanity in a world filled with commercial noise and every conceivable distraction. The smaller selection of house brands mixed with some brand names allows the stores to have a smaller footprint, reduce labor costs, and minimize elaborate pricing and inventory systems. The goal is clean, clear, and simple &mdash; control costs.</p> <h2>2. DIY Saves Money</h2> <p>Shopping without much floor help and bagging your own groceries is just part of the simplicity ethos that defines the Aldi shopping experience. With few exceptions, you&rsquo;re on your own in an Aldi store (just the way I like it), and this DIY approach to shopping saves you money.</p> <h2>3. Less Is More</h2> <p>To shoppers accustomed to having 75 selections of soup, offering just four might sound heretical. But haven&rsquo;t we all been faced with &ldquo;analysis paralysis&rdquo; in the soup or cereal aisle? It&rsquo;s perversely liberating to have one brand of corn flakes to &ldquo;choose&rdquo; from. The choice is either to buy or not to buy.</p> <h2>4. Make Do</h2> <p>Since Aldi stores don&rsquo;t have 15 types of cheese or 12 different kinds of tomatoes, shoppers learn to be creative and flexible. I imagine many shoppers&rsquo; meal plans and recipes are amended based upon what&rsquo;s available in the stores. It harkens back to that old mantra of &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/doing-without-is-often-better-than-making-do">make do, or do without</a>.&rdquo; Though this may not your preferred way prepare for a formal dinner party, it&rsquo;s a cost-effective and smart way to manage the day-to-day family food budget.</p> <h2>5. It&rsquo;s All About The Benjamins</h2> <p>Many discount stores are ashamed of their discount status and attempt to hide it in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. There&rsquo;s some implication that shopping in a decidedly down-scale environment is something to apologize for or re-label, dress up, or rebrand. Aldi makes no such apologies. It attempts to be nothing more than it is &mdash; unapologetically discount. Saving money is the goal, and the goal is golden.</p> <p>I wonder how many defunct stores might have survived if they employed a few of Aldi&rsquo;s tactics. What&rsquo;s more, I wonder how many might thrive in our new economy if they scaled back a bit and we all became more reasonable in what we expect from our shopping excursions. Aldi may be humble, but in that humility, there&rsquo;s a lesson or two in how to navigate the future.</p> <p><em>What&rsquo;s your favorite thing about shopping at Aldi? What&rsquo;s the best deal you&rsquo;ve scored there?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-lessons-i-learned-from-aldi">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-awesome-reasons-to-shop-at-aldi">6 Awesome Reasons to Shop at Aldi</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-groceries-with-these-online-tools">Save Money on Groceries With These Online Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-healthiest-grocery-stores">The 6 Healthiest Grocery Stores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping Aldi Frugal grocery shopping living simply Mon, 09 May 2011 09:48:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 522197 at http://www.wisebread.com Living Cheaply for the Long Term http://www.wisebread.com/living-cheaply-for-the-long-term <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/living-cheaply-for-the-long-term" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stone-wall_0.jpg" alt="Stone wall" title="Stone Wall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="182" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugality sites are full of advice for cutting your expenses right away. Everybody's got a list of unnecessary expenses, an exhortation not to buy stuff you don't need, and some ideas for how you can get the things you do need more cheaply. Living cheaply for the long term is different. Call it &quot;strategic frugality.&quot;</p> <p>Most people don't really have a goal to live cheaply. Rather, within the constraints of their income and their important long-term goals (like college for the kids and retirement), they want to live as well as they can. The problem is, boosting your living standard at each opportunity makes it impossible to take the strategic actions that let you live better for less. (And once you've got <strong>that</strong> down, funding your long-term goals gets a lot easier.)</p> <p>Many of these strategies cost money, which means that they're not an option for someone who's in the midst of a financial emergency like a loss of income or a major unexpected expense. For that, see my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">emergency belt-tightening</a> post with a bunch of ideas on how you can cut your expenses <strong>right now</strong>. Living cheaply on a non-emergency basis is different. Living cheaply for the long term sometimes involves spending more money now with an eye toward long-term savings. Many of the basic ideas are pretty obvious, but it's worth putting them all together and looking at the pattern they form.</p> <h2>Strategies</h2> <p><strong>Buy stuff that lasts</strong>. This saves money, because you don't need to replace the item as often. It also raises your standard of living, because stuff that lasts is often higher quality.</p> <p><strong>Buy stuff that reduces future expenses</strong>. Things like weatherstripping, insulation, energy-star appliances, a fuel-efficient car, a small motorcycle, or a bicycle can all save on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fix-energy-in-tangible-form">future fuel costs</a>. Doing proper maintenance can save on future repair costs, and proper preventative care can save on future health costs. Tools, books, and classes that enable you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">make (or repair) your own stuff</a> can save on future expenses.