simplicity http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9514/all en-US 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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-cut-your-grocery-bill">5 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill</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/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty">Voluntary simplicity versus poverty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living">The Best-Kept Secret to Frugal Living</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 The Five Stages of Not Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-stages-of-not-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-five-stages-of-not-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3350353287_3585d30f54_z.jpg" alt="not stopping" title="not stopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On January 6, 2007 I joined The Compact, an environmental group whose members agree to &ldquo;buy nothing new for one calendar year.&rdquo; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used" target="_blank">The Compact: Mindfulness and Frugality Through Buying Used</a>)</p> <p>The goal of The Compact is to take as few virgin resources out of the planet as possible. I joined The Compact out of green guilt &mdash; in 2006 I had traveled to Italy three times and Spain once. Although I had enjoyed a spectacular year of travel, my jet-setting lifestyle came at a huge environmental cost. Back home, I decided I had to go beyond recycling and step away from consumer culture to shrink my carbon footprint. (Also, I like to test myself, but that&rsquo;s another story).</p> <p>Although The Compact has a lot of exemptions &mdash; the purchase of food, safety items, services, downloadable content &mdash; it is still a challenge to buy mainly used goods. (Where do you find used shoe polish)? It demands patience and creativity, which is why I am still a member of the compact six years later. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Compact" target="_blank">The Compact</a> makes every day into an adventure. It&rsquo;s super fun, and I have learned so much about myself because of it.</p> <p>When I started The Compact in 2007, I anticipated that I would be frustrated, annoyed, and occasionally inconvenienced by limiting myself to only buying used goods. So I was surprised to note that the biggest obstacle to compacting was not my own impatience, but other people&rsquo;s emotions.</p> <p>Because of The Compact, I now have real sympathy for vegetarians. Even people who stop eating meat for health or budget reasons get hostile pushback from certain meat eaters who are <em>sure</em> that all vegetarians are smug, leather-shoe-wearing hypocrites. I don&rsquo;t know why certain people internalize how I personally choose to <em>conserve</em> resources, but they do.</p> <p>The second I decided to stop buying new, my shopping habits suddenly became a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model" target="_blank">Kübler-Ross model</a> experiment (think &quot;Five Stages of Grief&quot;) with my friends as research subjects.</p> <p>And so, without further introduction, here are the Five Stages of Not Shopping, and how I dealt with each one.</p> <h2>Denial</h2> <p>Initially, some of my friends refused to acknowledge my commitment to not buying new and gave me Target gift cards for my birthday and holiday gifts. They preferred to believe that I was just poor, because who would voluntarily decide to buy less stuff?</p> <p><strong>How to deal</strong>: I thanked them sincerely and listed all the groceries (a Compact exemption) I&rsquo;d bought at Target with their gifts. While buying food with the gift cards just solidified their notion that I was simplifying out of poverty, I saw no upshot in complaining about getting presents. Sometimes it&rsquo;s the thought that counts, even if it&rsquo;s the wrong thought.</p> <h2>Anger</h2> <p>If I had a nickel for the number of times someone has snorted in annoyance at my reusable grocery bags, even though it takes no longer to bag my groceries in cloth than it does in plastic, I would have tens of dollars.</p> <p><strong>How to deal</strong>: Sometimes, when I am feeling mean, I offer the snorter a tissue for their &ldquo;allergies,&rdquo; but generally I just ignore hostility from strangers. What&rsquo;s the point in getting into an argument with someone too dumb to realize that most big grocery store chains in Southern California offer a five cent credit for every reusable bag? In the twenty years I&rsquo;ve lived in Los Angeles, I have saved over $2,000 by bringing my own bags.</p> <h2>Bargaining</h2> <p>This conversation usually begins with other people telling me that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">I am depriving myself</a> because I won&rsquo;t buy a Starbucks coffee or I am somehow living a less full life because I won&rsquo;t spend money on overpriced snacks from the vending machine at the office.</p> <p><strong>How to deal</strong>: I explain to people that every dollar I save in Los Angeles is a dollar I get to spend in Italy. I don&rsquo;t remember every $1 Coca-Cola I drank in 2010, but I remember every cappuccino I drank in Italy during the three months I lived there. Most people will stop hounding you into buying stuff you don&rsquo;t need if they know you have a goal you are trying to meet.</p> <h2>Depression</h2> <p>That pouty expression my friends make when I ask the waiter to box up my leftovers at the end of a meal gets so tired.</p> <p><strong>How to deal</strong>: Up the ante. Why put my leftovers into a takeout container that will be garbage the second I bring it into my house? Instead of adding more trash to the planet, I bring my own collapsible Tupperware take-out containers with me when I eat out. I can&rsquo;t control my friends&rsquo; irrational dislike of eating delicious restaurant food as a midnight snack, but I can control how much waste my eating habits generate.</p> <h2>Acceptance</h2> <p>My friend Andy recently busted his girlfriend at a dinner party at their home. Apparently she only uses cloth napkins when I come over to eat because she fears that I will spend the entire meal silently judging her <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">use of disposable goods</a>.