simple living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6968/all en-US Best Money Tips: Simple Living Tips From the Amish http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-living-tips-from-the-amish <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-simple-living-tips-from-the-amish" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/amish_buggy_000037201432.jpg" alt="Learning simple living tips from the Amish" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found simple living tips from the Amish, where to get ridiculously cheap flights to Europe, and things that&rsquo;ll cost more in 2016.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://howtogetrichslowly.com/simple-living-tips-amish/">10 Simple Living Tips from the Amish</a> &mdash; The Amish have a small wardrobe consisting of plain, simple clothes. You, too, can probably get by with a capsule wardrobe of versatile pieces. [How to Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cheap-Flights-Iceland-39783810">Planning to Visit Europe? Check Out These Ridiculously Cheap Flights</a> &mdash; Wow Air will soon offer flights to Iceland from LA and San Francisco for as low as $99! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.yoursmartmoneymoves.com/2016/01/10/six-things-that-will-cost-you-more-money-in-2016/">Six Things That Will Cost You More Money in 2016</a> &mdash; As more and more people are renting, the cost of rent is expected to spike substantially in 2016. [Your Smart Money Moves]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/5-ways-to-achieve-your-health-goals-in-2016/">5 Ways to Achieve Your Health Goals in 2016</a> &mdash; Fear and bad memories can hold you back when you want to overcome damaging habits. Learn how to scramble a bad memory so you can eliminate the fear associated with it! [Mark's Daily Apple]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/01/10/5-failures-you-need-to-experience-if-you-want-to-succeed-in-life/">5 Failures You Need to Experience If You Want to Succeed In Life</a> &mdash; We all fail at fitting in and pleasing everyone sometimes&hellip;and that's okay! [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/5-ways-to-beat-an-afternoon-slump-in-the-winter/">5 Ways to Beat an Afternoon Slump in the Winter</a> &mdash; Choose healthy food options that will give you a boost of energy. For example, have a cold cut sandwich with dark leafy greens for lunch and strawberries as a snack. [Pick the Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://shopperstrategy.com/2016/01/10/8-ways-to-save-money-when-dining-out/">8 Ways to Save Money When Dining Out</a> &mdash; Many restaurants offer portions larger than one person can handle. Save on your meal by splitting an entrée with another person. [Shopper Strategy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/saving-vs-borrowing-major-purchase">Saving vs Borrowing for a Major Purchase</a> &mdash; There are some situations where it's better to save up for a big purchase, but it can make more sense to borrow for the purchase in other situations. [The Frugal Toad]</p> <p><a href="http://everythingfinanceblog.com/16706/8-spending-triggers-keep-check.html">8 Spending Triggers and How to Keep Them in Check</a> &mdash; Add-ons do just that &mdash; they add on to the amount you spend. If you want the extra accessories, make sure you factor them into your budget. [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/why-you-should-take-another-look-at-cloth-diapers">Why You Should Take Another Look At Cloth Diapers</a> &mdash; Cloth diapers have come a long way over the years! They can be a viable option for parents who care about cost, convenience, and environmental factors. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-living-tips-from-the-amish">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/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply</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-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</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/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty">Voluntary simplicity versus poverty</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-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today">10 Simple Ways to Start Living on Less 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/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living amish best money tips simple living Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:00:02 +0000 Amy Lu 1638010 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_marking_calendar_000065803191.jpg" alt="Woman finding easy ways to keep family organized" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling frazzled? Me too! September means back to school and back to life without sunny summer vacations. Whether your kids are getting into their new routines or you could simply use more organization, we've found some great solutions for even the most chaotic homes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-every-dad-needs?ref=seealso">6 Apps Every Dad Needs</a>)</p> <h2>1. Command Center</h2> <p>Putting your calendar, bills, and all other important things in a central location is a good start. Check out this <a href="http://howtonestforless.com/2014/09/04/kitchen-command-center-2/">kitchen command center</a>. You'll want to get one of those white board calendars and several colors of markers. Assign each member of your family a color and fill in all the month's activities. The rest of it is up to you. Folders and binders for bills, lists, and other sheets are also helpful.</p> <h2>2. Paperwork Storage</h2> <p>And let's talk about all those papers for a minute. Kids get all sorts of permission slips, report cards, photos, and other sheets for school, dance, sports, and so on. Try this <a href="http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/11/school-paperwork-storage.html">paperwork storage</a> idea that will ensure you won't lose a thing. Get one of those file boxes, hanging files, and some labels. You can organize by school year, month, or however makes the most sense to you.</p> <h2>3. Cubbies</h2> <p>My daughter's preschool has a whole wall of cubbies for coats, backpacks, boots, and all the stuff her classmates schlep to school. Bring this idea home by making cubbies to install in your entryway. If you search around, you'll find woodworking plans to build cubbies. You can even buy them at many stores. My suggestion? Repurpose a large thrifted shelf! This <a href="http://www.mycreativedays.com/lockers-made-from-old-bookshelf/">bookshelf turned locker</a> will hopefully spark your creativity.</p> <h2>4. Marvelous Mudroom</h2> <p>Don't have space in the house for cubbies? Carve out a spot in your garage for this awesome <a href="http://designdininganddiapers.com/2015/01/diy-garage-mudroom/">DIY mudroom</a>. Yours doesn't have to look just like the photo, but you'll want somewhere to hang your coats, another place for mittens and other accessories, a shoe rack of sorts, and maybe a large bucket for umbrellas and bigger items. Add a few framed photos for extra flair.</p> <h2>5. After-School Checklist</h2> <p>Give your child some responsibility with this <a href="http://www.prettyprovidence.com/school-checklist-kids-free-printable/">after-school checklist</a>. You can customize the sheet to list any tasks, chores, and other responsibilities unique to your family. Then frame it in a standard picture frame. Your kid can use a dry-erase marker to keep track of his or her progress. This idea would work great for adults too!</p> <h2>6. Junk Buckets</h2> <p>Finding odds and ends everywhere? I love these <a href="http://www.remarkablehome.net/2013/03/crap-buckets-for-all-crap-your-kids.html">junk buckets</a> for organization. They give you a beautiful way to collect all the, well, crap you find around your house. Get some plastic or metal buckets or bins, label them, and place them at the bottom of your stairway. Then take them upstairs each night before bed.</p> <h2>7. Cleaning Closet</h2> <p>Part of staying organized means keeping things tidy. Beef up your <a href="http://www.the36thavenue.com/cleaning-tips-diy-cleaning-closet/">cleaning closet</a> by getting some of those hanging organizers for your supplies like paper towels, window spray, antibacterial wipes, and more. You'll be able to fit so much more in even tiny closets this way. And if you have your kids help with chores, it'll be much easier for them to put everything back in place when they're done.</p> <h2>8. Simplified Life</h2> <p>If you've tried a lot of these ideas and still feel like life is crazy, try simplifying. Kate at <a href="http://www.housemixblog.com/2014/07/03/how-i-simplified-and-organized-my-house-room-by-room/">House Mix</a> went room by room in her entire house to find ways to cut back on clutter, save money, and maximize space. A lot of her efforts were trained on leaning out excess stuff that created mess and, therefore, sucked away time from more important stuff.</p> <p>Sound intimidating? Start small. I've found that even cutting down on the number of clothes in my closet has brought me greater peace on the daily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you keep your family organized and on task? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">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-genius-ways-to-store-toys">10 Genius Ways to Store Toys</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/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</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/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You&#039;re Forgetting to Clean</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/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home Organization children cleaning kids removing clutter simple living Fri, 18 Sep 2015 15:00:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1561360 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Simple Ways to Start Living on Less Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-calculator-Dollarphotoclub_70326803.jpg" alt="happy woman calculator" title="happy woman calculator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your resolution to lean your budget this year? Has a new baby increased your bills? Or maybe you're saving for a big project or dream vacation.</p> <p>Whatever your reason to start living on less, I'm glad you're here. At first, cutting back can seem like a daunting task. It requires much attention, modification, and &mdash; often &mdash; sacrifice. But I'm here to share the basics with you, along with a few tips and tricks that will help you achieve your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Shop Thrift</h2> <p>If you have yet to set foot in a thrift shop, you need to see what you're missing. Sure, you'll probably come across some less-than-ideal items. More and more, though, I've been discovering like-new items on the shelves and racks. I'd say 75% of my wardrobe is second-hand. Or, skip the thrift store entirely by having a clothing swap with friends.</p> <h2>2. ...Or Don't Shop at All</h2> <p>You might decide you don't need to spend money (especially on clothes) at all. Many of us have closets full of shirts and pants we never wear. Excess clutter collects dust and takes up critical space on shelves. Before you purchase something new, stop and ask yourself: &quot;Do I really need this?&quot; You might be surprised with how often that answer is &quot;No.