</p> <p><strong>Stock up when things are cheap</strong>. This saves money, because you're getting the stuff at a better price. It also raises your standard of living, because you don't have to rush off to the store to get something (or else decide to make do without it). As a bonus, it produces <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/huge-tax-free-investment-returns">huge tax-free investment returns</a>.</p> <p><strong>Buy things that earn money</strong>. That is, invest in things like bonds and dividend-paying stocks. If you can handle the extra work of being a landlord, you can also invest in rental property.</p> <p><strong>Take care of your stuff</strong>. This goes along with buying things that last, but it's a concept that isn't well supported by society these days. It's tough to get things that are made to last &mdash; most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-wear-out">things are made to break</a>. Still, despite planned obsolescence, most things will last longer with gentle use and many things can be repaired (or kept in service, at least temporarily, despite not working as well as they did when new).</p> <h2>Best practices</h2> <p>When you want something, it's easy to fool yourself into imagining that whatever it is will somehow save money in the long run. (Such as thinking that a home theater will pay for itself in fewer movie tickets or that a fitness center membership will pay for itself in fewer heart bypass operations.) Avoiding that pitfall simply requires being honest with yourself. To that end, here are a few best practices.</p> <p><strong>Evaluate your budget against your needs</strong>. Even among people who have a budget, most simply assume that last year's spending is the benchmark against which they need to compare. Instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-create-a-budget">start each budget category at zero</a>. Then, evaluate what you actually need and investigate the cheapest way to fill that need.</p> <p><strong>Analyze fixed costs</strong>. The average household has a bunch of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/manage-your-fixed-expenses">costs that are fixed</a> for the medium term &mdash; a lease that runs for a year, a cell-phone contract that runs for two, a car loan that runs for several years, a mortgage that runs for a decade or three. You can often get a better deal if you commit to an expense for a longer term, and a collection of such deals is what adds up to living cheaply. Still, always think twice before buying things that come with monthly fees or that need to be insured, fed, or maintained (unless you can maintain them yourself). The more fixed costs you have, the less flexible your household cost structure becomes &mdash; and an inflexible cost structure makes it tough to handle a financial emergency.</p> <p><strong>Learn how to do things yourself</strong>. If your goal is the highest possible standard of living, you probably come out ahead by putting all your time into whatever is your main way to earn money. In the time it would take to change your oil you can earn more than enough to pay someone to change it for you. In the time it would take just to plant a garden you can earn enough to buy a whole summer's worth of vegetables. But if your goal is to live cheaply for the long term, learning how to do things yourself adds a whole category of cost saving options, while at the same time recovering some of the flexibility you'd otherwise lose to fixed costs.</p> <p>Having said all that, a lot of keeping costs down is just spending less. If you don't do that, none of this other stuff is going to add up to much. Still, there are certain opportunities where spending a little more up-front, or committing to spending for a little longer, can save money. The key to living cheaply for the long term is cranking the numbers to figure out which option is cheapest &mdash; and then, of course, taking action in accordance with what you figure out.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-cheaply-for-the-long-term">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-tips-for-the-newly-unemployed">Seven Tips for the Newly Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living cost-saving fuel costs living simply long-term Wed, 09 Dec 2009 14:00:07 +0000 Philip Brewer 3938 at http://www.wisebread.com Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-determining-your-priorities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/simple-living-determining-your-priorities" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3676773320_858f9c2222.jpg" alt="Peace &amp; quiet" title="Peace &amp; quiet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even with the economy slowly exiting the spectacular nosedive it took last year, many people find themselves with a renewed interest in living simply. However, what that means for each person depends on their own <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">individual priorities</a>. Determining what this means for each of us sounds like it should be easy, but instead is something many of us struggle with more than we are at peace about it.</p> <p>Simplistic it might seem, but the easiest way to figure out your priorities is to make a list, then whittle it down based on how the different things that are important to you interact. There are some questions you can ask that dig right to the heart of this matter. They aren't always easy, but the answers will be more than satisfying.</p> <h3>What is necessary?</h3> <p>Things that are necessary must be done, plain and simple. It doesn't matter how much we like them &mdash; if they're essential, they go on the list.