</p> <p>Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. The longer the post-recession almost-recession drags on, the more friends ask me for thrifty, environmental advice that would have gone ignored in better financial times.</p> <p><strong>How to deal</strong>: (Laugh hysterically). Be gracious and enjoy every teachable moment. Being a member of The Compact has been liberating. Because I now <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">question every purchase</a>, I have more money in the bank and fewer things to dust. Why <em>wouldn&rsquo;t</em> I want to share the magic of Not Shopping with everyone I care about?</p> <p><em>Have you faced criticism for saving resources? How did you deal?</em></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/the-five-stages-of-not-shopping">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-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</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/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping envy peer pressure simplicity Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:00:30 +0000 Max Wong 971471 at http://www.wisebread.com The 4 Types of Clutterers: Which One Are You? http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-types-of-clutterers-which-one-are-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-4-types-of-clutterers-which-one-are-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3940190148_1ba7f69a1c_z.jpg" alt="clutter" title="clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The first step to fixing your problem is identifying it. And if your problem is being disorganized, you need to know what type of clutterer you are to figure out the right solution. Expert organizer Peter Walsh, a speaker at the recent <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/latest/o%20you%21">O You! Conference in Los Angeles</a>, shared with the audience the main types of problem clutterers and what each should do to get organized.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/List-Things-Dispose-24575006">RELATED: One a Day: Throw These 116 Things Away</a></p> <h2>Behind-Closed-Doors Clutterer</h2> <p>Do you go to great lengths to hide your mess from visitors? For example, you stuff all your clutter in your spare bedroom and don't let anyone see it, so they are none the wiser? There are two types of people who do this: perfectionists and people who just don't think it's worth it to be organized. For the perfectionists, they think if they can't do it perfectly, they're not going to do it. The people who don't think it's worth the effort simply don't think it's a priority and it doesn't impact their life in a big way.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: First, &quot;get over yourself!&quot; said the organization expert. Second, get a friend (wine optional) and make decluttering a fun activity. But don't ask someone in the family or who lives in the same house as you to help because that can cause tension, warns Walsh. Make sure you offer to go over to your friend's place the following week to declutter. Third, start small so that it's not overwhelming. Perhaps you can start by clearing out your bedside table or your bag.</p> <h2>Knowledge Clutterer</h2> <p>You have endless piles of magazines, books, and more. Don't beat yourself up over missing out on special tips, because Walsh jokes that there are only three original ideas in the world and magazines print them over and over again. Sooner or later, you'll come across the same information again.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Walsh only keeps two back issues of a magazine, and if he decides to keep a new issue, he will throw away an old one so he will only have two copies of the magazine. As for books, if your shelf is full, make sure every time you buy a book, you give one book away. Decide which ones are important to you and keep those.</p> <h2>Sentimental Clutterer</h2> <p>You are the memory clutterer, and you love to hoard items that remind you of important people, events, or achievements in your past.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Shift your mind-set. Pick three or four treasures &quot;that make your heart sing.&quot; Walsh only kept one thing from his father, his old war medals. Figure out what you want to keep and how to display it in your home. Then take photographs of all the rest and let them go.</p> <h2>Bargain Shopper Clutterer</h2> <p>A steal means something worth buying...right? You're probably a bargain clutterer if you think that way or when your life becomes about the &quot;quantity of stuff versus quality of life.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: The organizer recommends to look at the reasons behind your shopping frenzy &mdash; because there is one. Spend your time in a different and meaningful way such as involving yourself in a charity or taking up a hobby. And live by Walsh's rule: &quot;If price is the best thing about something, you should not buy it.&quot;</p> <p>Living a cluttered life can weigh you down emotionally and cause strife between you and others. Take steps to do away with the mess in your life for good, and not only will your physical surroundings be cleaner, but you will also feel cleaner mentally and emotionally.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Cutting clutter can be easier if you understand why you have so much stuff. Check out this expert advice about the types of clutterers — and cleaning tips for each. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Organized-When-Grocery-Shopping-21843868">How to Stay Organized When&nbsp;Grocery Shopping</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Useful-Cleaning-Products-24479766">9 Cleaning Products Under $35 That Will&nbsp;Change Your Life</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Clothes-Throw-Away-24751582">5 Types of Clothes to Clear From&nbsp;Your Closet</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-types-of-clutterers-which-one-are-you">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-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-now-simple-rules-you-must-follow-to-stay-clutter-free">Declutter Now: Simple Rules You Must Follow to Stay Clutter Free</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/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes</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/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-10-minutes-a-week">How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week</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/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">10 Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization cleaning declutter simplicity Thu, 22 Nov 2012 11:24:04 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 957656 at http://www.wisebread.com Simple-Living Lessons I Learned From "Hoarders" http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/simple-living-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2195176341_558469c3f5_z_0.jpg" alt="clutter" title="clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Give me a strong cup of coffee and a marathon of the TV show &quot;Hoarders,&quot; and I will get my house cleaned. It seems there&rsquo;s nothing quite so motivating as a caffeine-fueled, hoarding-motivated cocktail to whip my house in shape and restore my sense of simplicity and balance.