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Minimalist Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>3. Sell Your Stuff</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to make fast money is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">sell your stuff</a>. Obviously keep what you need and use on a daily basis. When you gather a good number of things you want to sell, check local consignment stores or online shops like <a href="http://www.thredup.com">ThredUp</a> for selling clothing. Craigslist is great for anything from coffee tables to guitars to cars. I've also seen a lot of local Facebook &quot;yard sale&quot; groups popping up lately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff?ref=seealso">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a>)</p> <h2>4. Pay Attention</h2> <p>There are countless ways you're probably spending money without thinking about it. Take a hard look at your bank statements, too, since you might incur charges for services you've long forgotten about. It sounds overly simple, but you should keep track of where your money is going. All those coffees, lunches out, magazine subscriptions, random online purchases, and ATM fees add up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Buy in Bulk</h2> <p>Now's the time to investigate what all those bulk buyers are raving about. In addition to cost savings, there are a number of benefits you'll experience through purchasing food and other items in larger quantities. You'll go through less expensive packaging, take fewer costly trips to the store, and even try more healthy whole foods, which are traditionally sold in bulk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips?ref=seealso">Bulk Buying Basics</a>)</p> <h2>6. Try Discount Stores</h2> <p>Stop into your local dollar store to see what's inside. Granted, there are tons of products, like soda, gum, aluminum foil, cling wrap, bins &mdash; that aren't real bargains. However, my family still uses a great set of inexpensive glassware we purchased at a dollar store over five years ago. If you're throwing a party, you can frugally stock up on paper plates, decorations, and favors. Art and office supplies are also good deals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store</a>)</p> <h2>7. Cook In</h2> <p>Another variable expense in your budget is your entertainment money. Consider cutting it back by learning to cook and enjoy homemade meals. Don't like cleaning? No problem. Choose simple meals with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-5-ingredient-recipes-that-save-time-and-money">five ingredients or fewer</a> to get started. You might get so good at it, the restaurant stuff won't taste the same. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>8. Quit Your Gym</h2> <p>You don't need to hit the gym to get your sweat on. There are countless <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">at-home workouts</a> that utilize your own body weight and cost you nothing but energy to complete. Try jogging around your neighborhood, starting a push-up challenge, or creating a circuit right in your living room. If you need some extra motivation, check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap">online workout videos and channels</a> that are free or cost only a few bucks a month.</p> <h2>9. And Your Cable</h2> <p>While you're at it, give your cable company the boot. Or at least see if they'll <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thirteen-minutes-to-a-lower-cable-bill">lower your bill</a>. A few years ago, we discovered that new customers were getting awesome sign-on promotions, so we called our provider and asked if we could benefit, too. Two seconds later, we were paying $35 less per month and getting premium channels for free. These days, we use Hulu and Netflix for the bulk of our entertainment &mdash; less than $20 a month total. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained?ref=seealso">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a>)</p> <h2>10. Visit Your Library</h2> <p>You should also search the stacks at your library for DVDs &mdash; along with amazing pieces of classic literature and current bestsellers, of course. While you're there, be sure to stop by the local calendar for news of free events going on in your area. I worked in libraries for years, and if you can't find exactly what you're looking for, ask the staff to check into interlibrary loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-awesome-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-get-at-the-library?ref=seealso">14 Awesome Things You Didn't Know You Could Get at Your Library</a>)</p> <p><em>What are your tricks for living well on less?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today">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/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</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/a-champion-of-savings-over-spending">A champion of savings over spending</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/should-you-spend-your-money-while-you-can">Should you spend your money while you can?</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/pay-attention">Pay attention</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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living cutting costs saving simple living spending Wed, 18 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1289850 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Changes to Make for Everyday Simplicity http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-changes-to-make-for-everyday-simplicity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-changes-to-make-for-everyday-simplicity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-eating-fruit-Dollarphotoclub_39170570.jpg" alt="woman eating fruit" title="woman eating fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some helpful articles on changes we can make for everyday simplicity, common calorie myths, and actionable financial tips for millennials.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/01/12-changes-can-make-everyday-simplicity.html">12 Changes We Can Make to Have Everyday Simplicity</a> &mdash; Eat simply: fruits and veggies, fish and meat, dairy products, and other basics. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/7-common-calorie-myths-we-should-all-stop-believing/">7 Common Calorie Myths We Should All Stop Believing</a> &mdash; If you want to monitor your food intake, counting calories is not the most accurate way to do it. [Mark's Daily Apple]</p> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/29-actionable-financial-tips-that-millennials-need-to-take-right-now/">29 Actionable Financial Tips That Millennials Need to Take Right Now</a> &mdash; The next time you get a windfall &mdash; say, a tax refund or bonus check &mdash; save it, don't spend it. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Questions-Ask-Declutter-34352100">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a> &mdash; Do you have another item that serves the same purpose? Yes? Then get rid of one of them today. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><b>In case you missed it:</b> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-reason-you-are-sick-tired-and-cranky">The Surprising Reason You Are Sick, Tired, and Cranky</a> &mdash; Vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure can wreak havoc on your body. For better moods, stronger bones, and higher energy, make sure you get your daily dose of sunlight. [Wise Bread]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/solopreneurs-make-priority/">5 Ways for Solopreneurs to Make Themselves a Priority in 2015</a> &mdash; Take the time to celebrate your accomplishments, big and small. Have a weekly meeting with yourself to go over all that you've done. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/01/06/how-to-make-fresh-pasta/">How to Make Fresh Pasta</a> &mdash; You only need a few basic ingredients (and some patience) to make fresh past &mdash; no fancy machine necessary! [The Art of Manliness]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/10-financial-mistakes-too-many-parents-make">10 Financial Mistakes Too Many Parents Make</a> &mdash; Making instant gratification the norm for you child can set them up for unrealistic expectations as they get older. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.allstate.com/networking-for-introverts/">Networking Tips for Introverts (and People Who Just Hate Networking)</a> &mdash; Asking your new contacts about their companies, and who they'd like to meet to help their businesses, is an easy way for you to seem interested and helpful without doing much talking. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/the-best-and-funniest-new-year-resolutions-for-parents">The Best (and Funniest) New Year Resolutions for Parents</a> &mdash; Finding something to do with the 400+ photos on your phone is a worthy endeavor! [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-changes-to-make-for-everyday-simplicity">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/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</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/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</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/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</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/simple-living-determining-your-priorities">Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities</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 best money tips simple living Thu, 08 Jan 2015 20:00:09 +0000 Amy Lu 1278314 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-drinking-coffee-cafe-Dollarphotoclub_69832612.jpg" alt="happy woman cafe" title="happy woman cafe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I moved this summer. Before packing, I did some decluttering, and took a lot of books to the used book store. And what I got rid of were my simple living books. Because, really, simple living is simple. It doesn't take a dozen books to explain it. It doesn't even take one.</p> <p>I started buying books on simple living twenty-odd years ago. I was undergoing a minor crisis in my life. I was moving then as well, plus having some financial problems. I was having to reevaluate my whole future, and simple living was looking pretty appealing.</p> <p>I read the modern classics like Duane Elgin's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QGSXJ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002QGSXJ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QBWWV4KYGM5TVWK3">Voluntary Simplicity</a> and Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0143115766&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ESRHK2P6DXNJIOFS">Your Money or your Life</a>, and Amy Dacyczyn's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375752250/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0375752250&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7X34G2TAOCWZSZTL">Tightwad Gazette</a>, and re-read the older classics, like Thoreau's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1494466694/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1494466694&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LKBUHVWQROEDLDKZ">Walden</a>. (In the end, the only one I kept was Dolly Freed's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982053932/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0982053932&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UZIDQSS7CD45XEJ2">Possum Living</a> &mdash; and that one mainly for the chapter on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">moonshine</a>.) They came at just the right moment in my life. They helped a lot. But I eventually figured out that there's a problem with writing a book on something as simple as simple living: It's so simple that you can't fill a book, unless you add a bunch of other stuff.