</p> <p>However, we often tend to think things are essential that aren't. For instance, the amount of money we need can sometimes be drastically reduced if we eliminate things that truly aren't needed. Sure, we need food, water, and shelter, but do we really need catered lunches, Evian, and more bedrooms than there will ever be people in the house?</p> <p>Include in your thoughts about necessities things like your individual needs for time and space. Maybe your mental health suffers if you don't meditate every day, or you continually dream of 30 minutes uninterrupted time alone. These are necessities, too, even if you usually ignore them.</p> <p>Add these items to your list.</p> <h3>What do you like?</h3> <p>While we certainly can't eliminate everything unpleasant from our list of priorities, we're going to be more likely to focus on things we enjoy doing. It's worthwhile to make a list of these things, even if we find that some of them can't make our ultimate priority list.</p> <p>Think about how you dream of spending your time &mdash; those things you'd love to do that consistently get ignored in favor of other, more urgent happenings. Think also about how you function best, whether it's being alone, finding yourself surrounded by people, or at a purple desk with glow-in-the-dark stars on the walls.</p> <p>Think also about your if-onlys &mdash; that list of things you would do if only you had more time, money, space, energy, whatever.</p> <p>Add them all to your list.</p> <h3>Set your list aside</h3> <p>Once you have your list, walk away from it for a while. Leave it someplace where you won't see it, where you might even forget it exists. Put a date on the calendar 2-4 weeks out from where you are now, to remind yourself to go back to it.</p> <p>During these weeks away, don't intentionally think about your list, but don't stop yourself from thinking about it and the items on it, either. Note what you think about, but hold the thoughts loosely.</p> <h3>Review your list and make changes.</h3> <p>When the day pops up in your calendar, go back to your list. Read the items on it again, without trying to judge them or put them in order. Cross off anything that no longer seems to fit. Don't judge these choices &mdash; often, our priorities are buried so deeply inside us that we can't articulate why something does or does not belong.</p> <p>Repeat this process of setting your list aside and coming back to it until you feel like the list in front of you is what you need to focus on, regardless of whether or not you like each of the items or think it's actually possible.</p> <p>Take a deep breath when you get this list, then look at it again. Here, sitting right in front of you, is your own personal guide to simple living. Put your best energy toward these things and you will find your life taking on an easier, more manageable tone, not only psychologically but spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially as well.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-determining-your-priorities">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do">Do You &quot;Want&quot; to Be Happy? Then Here&#039;s What You Need to Do.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle living simply simple living Fri, 06 Nov 2009 16:00:02 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 3802 at http://www.wisebread.com Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3325449475_107c98649b.jpg" alt="A man alone at sunrise" title="a natural shower perhaps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="377" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">Simple living is all about your priorities</a>. It's about knowing yourself well enough to know what you value, why you value it, and what is less important. It's about making room for what is important by letting go of what isn't. And it's about using your time and space well, focusing your energy on the priorities and truly letting go of the rest.</p> <p>This sounds easy enough, and yet so many of us struggle with finding this balance. If you've ever found yourself wasting time when you know there's something you could be doing that means a lot to you, you've been in this boat. I know I find myself there all the time.</p> <p>When we find ourselves in a place like this, expending time and energy in efforts that don't matter to us, we can react in a couple of different ways. Two seem common, though. First, we can give up. If we're never going to have time to do what's really important, why bother thinking about it at all? Secondly, we can try to overcome our negative inertia by sheer force of will, pushing against what we have in an effort to get what we want.</p> <p>What we rarely do is examine why we ended up in this situation in the first place. Yet, when you come to think of it, this might actually be the most useful reaction we could have. It's one thing to push your way out of a bad place, but quite another to figure out how to stay out of that place in the future. And staying away from those places usually involves knowing how we got there.</p> <p>So how do we get there? How do we end up in that place where so much of our energy is headed in a direction we don't want to go? There are several common answers to that question.</p> <h3>We let the urgent rule.</h3> <p>That old saying is true: the urgent is a tyrant. Things pop up in life that need to be taken care of now, Now, NOW and we, being the good mothers and fathers and employees and citizens that we are, nod, smile, and take care of it. But we do this at the expense of our own priorities.</p> <h3>We let others dictate our priorities.</h3> <p>Your priorities are just that: YOUR priorities. Unfortunately, there's nothing saying that your priorities will mirror or even come close to the priorities of your friends, family, coworkers, and other around you. This creates conflict and, when you're in the minority, it's often easier to second guess yourself than to stand strong.