</p> <p>Without making light of the very real journey each of the featured guests are on, there are some quiet truths I always take away from that show. &quot;Hoarders,&quot; and shows like it, are commentaries on American consumerism and reminders (in the extreme) of what&rsquo;s important in life. What follows are a few simple-living lessons I learned from &quot;Hoarders&quot; &mdash; lessons that are timeless and universal; lessons that go well beyond the shock and awe of what viewers see on the show. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a>)</p> <h3>Things Are Only Valuable If They&rsquo;re Used</h3> <p>The value of anything we own lies in the beauty, joy, or usefulness it brings. Though, arguably, hoarders may get some satisfaction out of possessing things, each thing is rendered useless because of the sheer quantity of competing items, their condition, and their inaccessibility. If I have 15 dustpans, how can know where they all are? How can I use each one? Why would I need to? What is an unused dustpan besides conceptual art?</p> <h3>There Is an Inverse Relationship Between Quantity of Things and Joy</h3> <p>This is an important and hard-won lesson. We all need a basic level of material items to live a convenient and comfortable life. But after a certain point, objects crowd us out, require too much maintenance, monopolize our time, and require near-constant labor to pay for. Over time, the chase for newer, better, bigger, different, and more things saps our joy. Recognizing this, simplifying our needs, and embracing our own optimal level of &quot;stuff&quot; is liberating.</p> <h3>Objects Become More Useful When They Are Shared</h3> <p>As mentioned earlier, hoarding objects renders most of them useless. That&rsquo;s because the value of an object typically lies in its utility. Hoarding so much that there&rsquo;s no way to use it all takes the worth out of objects. But putting stashed items we don&rsquo;t or can&rsquo;t use back into the consumer cycle takes them out of the abstract. Isn&rsquo;t it wonderful to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-10-items-to-borrow">give an item to a friend</a>, donate it charity, sell it in a yard sale, or set in on the curb, knowing it will be used? An old lawn mower mows again; a great book has new reader; a rusty bike gets a new lease on life.</p> <h3>Possessions Reflect Our Inner World</h3> <p>Whether we like it or not, the things we choose to surround ourselves with reflect our inner world. Sometimes, it&rsquo;s a literal reflection; sometimes, it&rsquo;s artificial. But things always have way of displaying our priorities, confessing our fears, and betraying our secrets. People who struggle with hoarding are stark examples, but maybe no starker than the rest of us.</p> <h3>It&rsquo;s a Fine Line Between Acceptable and Not-Acceptable Shopping</h3> <p>Our modern consumer world can be a confusing place. Shopping, spending, saving, and storing is beyond a national pastime &mdash; it&rsquo;s downright patriotic. It seems to me that the line between a typical consumer and hoarder is sometimes drawn quite arbitrarily. Maybe hoarding shows strike such a chord with audiences because we all see a bit of ourselves on the screen.</p> <h3>Objects Tend to Distance Us From One Another</h3> <p>Not only is there a declining return on joy once we reach a certain level of material comfort, there&rsquo;s also a decline in intimacy and connectedness to one another. Maybe a bigger house isolates us from our neighbors, the expense of a new car forces us to work 10 hours more per week, or a smartphone kills the family dinner conversation. New toys can be wonderful, but without mindful use, they can intrude upon and interfere with our most important relationships. Watch any random episode of &quot;Hoarders&quot; to see the havoc that unchecked accumulation has on friends and families.</p> <p>My hat goes off to each of guests featured on the show. The lessons they&rsquo;re learning so publicly are lessons we can all take to heart in large and small ways. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">Simplify</a>. Simplify. Simplify.</p> <p><em>Are you a fan of &quot;Hoarders&quot;? How do you react to shows like it and how has it changed your behavior or attitude about what&rsquo;s enough?</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/simple-living-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders">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/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/the-4-types-of-clutterers-which-one-are-you">The 4 Types of Clutterers: Which One Are You?</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/17-things-you-are-missing-out-on-for-spending-too-much">17 Things You Are Missing Out on for Spending Too Much</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-get-junk-gone">5 Ways to Get Junk Gone</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/everyday-noise-the-ignored-pollution">Everyday Noise: The Ignored Pollution?