</p> <p>Because simple living is really simple. There's really just one idea: <em>Prioritize the few things that really matter, and put aside everything else</em>.</p> <p>Beyond that, everything you're going to read about simple living is just tactics &mdash; ways to figure out what matters, ways to optimize your acquisition and use of those things, ways to get by without the other stuff, ways to fit into a society where you're something of an oddball.</p> <p>And while simple living isn't complex enough to fill out a book, it's just about right for an article. So here's how to get started.</p> <h2>Figure Out What Matters</h2> <p>This is the core of the whole enterprise. In one sense, it's easy: What matters to you is what matters to you; what you want is what you want. Simple living isn't about wanting other stuff, and it certainly isn't about wanting less. It's about finding the essential core and focusing there.</p> <p>Even so, this doesn't turn out to be an easy step, for a lot of reasons.</p> <p>First of all, a lot of people don't know what really matters to them. Some people are deeply unsure about what they really want, and even people who have a pretty good grasp on it can still confuse what they want <em>right now</em> with what they really want on a deeper, more fundamental level.</p> <p>Second, almost everybody needs to take other people into account. What matters most to you has to take into account what matters most to your spouse, your kids, and possibly other relatives as well. To some extent, you probably need to allow for what matters to non-relatives as well &mdash; your neighbors, your boss, teachers, students, people who work for you, and people who care about you. The balancing act of figuring out how much the desires and expectations of other people should affect what matters to you is necessary, even in those cases where the decision ends up being to go with your own thoughts on the matter.</p> <p>Finally, what really matters to you isn't a fixed star. It changes over time. It changes as you learn and grow. It changes as your circumstances change. It changes as the world changes. So, you're always going to be dealing with a moving target.</p> <p>Having said all that, here are some thoughts on figuring out what matters to you most, and focusing on those things.</p> <p>The most crucial step is simply to think deeply about what matters to you. I wrote a post with some suggestions for how to start called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-your-passion">Find Your Passion</a>. That post includes a list of related links at the bottom.</p> <p>Another thing that's worth doing is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-engineer-the-best-time-of-your-life">Reverse Engineer the Best Time of Your Life</a>. That is, think back to the best times of your life, and figure out what it was about those times that made them the best.</p> <p>Yet another is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-joy-in-temporary-frugality">experiment outside your comfort zone</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it helps to be honest about what you really want, by recognizing that it includes things you may be taking for granted &mdash; such as a place to live, clean water to drink, and food to eat. I talk about figuring this stuff out in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong">If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong</a>.</p> <p>On negotiating this stuff with your family and others, I want to suggest two posts, one called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The Line Between Frugal and Crazy</a>, and one called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">It Takes a Frugal Spouse to Make a Frugal Home</a>.</p> <h2>Optimize That Stuff</h2> <p>Okay, you've made the decision that simple living &mdash; this idea of simple living, where you focus on what's most important &mdash; is the way to go. And you've decided what is most important to you. Now what?</p> <p>Well, now you live a life rich in whatever you've decided is most important.</p> <p>That seems simple enough. Even easy, in a sense &mdash; what could be easier than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">doing whatever you want</a>? But, of course, it's not that simple. You probably need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dream-job-or-day-job">earn a living</a>. You also have longer-term goals, and meeting those will depend on <em>not</em> doing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-happier">whatever might seem most attractive right now</a>.</p> <p>Your key tool for successfully living the life that you have chosen is a budget. Besides the one I mentioned above, about how budgeting is fun, I've got two other posts on creating a budget: One called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refactor-your-budget-categories">Refactoring Your Budget Categories</a> (because how you categorize an expense makes a bigger difference than you might think), and another called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-create-a-budget">A Better Way to Create a Budget</a>.</p> <p>The key is to remember that your budget isn't a constraint. You do have constraints, but they come from the real world. Your budget is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">tool for helping you live a life of joy</a> in the face of those constraints.</p> <p>You can't go back and change the past, but except for the decision to have kids, there are almost no decisions that can't be revisited. Given time and effort, you can completely <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/designing-your-life">redesign your life</a> &mdash; you can move, change jobs, change careers, go back to school.</p> <p>You can alter every aspect of your life. Don't hesitate to do so, in your search for a life that's as fun and fulfilling as it is simple.</p> <h2>Get By Without the Other Stuff</h2> <p>There are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">many reasons for making do with less</a>, and for some things, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/doing-without-is-often-better-than-making-do">doing without is better than making do</a>. But wherever you draw the line below what's most important, there will be things that just barely miss the cutoff. Those things are pretty darned important, but you've decided that, to live a simple life, you'll let them go. Deciding that is one thing. Living out your decision is something else.</p> <p>The most common strategy among ordinary folks &mdash; folks who haven't chosen a simple life &mdash; is not to have that line at all. Instead of a sharp line, they have a long tapering off, where they have some of the stuff that's less important, just not as much than they really want. This strategy is, I think, a source of great misery. They don't just have less than they want of everything below the line. To pay for those things, they <em>also</em> have to make do with less of the stuff above the line &mdash; the really important stuff.</p> <p>The point of simple living is that you get enough of <em>all</em> the most important stuff. Once you make that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-the-most-of-your-guilty-pleasures">mental shift</a>, the rest is easy. (There are plenty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up">mental tricks</a> for dealing with the things that don't make the cut.)</p> <p>Never forget that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap">simplicity is not the same thing as being cheap</a>.</p> <p>Of course, you still have limited resources that you need to allocate. Wise Bread is full to bursting with suggestions on ways to do that effectively. I wrote one called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/borrowing-renting-substituting-and-doing-without">Borrowing, Renting, Substituting, and Doing Without</a>, and another called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-live-better-without-spending-more">Five Ways to Live Better Without Spending More</a>.</p> <h2>Fit In When You're an Oddball</h2> <p>Finally, there's the problem of being strange.</p> <p>There are the internal aspects &mdash; you're bound to sometimes get grumpy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">when poor folks have better crap than you</a>.</p> <p>And there are the external aspects &mdash; your friends and family will sometimes find it <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-driving-your-less-frugal-friends-crazy">tough to deal with your simple life</a>. Your choices here fall into two general categories. One is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/passing-for-middle-class">Passing for Middle Class</a>. If you'd rather not &mdash; if you'd rather just appear to be the oddball you are &mdash; one way to make it easier for others to accept is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity">Choose a Luxury Eccentricity</a>.</p> <p>In the past, I've sometimes cast simple living in terms of needs and wants: You satisfy all your needs, and then you satisfy your most important wants. But I think even that might be more complex than necessary. It's simpler to say: You get enough of all the most important stuff.</p> <p>That's my idea of simple living. Not enough for a book, perhaps, but just about right for a Wise Bread post.</p> <p><em>What are some of your ideas about simple living? Please share in comments!</em></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/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">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/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</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/10-smart-and-frugal-uses-for-epsom-salt">10 Smart and Frugal Uses for Epsom Salt</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/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living">The Best-Kept Secret to Frugal Living</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/failed-frugality-5-clues-youve-gone-too-far">Failed Frugality: 5 Clues You’ve Gone Too Far</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/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living essentials frugal living fundamentals simple living simplicity wants and needs Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:00:14 +0000 Philip Brewer 1269223 at http://www.wisebread.com One Month to Better, Simpler Living: 30 Small Changes to Make http://www.wisebread.com/one-month-to-better-simpler-living-30-small-changes-to-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/one-month-to-better-simpler-living-30-small-changes-to-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bicycle-461264855.jpg" alt="woman on bicycle" title="woman on bicycle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're told not to &quot;sweat the small stuff,&quot; but sometimes the small stuff adds up and prevents us from being happy. You can drastically &mdash; and simply &mdash; improve your life by cutting out the small, unnecessary stuff, and making simple changes to your routine and behavior. Call it &quot;living sustainably happy.&quot; Ready to give it a go? Take a look at these 30 ways to get back to basics and enjoy life a little bit more.