</p> <h3>We're afraid to fail.</h3> <p>Some things worth doing are worth doing poorly. And the joy is in the journey, not the arrival. We don't hear those things very often, but they're true. Our culture lies when it tells us that every endeavor has to be an overwhelming success or else there's no point in pursuing it. But we listen to the lie, and so end up putting our efforts toward the things we know will succeed and leaving in the dust anything that might be more risky.</p> <h3>So what can we do?</h3> <p>Whether you're like me and you see a little of yourself in each of these elements, or you tend to major in one of them over the others, the hurdle towards a simple life focused on your priorities can seem like it's just too big for you to ever jump.</p> <p>The good news is that seeing your hurdles not only in your mind's eye but recognizing them in the moment as they come up and realizing that you are, once again, not living the way you would choose to live, is the first step towards overcoming them. It's also, arguably, the most important.</p> <p>So start to notice. Open your eyes to why you do what you do, why you spend what you spend, why you want what you want. You may be surprised at what you find. While it might not be pleasant, it's the first step toward living a simple life focused on your priorities.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-determining-your-priorities">Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do">Do You &quot;Want&quot; to Be Happy? Then Here&#039;s What You Need to Do.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle living simply simple living Fri, 30 Oct 2009 14:00:02 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 3776 at http://www.wisebread.com What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3054207786_062d7baeaf.jpg" alt="Autumn trees in the mist" title="Autumn trees in the mist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="393" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even with predictions that our economy is turning around, the current financial climate isn't exactly what most people would call &quot;good.&quot; In fact, for some of us, it's downright rotten. Regardless of your personal situation, the last year could be construed as an alarm clock, buzzing and beeping until we look around, see the excess in our lives, and eliminate it.</p> <p>While it's true that not everyone feels the pull to cut back, overall there's something attractive about empty space, whether it's in our decorating, how we spend our time, or some wiggle-room in our budgets. Now that we have the financial motivation, it seems like a good time to figure out what we want, why we want it, and how we're going to get there.</p> <p>Part of the allure of simple living is its mystique. What do you think of when you think of the simple life? Tibetan monks in a monastery on a high, frozen Himalayan mountainside? American pioneers, whittling their possessions down to whatever fit in a wagon so they could haul it across the country? Your parents or grandparents who, during the Depression, got by with so little that they still tell stories about it?</p> <p>While all of these people definitely lived more simply than we do today, none of these portrayals is realistic for the average American. But what does simple living look like in today's modern, convenience-filled world? I think it looks different depending why and what's important to you. Why?</p> <p><strong>Because simple living is about priorities.</strong></p> <p>What is important to you and how can you ensure that those things get done, bought, and followed through on? Or, on the other hand, what isn't important to you? What could you easily do without? And what's in the middle? What is nice to have around you except when it gets in the way of those higher priorities?</p> <p>Simple living means clearing out the space of our lives, in terms of time, money, and psychological space, so that those things that are the highest priority are ensured a place. It means living deliberately, not getting caught up in the infamous tyranny of the urgent but learning to keep our eyes on a higher goal.</p> <p>Since we all have different priorities, simple living will look different for each one of us. Sure, we all have the same basic priorities...food, water, shelter, clothing, but even with these basic needs, different ones of us are willing to accept different types and kinds of provision. Beyond those, our priorities are very different, and that's ok.</p> <p>We can learn to live in such a way that, whatever our priorities, they are almost always adequately provided for. It means making changes, even sacrificing some of those items in the middle so that the ones on top have more space. But the best thing about simple living?</p> <p><strong>In the end, we have the life we want.</strong></p> <p>Sure, things happen. And nothing's perfect. But we can make choices today that give our priorities the best possible chance of being met. Does it mean making changes? Almost certainly. Cutting back? Most likely.</p> <p>But in the end, we reap the rewards of that work. We get to live lives that are full of the things we value and carry a minimum of the things we don't. How satisfying is that?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-determining-your-priorities">Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-from-my-frugal-father">Lessons From My Frugal Father</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle living simply simple life simple living Fri, 23 Oct 2009 14:00:02 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 3745 at http://www.wisebread.com