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle declutter hoarding simplicity TV shows Tue, 08 May 2012 10:24:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 927598 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Awesome, Useful Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-awesome-useful-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-94097581_0.jpg" alt="gift" title="gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me, you want to give something <em>useful</em> to the people on your list. Here are my ideas for 25 useful yet awesome gifts for almost anyone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving?ref=seealso">31 Gifts That Keep On Giving</a>)</p> <h2>1. Classes</h2> <p>Research says that we <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">value experiences more than stuff</a> &mdash; why not give an experience that also teaches a lasting skill? From cooking to comedy, knitting to karate, the gift of a class can have long-lasting benefits.</p> <h2>2. Coffee Maker</h2> <p>Even if the person you're shopping for already has a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-coffeemakers">coffee maker</a>, this can still be a great gift. Upgrade their coffee by downgrading their maker from a traditional drip machine to a method that's known for great-tasting coffee, such as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/french-press-coffee">French press</a> or <a href="http://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/">Chemex</a>.</p> <h2>3. Food</h2> <p>Food is delicious and, well, necessary to live. I'd say that makes it useful. Give a gift of something your friend likes but rarely buys for herself, such as a nice jar of olives or mustard.</p> <h2>4. Socks and Underwear</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-160888132-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I know they're often considered synonyms for &quot;boring gift,&quot; but the older I get, the more I appreciate new socks and underwear. I tend to wait a little longer than I should to throw out old socks and underwear, and an influx of new always makes me sort through my drawers and toss the old stuff.</p> <h2>5. Books</h2> <p>This should be pretty self-explanatory. And don't think that books just means new books &mdash; used books can make great gifts too. Look for an old edition of someone's favorite book, or put a few used cookbooks in a gift basket with some...</p> <h2>6. Kitchen Tools</h2> <p>There are tons of useless kitchen devices out there &mdash; you already have a darn quesadilla maker; it's called a pan and spatula. But there are also plenty of useful items that are fun to give and super useful. A few of my favorites include silicone muffin/cupcake wrappers (no more paper to throw away!), bowls with measurements written on them, and the one tool I always have to mention in an article about cooking &mdash; a really <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-chefs-knives">good chef's knife</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-holiday-gifts-for-home-cooks?ref=seealso">20 Great Gifts for Home Cooks</a>)</p> <h2>7. Bath and Body&nbsp;Products</h2> <p>My mom is great with this one. I buy myself soap, obviously&nbsp;(I hope that's obvious &mdash; I swear, I keep clean). But come Christmas, my mom almost always gives me some lovely, organic soaps in my favorite scents like mint.</p> <h2>8. A Magazine Subscription</h2> <p>&quot;A gift that keeps on giving&quot; is a tired cliche, but it's true when it comes to magazines. Which, incidentally, can be found for crazy cheap rates. Check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bestdeals">daily deals</a>, which frequently feature magazine subscriptions as low as $4 for a full year.</p> <h2>9. A Haircut</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-hair-4277210-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I really appreciate a decent haircut, especially as a curly haired lady. But I don't go to salons frequently because they can be darn expensive. A gift certificate to a salon &mdash; or even an actual haircut if you're deft with scissors &mdash; is an indulgent, useful gift that can boost self-esteem.</p> <h2>10. Paying Regular Bills</h2> <p>There are many regular services that we have to go out of our way to deal with &mdash; it's annoying that we have to pay for them too. If you're a parent feeling generous with your cash-strapped college kid, this could take the form of paying for your child's phone bill for a month. Or go the extra step and not only pay for an oil change, but actually take your friend's car to the lube joint.</p> <h2>11. Music</h2> <p>Whether it's &quot;old-fashioned&quot; CDs, an iTunes gift card, a <a href="http://www.spotify.com">Spotify</a> Premium account, or something else, music is a gift people can enjoy over and over.</p> <h2>12. Plants</h2> <p>They look nice, they <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">keep the air fresh</a>, and depending on what you get, they can even provide food. Hearty herbs like chives or an aloe plant are always good bets.</p> <h2>13. Babysitting</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-kid-brother-4312325-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Help out parents by offering yourself for babysitting, or ask your favorite babysitter if she'd be willing to provide a voucher for childcare.</p> <h2>14. Organization Tools</h2> <p>It's true &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">stuff won't make you organized</a>.&nbsp;But it can help. Thrifted baskets, vintage Tupperware, and similar items can make cute, useful gifts...as long as you aren't trying to passive-aggressively suggest that your friend is too messy.</p> <h2>15.&nbsp;Placemats and Other Kitchen Linens</h2> <p>Like with bath and body supplies, this is another area where I find that frugal people often don't want to spend money on themselves. Pretty, colorful floursack towels, a tablecloth, or placemats are useful and can help brighten up a kitchen.</p> <h2>16. Athletic Supplies</h2> <p>Foster a love of fitness with a bicycle, skates, a baseball glove, a pedometer, or even something as simple as a Frisbee.</p> <h2>17. A Camera</h2> <p>I know many of us have cameras on our phones. But for those who don't &mdash; or who value photography beyond what a phone can do &mdash; a camera is a great gift. It provides a hobby and a way to remember great experiences. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-dslr-cameras?ref=seealso">The 5 Best DSLR Cameras</a>)</p> <h2>18. Photos and Frames</h2> <p>Every time I want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">display a photo</a>,&nbsp;I'm shocked by how expensive frames are. Photos of loved ones set in a nice frame is a great gift.