</p> <h2>1. Create a Simple-Living Mission Statement</h2> <p>Before you start eliminating things from your life and begin making changes, start with a mission statement. Think about why you want to make these changes, the actual changes you'd like to make, and what you'd like the result of these changes to be. When you've figured that out, write a statement that covers these questions and answers so you have a solid foundation on which to build and motivation to keep you going when the going gets tough.</p> <h2>2. Devise a Simpler System for Housework</h2> <p>Very few people actually enjoy housework, but it can become less of a chore if you simplify the process. One way to do this is to create a checklist of areas you want to concentrate on so all you have to do is run down the list and check things off when you're finished. Be sure to include on the list all the cleaning supplies you'll need during the clean, too. By having everything mapped out from the beginning, you're less likely to waste time running back and forth to rooms because you forgot this or that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-essential-tricks-for-quick-and-easy-cleaning?ref=seealso">25 Tricks for Quick and Easy Cleaning</a>)</p> <h2>3. Eliminate One Electronic Device</h2> <p>Identify a device in your life that you can live without &mdash; mine is the iPad, I've recently discovered &mdash; and turn it off for good. Since you won't be using it anymore, why not sell it to the highest bidder on Craigslist or eBay and pocket a few bucks?</p> <h2>4. Turn on the Radio Instead of the TV</h2> <p>Radio and TV have very different effects on people. Have you noticed? We tend to plop down on the couch and stuff our faces while we're watching TV, but when the radio is on we tend to move around, sing, dance, and otherwise do something productive to the beat in the background. Given how these two mediums tend to affect how we operate, which do you think is better for you?</p> <h2>5. Plan Your Meals and Make a Shopping List</h2> <p>Your evenings at home will be much simpler and more enjoyable if you start planning your meals in advance and creating a shopping list of ingredients based on what you plan to make. You'll have everything you'll need for delicious dinners and lunches in the fridge at the beginning of the week, and you won't have to think about what's for dinner after a hard day of work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop?ref=seealso">Stop Wasting Food</a>)</p> <h2>6. Cut Off Your Cable</h2> <p>There are lots of alternatives to cable these days that cost much less than your pricey monthly subscription. Another benefit to cutting the cable is that you might be motivated to find more productive things to do besides watching TV since the temptation is greatly reduced. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=seealso">Cut Cable and Still Watch What You Like</a>)</p> <h2>7. Impose a Social Media Blackout</h2> <p>Sometimes you need to disconnect to concentrate on more important things &mdash; like your work and your relationships. I recently went off Facebook for about a month, and it was quite liberating. Even though I'm back on now, I'm checking and using it much less than I was before.</p> <h2>8. Spend More Time Talking to a Human Being</h2> <p>Everywhere I look, people are buried in their phones. Make a conscious effort to spend more face-to-face time with the people you like and love. It'll make their day, and it might just make yours too.</p> <h2>9. Evaluate Your Commitments</h2> <p>Take a look at your calendar. Are there events on there that you don't want or need to attend? You shouldn't do anything you don't want to do; it'll only stress you out more. Cancel these events, and find something better to do with your time.</p> <h2>10. Enjoy Meal Time by Eating Slower</h2> <p>I always hate when a good meal comes to an end. Enjoy your meals more by eating slower and savoring the food, the ambiance, and the company of the moment.</p> <h2>11. Go to Bed Earlier</h2> <p>Why are you staying up so late? To watch TV? To answer e-mails? To play video games? And what do you have to show for it? Nothing but grogginess and a bad attitude the next day. Try going to bed earlier and see how you feel in the morning. I bet it's an improvement over how you feel when you've gone to bed too late.</p> <h2>12. Learn to Accept That Tomorrow Is Another Day</h2> <p>Don't be so hard on yourself if today didn't go so well. You'll get another crack at it tomorrow &mdash; and you'll go into it wiser than before.</p> <h2>13. Say &quot;No&quot; More Often</h2> <p>We often burden ourselves by doing things that we don't want to do. Learn how to say no more often if you want to be happier more often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it?ref=seealso">Fix Your Time Management Problem</a>)</p> <h2>14. Worry Less About Going to the Gym and More About Staying Active</h2> <p>Stop worrying about how much time you're spending in the gym (although, you should probably reevaluate your membership if you're not going that often), and concentrate more on staying active outside of it. Walk, bike, run, hike, and dance while you clean, even. There are lots of ways you can keep moving and burn calories even if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">can't make it to the gym</a>.</p> <h2>15. Edit Your Rooms, and Cut the Clutter</h2> <p>Take a look around your rooms. Are there things for which you have no use? Are there things you can sell and make extra cash? If so, gather those things and get rid of them. You don't need &quot;stuff&quot; in your life that serves no purpose. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever?ref=seealso">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a>)</p> <h2>16. Rely on Your Car Less to Get Around</h2> <p>Park the car and walk and bike more often. You'll get more exercise, your body and mind will feel better, and you'll save money on gas.</p> <h2>17. Read More Meaningful Material</h2> <p>Put down the gossip magazine and pick up a book. The latter will make you much smarter than the former.</p> <h2>18. Delete Time-Sucking Apps From Your Phone</h2> <p>Find yourself spending hours playing nonsensical games on your phone? Take your time back by deleting the most notorious among them so you can concentrate on more important things.</p> <h2>19. Do Something Nice For Yourself Every Day</h2> <p>How can anyone love you the way you want to be loved if you don't love yourself? Treat yourself better by doing something good for yourself everyday. That doesn't always mean pampering yourself but rather something that will positively affect an aspect of your life, whether it be your work, your relationship, or another important part of your overall well-being.</p> <h2>20. Unsubscribe to Unwanted Email</h2> <p>Instead of blindly deleting all those email newsletters you don't want to receive, take the time to unsubscribe so you're not burdened with them in the future. You'll save a lot of time, and you'll get to what matters faster.</p> <h2>21. Carry Less With You</h2> <p>Do you need or use everything that you keep in your purse or backpack? Clean it out for a lighter load and greater peace of mind.</p> <h2>22. Remember That Things Don't Define You</h2> <p>The things you have don't make you better or worse than the next person. Keep that in mind when evaluating what you already have in your life and when contemplating buying something new. You don't need these things to validate you; you're just fine the way you are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso">Do You &quot;Want&quot; to Be Happy?</a>)</p> <h2>23. Create a Daily To-Do List</h2> <p>I work quicker and feel more accomplished with my daily to-do list in front of me. It's very satisfying when I cross off items one by one. Consider creating your own, and see what happens.</p> <h2>24. Organize Your Workspace</h2> <p>Chaos breeds more chaos, which means that if one part of your life is out of sorts, other parts are susceptible to failure as well. Start putting your life back in order at work. You spend most of your time there so it only makes sense to start there.</p> <h2>25. Spend More Time With People Who Make You Happy</h2> <p>Who needs negative people in their life or people you just don't like to be around? Cut those downers off and instead spend more time with people who make you happy. Life's too short.</p> <h2>26. Establish a Morning and Evening Routine</h2> <p>Establishing a routine makes me feel whole. I can't explain why, but I prefer to have routines in place so I can ensure that I'm doing what I need to do for myself every single day. Once you get in the groove, your routine will likely prove to be a timesaver over the carefree way you went about things before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Save Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <h2>27. Pare Down Your Cabinets</h2> <p>This goes for all your cabinets. Eat what you have in your pantry before buying new food; use what you have in your medicine cabinet before restocking. Also take a look at what's expired and what you no longer want, and toss them out.</p> <h2>28. Think Before You Spend</h2> <p>Before you give into temptation, ask yourself: &quot;Do I reeeeeeally need this?&quot; Nine times out of 10, that answer is no.</p> <h2>29. Use What You Already Have</h2> <p>Already have a tube of lip balm that's only half used? What do you need another one for? You don't, in fact. And this goes for everything else in your life that you already have. You don't need two of something when one works just fine.</p> <h2>30. Give More Than You Take</h2> <p>Even if you don't always get the same treatment in return, you'll feel better by giving more than you take on a consistent basis.</p> <p><em>Do you have more ways to simply improve the quality of your life? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-month-to-better-simpler-living-30-small-changes-to-make">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-4"> <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/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</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/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</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/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</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/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</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/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development easy self improvement living better simple living Fri, 09 May 2014 08:00:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1138512 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Simplify Your Life — Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-simplify-your-life-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-simplify-your-life-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relax-5370427-small.jpg" alt="relaxing man" title="relaxing man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a complex world filled with work demands, always-on media, family commitments, and general red tape, sometimes we have to make a conscious choice to simplify things. If you&#39;re beginning to feel like the world is bent on complicating your life, maybe it&#39;s time for a little inspiration. Here are 25 ways to start simplifying your life today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consolidate Accounts</h2> <p>Through the years, people tend to accumulate checking and savings accounts &mdash; even old 401(k) accounts from previous employers. Simplify your financial life by consolidating bank accounts and rolling over old 401(k) balances into a qualified IRA or current 401(k). After all, less paperwork and easier asset management are good things. Learn more about <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/retirement-planning/learn-about-iras/401k-rollover-options">401(k) rollover considerations from Fidelity&#39;s</a> helpful primer.</p> <h2>2. Shop One Day a Week</h2> <p>If your budget and schedule allow, devote one day a week to shopping for essentials (groceries, health and beauty aids, etc.). It may mean buying more each trip, but it&#39;ll save you time, effort, and even a bit of fuel.</p> <h2>3. Get to Know &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>Stress is often the result of overcommitment and schedules that are stretched paper thin. When possible, assert your right to say &quot;no&quot; and politely decline those activities, projects, and extra obligations that will only boost your stress level. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">How to Say &ldquo;No&rdquo; to Friends and Family</a>)</p> <h2>4. Keep a To-Do List</h2> <p>Overwhelmed with professional demands and personal errands? Stay focused by making a detailed and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">effective to-do list</a>.</p> <h2>5. Cook Double</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/simplify-1626537-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>The next time you fire up the stove or oven to cook your favorite meal, consider making double. If the menu is freezer-friendly, store it for a later date. If not, you&#39;ve got a pre-made lunch for the next day!</p> <h2>6. Do Your Holiday Shopping Throughout the Year</h2> <p>Channel Santa all year long and score bargains on everything from gifts to wrapping paper. By the time December rolls around, you can dodge the panicked masses and enjoy a little eggnog by the fire.</p> <h2>7. Dump Your Landline</h2> <p>If you have an unlimited cell phone plan or a VOIP service, there&#39;s really no need to double-down with an old-fashioned landline. Cut the cord and cut your bills at the same time.</p> <h2>8. Clean as You Go</h2> <p>Staying on top of chores can make each one seem like less of a chore. Clean a bit as you go and prevent those little messes from turning into motivation-sapping nightmares.</p> <h2>9. Cut the Clutter</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed how physical clutter leads to mental clutter? Performing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">a deep declutter</a> of our offices, homes, and cars can make room (literally and figuratively) for new experiences and ideas and give us a welcome refuge from the chaos of life.</p> <h2>10. Unsubscribe</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/simplify-147278628-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>From email to snail mail, our lives are filled with unwanted deliveries. Many websites require users to actively unsubscribe from email offers, meaning the opt-in boxes are pre-checked. In order to not be flooded with solicitations and newsletters, you&#39;ll need to uncheck those boxes or prepare for inundation of your in-box. To streamline your physical mailbox, cancel any auto-renewing subscriptions of magazines you no longer read.</p> <h2>11. Adopt a Zero-Accumulation Habit</h2> <p>For every new item you bring into your home, select one to toss, sell, or donate. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">zero-accumulation approach</a> simplifies your environment, prevents clutter, and means there&#39;s less to clean, store, and worry about.</p> <h2>12. Avoid Fashion Trends</h2> <p>Following trends is expensive and before you know it, you&#39;ve got a closet-full of clothes that are perfect &mdash; for last year. Instead of being a slave to fashion, gravitate toward classic styles, timeless designs, versatile colors and fabrics, and quality construction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-wardrobe-basics-for-women-that-are-worth-investing-in">Wardrobe Basics for Women</a>)</p> <h2>13. Use the Cloud to Backup Your Data</h2> <p>Hard drives fail every day. Simplify your tech life by avoiding the very complicating problem of permanently lost data. <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2036488/how-to-build-a-bulletproof-cloud-backup-system-without-spending-a-dime.html">Leverage cloud services</a> to protect your photos, work projects, tax information, and other personal files.</p> <h2>14. Work From Home When You Can</h2> <p>Having the option to telecommute allows you to shorten your prep time for work, avoid traffic, and reduce fuel costs. Working from home also lets you sneak in a few household chores during the day to lighten your schedule later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-let-you-work-from-home">How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work From Home</a>)</p> <h2>15. Decide to Become Debt-Free</h2> <p>Nothing complicates our lives quite as quickly as consumer debt. The dark cloud of interest taxes household budgets, stresses families, and often keeps us tied to jobs we hate. Commit to <a href="http://www.johnnymoneyseed.com/debt-free/guide-becoming-really-really-ridiculously-debt-free/#sthash.wsBtYUOu.dpbs">becoming debt-free</a> and simplifying how you approach spending.</p> <h2>16. Set Personal and Professional Goals</h2> <p>Goals give us direction and help us outline a path toward achievement. Simplify your life by clarifying your goals and dispensing with distraction.</p> <h2>17. Understand the Nature of Things</h2> <p>Whether it&#39;s our pet, our best friend, our spouse, or our boss, understanding the nature of those closest to us can be liberating. Instead of fighting personalities (and getting stressed out in the process) accepting differences and giving up a bit of control can be immensely satisfying and simplifying.</p> <h2>18. Define <em>Enough</em></h2> <p>Our culture is great at promoting the idea of more and presenting us with countless ways to go upsize and upgrade, but it&#39;s not so great at defining what enough is. Without a clear view of satiety (enough money, a big enough house, a nice enough car, etc.) many of us can end up on an endless and exhausting loop. Define what enough is for you personally and work toward it.</p> <h2>19. Downsize</h2> <p>Do the things you own, own you? If so, it may be time for some <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-downsize-without-losing-your-mind-175131">strategic downsizing</a>. Large houses take time to clean, sprawling lawns demand our attention, and expensive cars can sap our resources. Take a critical look at the objects in your life that demand the most time and labor. Is there a way to scale back and be happier with less?</p> <h2>20. Toss Out Those Fashion Magazines</h2> <p>The fashion and beauty industry relies on disruption to sell products &mdash; and nothing is quite as disruptive as trying to achieve perfection. If you find air-brushed images more anxiety-producing than inspiring, toss them out and give your ego and pocketbook a break.</p> <h2>21. Clean Out Your Wallet or Purse</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/simplify-86513518-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>We pull out our wallets and purses countless times each day. Make it less of an archeological dig. Discard what you don&#39;t need and organize the rest.</p> <h2>22. Trade More Money for More Time</h2> <p>If you have a flexible enough budget, why not ask for more time instead of more money the next time you&#39;re up for a promotion or a raise? A more open work schedule, half-day Fridays, or more vacation time can often result in real quality-of-life improvements.</p> <h2>23. Automate Saving and Bill-Paying</h2> <p>Recurring transactions like making an IRA deposit or paying the cell-phone bill or can be automated to save time. Paying bills automatically also helps avoid those &quot;oops&quot; moments that lead to late fees and credit dings.</p> <h2>24. Choose Versatile Furnishings</h2> <p>Look for well-built and <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/top-10-cheap-fu-36412">simple furnishings</a> that can pull double duty in your home. Multifunctional items simplify our spaces, minimize clutter, and take the pressure off our decorating budgets.</p> <h2>25. Trade Perfection for Good Enough</h2> <p>Good enough gets things done, but perfection stops us in our tracks. Embrace the notion of the good enough in your life and free yourself from stifling and unrealistic expectations.</p> <p>Sometimes complication is imposed on us; sometimes it arises from a failure to say &quot;no&quot; or draw a line in the sand with ourselves or with others. Look for those things you can control and begin to actively explore ways to reduce your time commitments, reset expectations, consolidate your energy, and find opportunities to just rest. Reclaim your weekends, your sleep, and your sanity &mdash; start simplifying your life today.</p> <p><em>How do you maintain simplicity in your life? </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/25-ways-to-simplify-your-life-today">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-ways-to-calm-your-nerves-and-ace-your-interview">6 Ways to Calm Your Nerves and Ace Your Interview</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/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</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-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</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/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</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/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks simple living simplify Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1086123 at http://www.wisebread.com Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-2331711-small.jpg" alt="minimalism" title="minimalism" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I write about frugality, and I try to follow my own advice, but I am by no means a minimalist. My kitchen is bursting with gadgets and appliances, my drawers with clothes, and my shelves with books. I haul in plenty of art and nick nacks and other pretty things, too. I'm no hoarder, but I have lots of things I use, that I might use, or even that I like to look at. It's all that <em>stuff </em>that makes my house feel like my home. That said, I am fascinated by people who are able to pare down to almost nothing and live quite happily that way. Don't they ever need another chair for a guest? An extra layer of clothing? Some old books to flip through on a Sunday afternoon? A few so-called creature comforts? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/confessions-of-a-minimalist-9-reasons-i-miss-my-stuff" target="_blank">Confessions of a Minimalist: 9 Reasons I Miss My Stuff</a>)</p> <p>Apparently, those aren't things everyone craves. And that got me wondering: Just how minimalist are people willing to get? The answer, of course, is pretty minimal. Here are a few examples from the far reaches of minimalism. They may not be for everyone, but incorporating the spirit of these efforts into our lives could help us all save more money &mdash; and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/endurance-frugality-staying-the-course-and-being-a-winner" target="_blank">even live a richer life</a>.</p> <h2>No Possessions</h2> <p>I tend to think of minimalism as an aesthetic, one with sleek, modern furniture, clean lines, and limited clutter. That's one way of looking at it, but some extreme minimalists would say that you don't need furniture at all.</p> <p>Peter Lawrence wrote about his experiences of deliberately living with less in &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Happy-Minimalist-Financial-independence/dp/1436348625" target="_blank">The Happy Minimalist.