</p> <h2>19. Hobby Supplies</h2> <p>These can be for an existing hobby or a hobby a person might want to start. If you have a skill like knitting or cooking, you can bundle together a couple of supplies with an expert lesson from you. It's a great gift and an excuse to hang out.</p> <h2>20. Cleaning</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-cleaning-3735519-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I know about two people who really <em>like</em> to clean. For everyone else, having someone else clean their house &mdash; or even just one room &mdash; is a great gift.</p> <h2>21. Clothes</h2> <p>Hopefully I don't need to tell you that clothes are useful &mdash; even if you don't like them, you have to go out in public <em>sometimes</em>. If you know your giftee well enough to buy something they'd actually wear, this can be a great route.</p> <h2>22. A Nice&nbsp;Glass</h2> <p>If you know someone who enjoys a particular drink, your first thought might be to get them a bottle. But giving them one or two nice glasses appropriate to the beverage is another way to support their interest. This gift isn't just for people who like wine or spirits, either &mdash; Beer Advocate has a nice breakdown of <a href="http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/glassware">glassware for beer</a>.</p> <h2>23. Coasters</h2> <p>Speaking of those glasses...keep someone's furniture safe from that glassware with fun, functional coasters. There are tons of coasters you can make, including <a href="http://diybydesign.blogspot.com/2012/03/tumbled-marble-coasters-tutorial.html">tumbled marble coasters</a> and these <a href="http://www.bethanyreynolds.com/coasters.html">coasters that fit on wine glasses</a>.</p> <h2>24. Tools</h2> <p>Fuel a (metaphorical) DIY&nbsp;fire with tools. If your child has just moved into his first apartment, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">starter toolbox</a> is great (and you might be able to get everything you need for one by hitting a few estate sales). For homeowners who like to take remodeling into their own hands, look to tools that they'd use often enough to justify owning them instead of just renting or borrowing.</p> <h2>25. Money Towards Something</h2> <p>Money is always useful. It can be fun if you attach it a specific purpose &mdash; a fun goal that your giftee is trying to reach, whether it's a trip, a down payment on a house, or even just dinner at a nice restaurant.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite useful gifts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">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/gift-giving-hacks-that-will-save-your-money-and-your-sanity">Gift Giving Hacks That Will Save Your Money and Your Sanity</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/9-thrifty-meaningful-gifts-for-mom">9 Thrifty, Meaningful Gifts for Mom</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/almost-50-unique-housewarming-gifts-for-less-than-20">Almost 50 Unique Housewarming Gifts for Less Than $20</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/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-benefits-of-diy">The Many Benefits of DIY</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Shopping affordable gifts hobbies simplicity tools Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Meg Favreau 911560 at http://www.wisebread.com What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Living Frugally http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebread_whatIwishIhadknown.jpg" alt="Magic 8 Ball" title="Magic 8 Ball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been a fairly frugal person. I didn&rsquo;t decide to be frugal one day or make a resolution on January 1 of any particular year. Evolving in the &quot;frugal arts&quot; has been more a path of gentle reminders and little lessons that have kept me on the straight and narrow. But early on, there was so much I didn&rsquo;t know. As a younger person in my early twenties, frugality was a guiding, albeit much grayer concept, and I had no idea of the wide network of people who were following a similar path and having similar struggles.</p> <p>If I could speak one-on-one to that fresh-faced 22-year-old just out of college, there&rsquo;d be a few pieces of advice I&rsquo;d give on the topic of frugal living &mdash; advice that might have saved him some stress, confusion, and money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When&nbsp;Starting to Live Frugally</a>)</p> <h3>It Gets Easier</h3> <p>Frugality is a skill. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Eventually, whole categories of expenses will buckle and fall to your instant and flawless number-crunching. Meanwhile, enjoy the small pleasures and keep your eye on the prize.</p> <h3>It&rsquo;s Not Necessarily How Much You Make; It&rsquo;s How Much You Save</h3> <p>Our society puts so much emphasis on making money and very little on saving it. Most people think the path out of money problems or the road to a more secure financial future is paved with higher-paying jobs. While there&rsquo;s certainly nothing wrong with career advancement, without the fundamental skills on how to manage it, more money often means just more spending and bigger debt. But even with a very modest income, amazing feats of savings can be achieved with the right mindset and discipline. In short, never be fooled into thinking that you make too little to save, and never be lulled into believing that you make so much that you can catch up later.</p> <h3>Frugality Is Even More Important Than You Think It Is</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dreams-you-wont-achieve-unless-you-live-below-your-means">Living within your means</a>, living simply, and saving for goals and for retirement are important in ways you can&rsquo;t even conceive of yet. As you get older, you&rsquo;ll thank yourself for saving early, avoiding debt, and letting the magic of compounding interest do much of work for you. Though money isn&rsquo;t everything, being on the wrong side of 40 is just a little bit &ldquo;righter&rdquo; when you have a firm grasp on the financial fundamentals.</p> <h3>There Are Young People Just Like You; You&rsquo;re Part of a Movement</h3> <p>Though the idea of frugality may, at times, feel like the quaint sport of an older generation, take comfort &mdash; you&rsquo;re not alone. In about ten years everyone will be connected via a network of personal computers, and you&rsquo;ll see on a global level just how many folks are spurning over-consumption, living simply, and talking and writing about frugality. Stay tuned.