</a>&quot;&nbsp;Lawrence lives in a simple, one-bedroom apartment adorned only with a camping chair, a sleeping bag, a computer desk, and a few kitchen tools and personal items. The house looks, bare, empty, almost like no one lives there at all, but Lawrence seems happy in this open space, watching the sun rise and set from his window, practicing yoga, playing guitar, and inviting friends over to watch movies he projects on his bedroom wall. Plus, his simple life allowed him to walk away from a cushy corporate job at 44. (You can check out a great video about Lawrence's life below, or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw4E8nXcrTk" target="_blank">here if your browser is finicky</a>.)</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Hw4E8nXcrTk" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>How you can live with less:</strong> I admire Lawrence's discipline and drive for simplicity, but when I have friends over for dinner, I kinda feel like I should have somewhere for them to sit. That said, Lawrence is dead on when he says that most of us could live with a whole lot less, and might even be happier for it. Consider clearing out the clutter you don't need or use, and being pickier about what you bring into your house in the first place. Most of all, remember that happiness is something that's cultivated, rather than consumed.</p> <h2>Tiny House</h2> <p>If you struggle to keep clutter from piling up in your closets, one way to deal with it is to get a smaller house. It's like downsizing, only it often involves moving into what looks more like a playhouse than a grownup home for grownup people. The small house movement is believed to have started in the late 1990s, but it picked up speed as a result of a prototype designed to house those whose homes had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. After that, many designers followed suit with homes that were cute, cozy, and barely a few hundred square feet. Proponents say these houses are comfortable and cost-effective, and they leave a very small carbon footprint. (The documentary about the phenomenon is long; I won't feel bad if <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcVrVA4bSQ" target="_blank">you bookmark it on YouTube and watch it later</a>.)</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lDcVrVA4bSQ" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>How you can live with less:</strong> It's safe to say that most people aren't living in a home that's anywhere near as tiny as a true &quot;tiny house.&quot; The 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that barely 1% of buyers opted for a home of less than 1,000 square feet. But even that's still far below the average square footage of a new home in the U.S., which is now approaching 2,500 square feet, according the Census Bureau. That's more than 16 times the size of the tiny houses some people quite happily call home. The reality is that while our home offices, &quot;flex rooms,&quot; and vaulted ceilings may make us feel like we're living large, the maintenance and expenses can leave us with very slim margins, both in terms of time and energy. Our parents and grandparents grew up in much smaller spaces. If anything, the tiny house movement serves as a challenge to our ideas of how much space we really need &mdash; and the cost of having it.</p> <h2>No Heat</h2> <p>I often think of my creature comforts as <em>things</em>, which just goes to show how much I take for granted. Like central heating. That's one I definitely take for granted, but some extremists are tough enough to give up even this cold-weather comfort. In fact, a number of people across the U.S. deliberately go without heating their homes (or not beyond what a few cords of firewood will provide) in the winter &mdash; even in cold states like Maine! They do it as a challenge, out of curiosity, and out of a sense of environmental stewardship. Don't believe me? You can check out the <a href="http://coldhousejournal.com/" target="_blank">Cold House Journal</a> for one couple's adventures in cold living.</p> <p><strong>How you can live with less:</strong> The average home heating cost in the U.S. falls somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500 per year, depending on whether you use natural gas or heating oil. That's money many of us could stand to save &mdash; and at little cost to our comfort. Rather than turn up the heat, stay toasty with some fuzzy socks and a sweater. You don't have to keep things so cold that you'll have ice forming in your toilet bowl (save that for the extremists!), but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hold-off-on-heating-with-these-10-warming-ways-0" target="_blank">keeping things cooler will help keep costs down</a>. Plus, it will give you a good excuse to curl up under a blanket with some tea, which isn't such a bad thing in my book.</p> <h2>How Low Can You Go?</h2> <p>If there's anything we can learn from extreme minimalists it's that a sense of deprivation can be a state of mind. Whether we give up personal possessions or other common comforts, the truth is that many of us are so fortunate, the vast majority of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-a-tactic-but-also-a-goal" target="_blank">the things we own are completely unnecessary</a>, at least in the strictest sense of the word. You don't have to throw all your worldly possessions overboard in favor of minimalism, but the fact that quite a few people manage to do it is worth thinking about. Or maybe what we should be thinking about is how much we'd actually miss all those things we work so hard to surround ourselves with. My guess is not as much as we'd like to think. Not that I'll be testing that theory in any extreme way. Like I said, I'm no minimalist.</p> <p><em>Tell me about your experiments in minimalist living in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">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/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration">Mind-Blowing Tiny Houses With Huge Design Inspiration</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/confessions-of-a-minimalist-9-reasons-i-miss-my-stuff">Confessions of a Minimalist: 9 Reasons I Miss My Stuff</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/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</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/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</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 extreme frugality heating costs minimalism simple living tiny houses Mon, 17 Jun 2013 10:24:33 +0000 Tara Struyk 978063 at http://www.wisebread.com Talking Trash: Is Your Messy Mind the Cause of Your Messy House? http://www.wisebread.com/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4797769197_30956ef636_z.jpg" alt="thinking" title="thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve been messy since birth. One of the constants in my life has been arguing with my mother over how to clean the house, any house, properly. My neatnik mother is one of those naturally tidy people. You know the type. She&rsquo;s so put-together that she looks like a flight attendant.</p> <p>&ldquo;A cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind,&rdquo; she&rsquo;d say, passing me the feather duster. &ldquo;If that&rsquo;s the case, &ldquo; I&rsquo;d shoot back, quoting Einstein, &ldquo;Then what does an empty desk signify?&rdquo; (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clutter-free-the-zero-accumulation-household">Clutter-Free:&nbsp;The Zero-Accumulation Household</a>)</p> <p>I mean, really. Does it even matter that I have a messy mind?</p> <p>I asked my friend <a href="http://www.aclearpath.net/top10.html">Dr. Regina Lark</a>, who chairs the Education Committee of the National Association of Professional Organizers, if there&rsquo;s any connection between a messy desk and a messy mind.</p> <p>&ldquo;Of course,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>Fudge.</p> <p>I hate losing arguments to my mom.</p> <p>To quote Regina, &ldquo;There are people who are genetically messy because their brain is hardwired for non-linear thinking. They are very right brained and artistic. They are out there in the world. They are social. They&rsquo;d rather do anything other than file. So when these people come home, they get an idea for a project, and everything else just goes on the floor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Uh oh. As of this moment I count seven, SEVEN unfinished projects in my living room alone. On the floor. Of course.</p> <p>So, how do non-linear thinkers clear their internal and external space? For me, this means less about relieving the footprint of clutter and more about maintaining a level of organization that allows me to spend the maximum amount of time pursuing creative projects.</p> <p>I asked Regina how she would handle a client like me. &ldquo;We&rsquo;d develop a workaround for you. We&rsquo;d find a fix that would solve the mess but not make you feel like you are losing your creative edge. For example, I have clients who have piles of clothes cluttering their bedrooms because they hate hanging up their clothes. They argue that, &lsquo;the clothes are just going to come off the hangers anyway so why put them on the hangers to begin with?&rsquo; &nbsp;Since I&rsquo;m never going to convince the clients that hanging up their clothes isn&rsquo;t a total waste of their time, my attitude is, &lsquo;If you just can&rsquo;t stand putting your clothes on hangers, let&rsquo;s go get you some really awesome looking hooks.&rsquo; Take the sticking point &mdash; the hangers &mdash; out of the equation.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;Could clearing clutter really be this easy?</p> <p>The answer is yes. Unfortunately, clearing a messy desk is easier than clearing a messy mind, because of what Regina calls &ldquo;Head Trash.&rdquo;</p> <p>Head Trash is made of the negative messages that loop in our heads that make us feel bad about ourselves. &ldquo;My college degree is worthless.&rdquo; &ldquo;I have a bad marriage.&rdquo; &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-an-exercise-plan">Why can&rsquo;t I go to the gym</a>?&rdquo; Head Trash is insidious because it gets fed all the time.</p> <p>In her new book &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0985766182/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0985766182&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=lx04-20">Psychic Debris, Crowded Closets: The Relationship between the Stuff in Your Head and What&rsquo;s Under Your Bed</a><i>,&quot; </i>Regina gives her readers some strategies on how to dump Head Trash and clean up the house at the same time.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Write Down&nbsp;Your Head Trash</h2> <p>To quote <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pogo_-_Earth_Day_1971_poster.jpg">Pogo</a>, &ldquo;We have met the enemy and he is us.&rdquo; To combat Head Trash, first you have to know what you&rsquo;re up against. Write down all the mean things you say to yourself. Every time you start trash talking yourself, start the conversation again with nicer dialogue.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even Regina falls victim to Head Trash. &ldquo;The other night I got out of the shower and caught myself worrying over some new line in my skin. Why is negativity the first thing? Why is the default position to put yourself down? Instead of continuing to stare at my new wrinkle, I told myself, &lsquo;Regina, nice shoulders!&rsquo; And then I walked away from the mirror.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Your life is a book. Repeating the narrative keeps you from getting out of that bad chapter in your life,&rdquo; counsels Regina. &ldquo;The storyline must move forward. When you find yourself listening to Head Trash say THE END out loud and start a new chapter. Turn the page.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Look at Your Clutter.&nbsp;How Does That Make You&nbsp;Feel?</h2> <p>After making a list of all your Head Trash, look at your space and look at how you talk about yourself in that regard. For example, after living with bed sheets tacked up over my windows for the last five years, I finally went out and bought drapes. These drapes have yet to be installed for a variety of reasons, all relating to my Head Trash. &ldquo;These might be too long. I don&rsquo;t want to have to hem them.&rdquo; &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t put them up until I install the window molding.&rdquo; &ldquo;I hope I like how these hang because returning them is going to be such a drag.&rdquo; After five years of searching for the perfect drapes, I still don&rsquo;t have confidence in my choice. I asked Regina how I should approach this kind of issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;You can make your space what you want to be,&rdquo; explains Regina. &ldquo;But decluttering your space can&rsquo;t be successful if you don&rsquo;t have clarity of what your space will look like when you are done. Create a vision board of your perfect space by either by cutting photos out of magazines or on Pinterist. My vision has great art. My vision does not have two crock pots.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Once you&rsquo;ve created your vision for your space, enlist some help in the decision making process and to declutter. If this were pleasurable, you would do it in one second. Ask a friend whose taste you admire, to help you pare down your closet to only the clothes that make you look and feel great about yourself.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Ironically, many people avoid decluttering because they are afraid that they are decluttering <i>incorrectly</i>. To make the experience go faster have a declutter party with wine and snacks. Explain that you can accept criticism from friends at the party if it&rsquo;s made with kindness. Take turns clearing each person&rsquo;s home.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Practice Living in the&nbsp;Present</h2> <p>Regina counsels her clients to bury their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trader-joes-vs-costco-whats-a-better-place-to-shop">Costco</a> cards. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t live in the Adirondacks circa 1804. Yes, you may use the 12 cans of Ajax you bought in bulk to clean your house in the future, but in the present, they are just making your house messy.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;American consumer culture has done a great job brainwashing us into believing we need all this stuff. When I help people organize their stuff, I&rsquo;m really helping them ditch a lot of broken promises and shattered dreams. Exercise equipment, lotions, everything is really dusty. They buy it, they don&rsquo;t use it, and then the Head Trash kicks in. Then they go back out and buy more stuff that promises to make them feel better about themselves. It&rsquo;s a vicious cycle.&ldquo;</p> <h2>Make Connections With&nbsp;People, Not Things&nbsp;</h2> <p>I asked Regina if she thinks that clutter is a specifically American problem.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yes. America is the only nation where the pursuit of happiness is a right. The rhetoric of this country is hardwired into us, and is the foundation of the American Dream.&nbsp;While there are over one hundred international members of the National Organization of Organizers, and research shows that bad clutter is everywhere, in the United States we&rsquo;ve taken the language of democracy and we&rsquo;ve monetized it. Americans have 3.2% of the kids in the world, but buy 40% of the toys. Over the last fifty years, over the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">top spending has become so culturally acceptable</a>, that the American Dream is no longer within grasp of many people. Adult children living with their parents was totally normal behavior up until this last generation. Now, people who must live with their parents for budgetary reasons feel like failures.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Is it surprising that prisons and storage facilities are both booming industries in the United States? We Americans, we&rsquo;re the best at putting stuff away&hellip;in the wrong place.&rdquo;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/talking-trash-is-your-messy-mind-the-cause-of-your-messy-house">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/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</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/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-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/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</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/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Personal Development decluttering Mental Clutter simple living Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:48:33 +0000 Max Wong 968067 at http://www.wisebread.com Simple Living Through Capital http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-through-capital <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/simple-living-through-capital" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/478662794_cfe7bbeb84_z.jpg" alt="man drinking wine" title="man drinking wine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of ways to live simply. Frugality is one. Self-sufficiency is another. My personal favorite is living simply through capital.</p> <p>The modern roots of &quot;simple living through capital&quot; run straight back to the classic of simple living, <em>Your Money or Your Life</em>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-your-money-or-your-life">Book Review: Your Money or Your Life</a>, one of my first posts here at Wise Bread.)</p> <p>There's a lot in that book, but here's one key idea &mdash; you can achieve financial independence by investing money so as to produce an income stream that matches your expense stream.</p> <p>It's a powerful idea, but it has a couple of downsides.</p> <p>One disadvantage of simple living through capital is that it takes <em>so much</em> capital, especially now that interest rates (and investment returns in general) are so low. It can easily take a lifetime to accumulate that much capital. In fact, standard retirement planning advice no longer calls for accumulating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-end-of-the-4-rule">that much capital</a> &mdash; the assumption is that you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-do-i-need-to-retire-how-much-can-i-spend">spend down your capital</a>, as long as you spend it down gradually enough that you'll die before it's all gone.</p> <p>The more fundamental disadvantage is that the whole vision of financial independence through a large capital-based income stream is really a false goal. Your real goal is live your life according to your values.</p> <p>A life worth living is almost surely going to involve some sort of work, even if it's not highly paid work. Even a modest amount of work &mdash; even if it's not highly paid &mdash; completely changes the calculations with regard to financial independence. Every thousand dollars a year that you can earn reduces the amount of capital that you need to set aside by at least 20 to 25 thousand dollars.</p> <p>(In exactly the same way, of course, each thousand dollars a year that you don't need to spend because you're living frugally also reduces the amount of capital you need to set aside by 20 to 25 thousand dollars.)</p> <p>The advocates of this capital-based version of financial independence point out that having a large capital-based income stream certainly doesn't <em>prevent</em> you from working. Rather, it <em>frees</em> you to do whatever sort of work calls you, regardless of whether it pays enough to support you.</p> <p>I agree whole-heartedly. I just want to extend that vision, by observing that it's not a case of either/or. You're not 100% trapped until your investment income matches your spending and 100% free afterwards. Even a rather modest capital-based income stream begins to free you. Capital that generates just a few percent of your annual expenses can make it possible to take a job that's more interesting than a better paid one.</p> <p>In your struggle to live life according to your own values, income from capital is a powerful tool. That's true long before your investment income is high enough that you don't need to work at all.</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/simple-living-through-capital">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/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply</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-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</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/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability</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-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today">10 Simple Ways to Start Living on Less 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/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty">Voluntary simplicity versus poverty</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living capital follow your dreams simple living Thu, 19 Jul 2012 10:24:15 +0000 Philip Brewer 942673 at http://www.wisebread.com Lessons From My Frugal Father http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-from-my-frugal-father <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lessons-from-my-frugal-father" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1924959952_41e081e590_z.jpg" alt="father guiding son" title="father guiding son" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="185" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My dad was 12 years old when the first waves of the Great Depression spread across the country. A modest but thriving farm insulated his family from the worst of the effects, but this period still defined his approach to money management and influenced nearly every aspect of his lifestyle.</p> <p>When I was a kid, I skipped most of the usual rebellious attitudes about thrift and simple living. I wasn't elated that we had a smaller house, that my dad and like-minded mom controlled all the finances with a surgical precision, but I vaguely realized they had a goal and a focus that I might benefit from someday. At the risk of dating myself, I remember wanting a pair of parachute pants so badly and for so long that by the time I could finally buy a pair, wearing them would have seemed ironic.