</p> <h3>Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability Are All Petals on the Same Flower</h3> <p>It sometimes takes years to reach a vantage point where you can see how ideas are connected. Though they sometimes seem abstract, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">frugality, simplicity, and living sustainably</a> are all part of the same idea. It&rsquo;s nearly impossible to live a truly frugal life without simplifying and being mindful of the environment and sustainability concerns. As you grow into your lifestyle and connect with others, you&rsquo;ll finally begin to see just how cohesive all of your disparate interests actually are.</p> <h3>Oh...and There&rsquo;s a Big Recession Coming</h3> <p>Crystal ball time &mdash; in about 20 years, through a series of global financial missteps, the whole economic house of cards will tumble. Small successes now and larger lessons later will inform how prepared you are and how much of a personal adjustment you&rsquo;ll have to make in response to some serious new economic realities. (Meanwhile, don&rsquo;t invest in anything called &quot;OTC derivatives.&quot;)</p> <p>Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Whatever lessons I&rsquo;ve managed to learn so-far have come at the right time and in largely the right way. I wonder though, if I were to have a similar conversation with myself 20 years from now, what would my 65-year-old self have to say?</p> <p><em>What do you wish you had known when you started on your frugal path? What&rsquo;s the most valuable thing that frugal newbies should know?&nbsp;</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/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally">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-6"> <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/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</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/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance">Youth and Money: Finding the Frugal Balance</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-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders">Simple-Living Lessons I Learned From &quot;Hoarders&quot;</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/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living">A Beginner’s Guide to Frugal Living</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 beginning frugality community savings account simplicity Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:24:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 909695 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Principles for a Seismic Economy http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-principles-for-a-seismic-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-principles-for-a-seismic-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadseismic.jpg" alt="Achieving Balance" title="Achieving Balance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The financial meltdown of the past three years begs for a new approach to money management and a reinvention of personal employment. The forces and broader systems that affect our economic lives are unpredictable and to large extent, not fully understood. How can average folks survive and thrive in the midst of what appears to be a sea change in our economic reality? How do we move away from a reactive &lsquo;duck and cover&rsquo; response toward true empowerment? The 5 principles I embrace are old ones, slightly modified for the realities of an unstable job market and tightly interwoven national economies. They hearken back to other times when the future was clouded by uncertainty and life demanded a more active and nimble financial response:</p> <h2>1. Scalability</h2> <p>An uncertain financial horizon should inspire flexibility and mobility. So often I see young people embracing debt loads when times are good only to find themselves over-leveraged and in default when times turn rough. I&rsquo;m tempted to admire the optimism in assuming salaries will only increase and careers will progress without interruption, but can&rsquo;t recommend it as a sound financial strategy. Reasonably expanding your lifestyle during boom times should be tempered by the ability to easily contract it during lean times. This means keeping luxuries, luxuries&hellip;avoiding the temptation to turn them into a fixed overhead expense. Debts should be kept to a manageable level &mdash; at your full income or at half your income.</p> <h2>2. Vigilance</h2> <p>The days of choosing your 401(k) funds and then letting them ride for the next decade are over. It&rsquo;s essential to actively manage all assets, keeping an eye on what&rsquo;s working and not being afraid to make changes based upon information and reasonable analysis. The market will probably take care of itself in the long run, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you need to take every hit because someone told you &ldquo;you&rsquo;re a long-term investor; don&rsquo;t worry about it.&rdquo; Huge spikes and deep dives in market activity should rightly warrant our attention. There&rsquo;s real validity in seeking financial safe havens during protracted times of market chaos.</p> <h2>3. Stay-Grading</h2> <p>Learning to be satisfied with a reasonable pace of progress is the hardest lesson for most of us to learn. We&rsquo;re barraged with messages that promote upsizing and upgrading everything from our cars to our closets. If only we could so confidently and precisely predict the upgrading of our income. So, relax&hellip;arguably the greatest luxury is avoiding the sales pitch and its inevitable contract and debt load. Learn to embrace a novel concept that I like to call &ldquo;stay-grading.&rdquo; Reconsider that &lsquo;starter&rsquo; home &mdash; maybe it can be your &lsquo;finisher&rsquo; home too. Learn to love that white fridge &mdash; stainless steel just shows finger prints easier.</p> <h2>4. Broad-Sourcing</h2> <p>The US Department of Labor estimates that today&rsquo;s student will have an average of 10-14 jobs by age 38. Some of those positions will be left voluntarily, some through down-sizing, out-sourcing, acquisitions, and contract-terminations. With few exceptions, lifetime stable employment is a relic of a different era. Isn&rsquo;t it time we diversified our income stream like we diversify our investments? The reality of the employment landscape seems to compel us toward &lsquo;broad-sourcing&rsquo; our incomes. Perhaps it could look like this: a primary job that supplies 65% of our income supplemented by two or three secondary positions that contribute the other 35%. Our employment energies could be divided and redirected where needed. We could respond to lay-offs and furloughs with less stress; we could see which piece of our &ldquo;mini-conglomerate&rdquo; has the most potential for personal joy and economic growth.</p> <h2>5. Independence</h2> <p>Dependence is a marketing strategy. The more we allow companies to suggest a void that they charge to fill, the more we concede our independence. Reclaim skills that have been eroded by services and convenience. Once upon a time, people washed their own cars, cooked their own food and managed (more or less) to keep themselves entertained. Not every activity in life needs to have a consumer exchange attached to it. Let&rsquo;s resurrect bartering. Let&rsquo;s embrace the concepts of &lsquo;free&rsquo; and, &lsquo;I did it myself.&rsquo;</p> <p>All is not doom-and-gloom, but if nothing else, the past few years of economic upheaval should sound an alarm that the old ways of earn-and-spend demand a critical review. When global economies are built on shaky foundations and questionable fiscal regulation, our response must be more deliberate, more proactive and frankly &mdash; smarter. New economic conditions call for new principles and a rethinking of old habits that were better suited for a different era. Let&rsquo;s challenge ourselves to pioneer a strong, responsive and fiscally healthier ideal for the decades ahead.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-principles-for-a-seismic-economy">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/how-long-can-you-really-live-on-unemployment">How Long Can You Really Live on Unemployment?</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/5-things-you-must-do-before-you-quit-your-job">5 Things You Must Do Before You Quit Your Job</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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</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/how-to-get-rich-by-being-evil">How to get rich by being evil</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/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income financial security simplicity Tue, 06 Jul 2010 14:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 163572 at http://www.wisebread.com Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wabisabisimplecover2.jpg" alt="Cover of Wabi Sabi Simple" title="Cover of Wabi Sabi Simple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="164" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593371780?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1593371780"><cite>Wabi Sabi Simple: Create beauty. Value imperfection. Live deeply.</cite></a> By Richard R. Powell.</p> <p>Is there an intersection between living large and simple living? I think so. To me, living large is not about having more stuff or more expensive stuff, it's about living my life exactly as I choose, without being constrained by what my boss wants me to do, what the neighbors think, or what my creditors will allow. It's about the breadth and width of my life, not about how high I can pile up stuff. If that is how you want to live large, you'll find a lot of inspiration in Richard R. Powell's book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593371780?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1593371780"><em>Wabi Sabi Simple</em></a>.</p> <p>Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term for a concept that is fundamentally Japanese, but that will also resonate with people from any culture. The term, Powell explains, comes from two Japanese words:</p> <ul> <li>wabi means poverty--but poverty of the genteel sort where you have everything you need, even if you don't have everything you want.</li> <li>sabi is a technical literary term used to describe a certain kind of melancholy feel such as evoked by images of nature, rural scenes, and autumn.</li> </ul> <p>Together, though, they describe a certain kind of simplicity:</p> <blockquote><p>It is about respectful conversation, harmonious and peaceful dwellings, and modest behavior. It is ordered but not orderly, planned but not scheduled, simple but not simple-minded, and deliberate without being rigid.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is a book that speaks to me. It finds words to describe many of the pieces that go together to make a life that is filled with both ease and meaning:</p> <blockquote><p>Filling life with wabi sabi might be as simple as emptying it of clutter. Wabi sabi cannot be contained in anything square, boxy, or bright, nor can it ever be modular. Quality control kills it, and uniformity negates it. It has to be authentic, genuine, and natural. It perishes under refinement, and sameness wilts it.... Having lots of wabi sabi is a contradiction.</p> </blockquote> <p>And they are beautiful words:</p> <blockquote><p>A friend and I kayaked on a July evening across Northumberland Channel to De Courcy Island just before sunset. The warm golden glow of the sun, low near the horizon, cast elongated shadows along the curving surfaces of the island's weathered sandstone cliffs. A bald eagle soared along the fir- and arbutus- covered ridge at the top of the bluff. We paddled slowly around each bend of the island's varied coastline and craned our necks to look up at the sculpted cookie dough shapes. When we pulled the craft in close, mottled rock, twisted trees, and barnacle-covered stones radiated the day's heat toward us, mirroring the warmth we felt at being there.</p> </blockquote> <p>The book is not a how-to manual. It is an explanation of what wabi sabi is (and what it is not) with some illustrations of how simplicity enriches your life--at home, with your friends, at work. Implicit in the book is the notion that, if you understand simplicity, you don't need someone to tell you how to achieve it or how to apply its lessons to your life. Once you understand you won't need instruction or exhortation--you'll just see that simple living is better. This makes it an easy book to read. The author isn't trying to convince you of anything or talk you into anything. He's just showing you some things that he has found to be true and meaningful.