</p> <p>Now, decades later, I look back at my childhood and see the simple, direct, conscious attitude that drove my parents' financial decisions large and small. They had a goal, they discussed it, they kept the goal in focus and their biweekly paychecks weren't occasions for temptation, but little task-master reminders. With the perspective that only 30 years' worth of hindsight can give, I've filtered my dad's financial priorities down to five principles that are worth a review today:</p> <h2>Keep A Garden</h2> <p>Next door to my childhood home sat an empty lot that the city begrudgingly maintained because of absentee owners. My dad located the owners and offered to take care of the lot in exchange for permission to plant a garden on it. This large, ambitious garden thrived and supplied our family with dill, radishes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, onions and corn for nearly 15 years. Everyone had a hand in planting, watering, weeding and harvesting what came out of that garden. It put us in control of a major portion of our food supply and was organic, sustainable and local before those concepts were cool. The positive effect on our food budget was nearly an after-thought.</p> <h2>Know Where Your Money Is</h2> <p>I have a perpetual visual memory of my father sitting down every evening and reading the paper in his recliner. About once a month or so, he would skip the paper and pull out a little 3&quot; x 5&quot; notepad and add up his net worth. He did it all by memory and line-itemed each savings account and investment that he and my mother contributed to and the corresponding balances. His accounting methods were rudimentary by today's standards, but he knew where his money was. That simple little notepad told him all he needed to know and was another tool he used to keep himself focused.</p> <h2>Take Care Of Your Stuff</h2> <p>Working in the garden took hoes, rakes, shovels, tillers and other implements that my dad was charged with taking care of. They each got the Dad Treatment of a thorough wash and a thin coat of oil on any metal parts to prevent rust. We sometimes joked as kids that if we stood still too long, we'd get washed, covered with a thin coat of oil and hung on a peg board. He took care of his tools, his cars, his clothes &mdash; anything that he had invested in was meticulously maintained in order to extend its service. So much is expendable today that often this concept gets lost in the wash of new products we have to choose from.</p> <h2>Avoid Credit</h2> <p>When I started college and fell victim to those on-campus credit card solicitors, my otherwise fairly silent father had a few things to say. While I thought quick credit marked my entrée to adulthood, my dad reminded me of his credo: if you can't afford to pay with cash, you can't afford to buy it. I've since modified his approach a bit, but I do use credit extremely conservatively and am constantly amazed at how cash-poor most of my contemporaries are. When my parents had a new large purchase to make, they added a savings 'account' on that little 3&quot; x 5&quot; notepad and saved until the item could be bought outright.</p> <h2>DIY</h2> <p>My dad had an amazing engineering gene that the DNA lottery has denied me. When something broke in our house, he instinctively knew how to fix it. If the blender stopped blending or furnace stopped heating, he could identify the specific failed part and replace it. In his more amazing MacGyver moments, if the part couldn't be purchased, he would craft it himself with a grinder or welding torch. Now, I don't own a welding torch and trying to mill a gear from an old washer would send me straight to the ER for nerve pills. But the spirit of his approach isn't lost; I can patch a leaky garden hose and replace a wax seal on a toilet (thanks, Dad). Doing tasks himself saved my dad money, probably entertained him to a certain degree and constantly expanded his range of skills.</p> <p>When I look back on those years with dad, who passed away in 2001 at the age of 84, I think of the quiet lessons he taught by example. Especially now that the world is talking about simplicity and savings and living within more modest means, I've come to treasure the images of that little 3&quot; x 5&quot; notebook, the bushel-baskets full of produce from our garden, those perfectly hung tools gleaming rust-free on the basements walls. He was a man ahead of his time.</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/lessons-from-my-frugal-father">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/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</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-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</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/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</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-seven-deadly-sins-of-consumerism-and-the-frugal-redemption">The seven deadly sins of consumerism (and the frugal redemption).</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 frugality Great Depression simple living Fri, 06 Aug 2010 13:00:15 +0000 Kentin Waits 197956 at http://www.wisebread.com Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dumpster_1.jpg" alt="Dumpster" title="Dumpster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="196" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The frugality blogosphere was buzzing last week with an article by Katherine Hibbert about how she was getting by in London spending just about nothing. People were arguing about whether her lifestyle was really frugal, simple, or sustainable.</p> <p>You ought to read her article <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/02/katherine-hibbert-living-without-money">My free and easy life</a>, which is excellent, but, very briefly, she gets by through a combination of living in vacant buildings (squatting) and dumpster diving (called &quot;skipping&quot; in the UK). The questions in the blogosphere, though, had to do with the extent to which her example can serve as a model for the rest of us.</p> <p>(I should mention that the laws on squatting are different in the UK. The article goes into some detail on that topic.)</p> <p>In all three spheres, the disconnect had to do with where you drew the line around the activity before deciding whether it was frugal, simple, or sustainable.</p> <p>If you drew the line just around Katherine Hibbert, her lifestyle was obviously very frugal &mdash; she got by on less than &pound;1 a day! It was simple, too &mdash; once she got past being stressed over knowing that she might be evicted at any time, her biggest problem was boredom, and she solved that by studying and doing volunteer work.</p> <p>But if you drew the line a bit wider, the frugality and simplicity became a lot fuzzier. All over London people are maintaining vacant buildings; that's how she and her friends found places to squat. All over London people were pitching perfectly good stuff into dumpsters; that's how she and her friends found their food, their furnishings, and the stuff they sold to pay the bills that they needed cash for (such as her mobile phone contract). That's not simple and it's certainly not not frugal.</p> <p>It's true that people were already doing that before she came along and made use of the buildings that were sitting idle and the stuff that was on its way to the landfill. In fact, part of her motivation is to <strong>draw attention</strong> to the fact that these resources are going to waste. (The results of her efforts are sometimes perverse, though &mdash; she points out that perfectly good food is being pitched into the dumpster and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-retailers-do-with-their-unwanted-merchandise">merchants respond</a> by puncturing the containers so as to ruin the food, or by locking the dumpsters to keep people out.)</p> <p>And here is where sustainability comes in. Some number of people can get by on the detritus of western consumer society. In fact, quite a few people. I have no doubt that the food, clothes, and consumer goods thrown away every month in the United States, if distributed among the very poor, could bring every American up to a decent standard of living. But that's only true because so many people are trying so very hard to live better than that.</p> <p>If ordinary people decided to live the way I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">keep recommending</a> &mdash; building a frugal lifestyle grounded in careful thought about what they really need &mdash; the cornucopia of surplus goods would dry up pretty quickly. Whether you call it dumpster diving or skipping, it <strong>doesn't scale</strong>.</p> <p>Now, in one sense that's a theoretical point. I don't think we need to fear that millions of working-class and middle-class folks will suddenly abandon the rat race and decide to get by on what they can scavenge. But, I think it's more than a <strong>merely</strong> theoretical point, because there are a lot of pressures against the present model.</p> <p>None of the people producing the excess stuff that ends up in the trash is doing so because they want to. In fact, they're all trying actively to waste less &mdash; and as they get better at reducing waste, the waste stream will tend to dry up. At the same time, social pressure to divert the waste stream to the truly needy will tend to dry it up as well, at least as far as people like Katherine Hibbert are concerned &mdash; the &quot;surplus&quot; food will end up at food banks instead of dumpsters. That's a good thing, but it'll be tough for people who used to get their food for free.</p> <p>Of course, to the extent that people are choosing this lifestyle in order to make a point (rather than because they're lazy slackers), it's all to the good &mdash; it'll mean that their point has been heard. But to the extent that they've chosen this lifestyle because it appeals to them, I don't think it's got a long term future. It only works because cheap energy and cheap money have made us all temporarily rich; that's not going to last.</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/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">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/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</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/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">The Many Reasons to Make Do with Less</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/frugality-a-tactic-but-also-a-goal">Frugality: a tactic, but also a goal</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/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">It takes a frugal spouse to make a frugal home</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-retire-on-less-than-you-think">Book review: Retire on Less Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living frugal frugal life frugality simple living sustainability Wed, 13 Jan 2010 14:00:03 +0000 Philip Brewer 4619 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-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/simple-living-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</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/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</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-4"> <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/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</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-5"> <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-overcoming-negative-inertia">Simple Living: Overcoming Negative Inertia</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-determining-your-priorities">Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities</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/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</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 life simple living Fri, 23 Oct 2009 14:00:02 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 3745 at http://www.wisebread.com