</p> <p>I'm all about simple living. To me, frugal living is a means to an end; when I have to choose between frugality and simplicity, I'll go with simplicity if I can possibly afford it. (Fortunately, simplicity often leads to reasonably frugal choices even when it doesn't lead to the most frugal choices.) If you have any interest in simplicity as a lifestyle choice--whether you're already living simply or not--you'll find much to enjoy and much to think about in Richard R. Powell's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593371780?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1593371780"><em>Wabi Sabi Simple</em></a>.</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/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">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-7"> <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-the-happy-minimalist">Book Review: The Happy Minimalist</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/book-review-happier">Book review: Happier</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/book-review-your-money-or-your-life">Book review: Your Money or Your Life</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-work-less-live-more">Book review: Work Less, Live More</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-the-little-book-of-common-sense-investing">Book review: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle book review book reviews books poverty review simple living simplicity voluntary simplicity wabi sabi Tue, 24 Feb 2009 19:16:44 +0000 Philip Brewer 2868 at http://www.wisebread.com Simplicity and being cheap http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/simplicity-and-being-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sundial-with-flowers_0.jpg" alt="Sundial with flowers" title="Sundial with Flowers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People might look at how I spend money and say I&#39;m cheap or a tightwad.  If they do, though, they&#39;re missing the point.  The fact is, I&#39;m much more interested in simplicity than I am in saving money.  In many cases, it works out about the same:  The simple choice is often frugal.  The cheapest choice, though, is often not the simple one.</p> <p>I advocate frugality on the grounds that it offers freedom.  If you spend less, you don&#39;t have to earn as much, which gives you more choices as to how you earn your money.  You can also save more, which means that you can accumulate capital--and <a href="/join-the-rentier-class">having capital</a> adds to your freedom in several ways.</p> <p>When you think about it, though, simplicity also offers freedom.  The less stuff you own, the less stuff you need to store, insure, maintain, and keep track of.  The less of your time is committed to keeping your complex life running smoothly, the more is available for whatever you want to do--and to my mind, that&#39;s the very definition of freedom.</p> <p>I keep my investments simple.  I don&#39;t own any municipal bonds, I&#39;m not the beneficiary of any trusts, I&#39;m not in any limited partnerships, I don&#39;t trade options.  There&#39;s nothing wrong with any of those investments--they offer tax advantages or let you hedge your other investments, protecting your upside while limiting your downside risk.  But they&#39;re not simple.  They all require careful research before you buy them, they all take extra work at tax time, and several of them need to be monitored on an on-going basis, because they have things like expiration dates attached.</p> <p>My money is in a diversified portfolio of low-cost mutual funds, together with a few stocks I like, some Treasury bonds, a bank CD, plus an emergency fund with some cash in it.  I suspect that the total return will match the total return of a much more complex portfolio--but even if it doesn&#39;t, whatever I might lose in return I more than make up for in simplicity.</p> <p>I rent, rather than owning a house.  This is the frugal choice.  (I don&#39;t have to pay to maintain or insure the structure, plus the heat, water, sewer, garbage, and cable service are included in my rent.)  But it&#39;s also the simple choice--I don&#39;t have to call electricians, plumbers, or handypersons.  I also don&#39;t have to spend my time on home maintenance.  I don&#39;t have to mow my lawn.  I do give up some privacy and some control, but I make it back in simplicity.</p> <p>Of course, sometimes, the complexity is part of the goal.  <ul> <li>A garden is more complex than a lawn.  The fresh vegetables are nice, but I think most people who grow gardens do it because they enjoy the planning and digging and harvesting. </li> <li>Sewing your own clothing is more complex than buying ready-made.  Well-made items that fit and match your style are nice, but I think most people who sew do it because they enjoy working with fabric.</li> <li>Keeping a pet purely complicates your life.  People say they keep pets for the companionship, but they don&#39;t mean that there&#39;s an exchange--the owner provides food, water, care, and attention and the pet repays them with companionship.  Rather, the time and attention that you lavish on a pet is what the companionship is made of.</li> <li>And, of course, nothing adds complexity to your life the way a new intimate relationship does, and here, too, the rewards are all wrapped up in the complexity. </li> </ul> <p>To me, this is the point of a simple life.  The less time and attention I spend managing the dull, tedious, stressful, or unpleasant complexities of my life, the more time and attention I have available for the wonderful and rewarding complexities.</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/simplicity-and-being-cheap">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/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-from-my-frugal-father">Lessons From My Frugal Father</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-tell-the-difference-between-being-frugal-and-being-cheap">12 Ways to Tell the Difference Between Being Frugal and Being Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle cheap frugality simple living simplicity tightwad Sat, 02 Aug 2008 16:40:29 +0000 Philip Brewer 2289 at http://www.wisebread.com