Have the demands of your life and finances become overwhelming? Do you need to simplify your life so it's not so hectic? These are problems that most of us face at one time or another. The quickening pace of modern society can easily overtake your time, your money, and ultimately your happiness if you let them.
If you’ve gotten to the point that you’re so stressed physically, mentally, and spiritually because of all that’s required of you, then you might want to take the time to step back and reevaluate your way of life.
One of the best techniques I’ve found for reducing stress in all areas of my life is to learn to simplify.
I’ll also include links to valuable resources that can help you simplify your life and achieve all the great things mentioned above.
What It Means To Simplify
But first, what does it really mean to simplify your life? To me, simplifying means cutting things down to their simplest element. Sometimes that may mean completely getting rid of something that’s causing you stress (such as debt), or cutting an item down to a more manageable level. Sometimes it might even mean adding something, such as a new habit, that ultimately allows you to live a simpler, less stressful life so you can focus on what really matters.
2 Steps to Get Started
There are two things you can do to get started simplifying your life and spending less:
- Figure out the 4 or 5 things that are most important to you, and write them down (i.e. more time with family, less stress, etc.)
- Change everything else to revolve around making those important things a high priority.
18 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Spend Less
Now let’s explore the 18 ways I use and recommend to simplify your life and spend less (feel free to add your own suggestions by leaving a comment at the end).
Realize That You Are Important
You can’t function at a high level for others if you don’t take the time to care for yourself. Spend time praying, exercising, eating right, and relaxing. Make these habits as regular and non-negotiable as eating and taking a shower.
Put down the cell phone. If you are spending time with people who are important to you, turn off the phone so you can be fully present and your loved ones can fully enjoy your time together without distractions. It’s also wise to turn the phone off at bedtime and/or put it in another room where you’re not tempted to use it.
Take Time To Be Alone
Alone time helps you more clearly hear that inner voice that is so easily drowned out by constant activity and communication.
Get Out of Debt
Ok, surely you knew I would include this one! Let’s face it, debt causes stress and lack of freedom in your life. Simplify your finances by making a plan to get out of debt and stay that way. Here are my best resources to get you started:
Learn To Be Frugal
Find ways to spend less and be conservative with your money. You don’t need all the latest gadgets, cars, and name brands. Find the best deals, buy used things, and use them until they wear out. Using coupons is a good way to get started spending less.
Learn To Say “NO”
It’s ok to say “no” when someone asks you to volunteer your time, money, or energy. You can tell them you have a prior commitment if you need to. That’s not a lie, because your prior commitment is “you”. I absolutely believe you should volunteer and give of yourself, but if you wear yourself to a frazzle doing it, you’re not doing anyone any favors.
Declutter Your Home-
Get rid of all the junk you never use. You can sell it online or donate it for a tax write-off. The less junk you have in the space where you live helps to maintain a cleaner home, and helps to simplify the huge amount of visual noise that comes with having so much unnecessary junk around you.
Spend Time With Those You Love
It’s so easy to let the busyness of life take up so much time that you fail to maintain those close relationships that ease your soul. Eliminate unnecessary busyness from your life and spend more quality time with those that matter.
Have An Emergency Fund
One of the best things you can do financially. When you have an emergency fund in place, you will have less stress when an emergency happens because you won’t be tempted to go into debt to pay for it. When you are financially prepared for an emergency, you have more peace of mind.
Do one thing at a time, and do it well. Studies show that multitasking causes you to have more stress and to be less effective at the tasks you are performing. Simplify by single tasking, which allows you to do everything at a higher level with less overall stress.
Eliminating credit cards and using cash to finance your life keeps you from spending more than you make. You’ll have less bills, less debt, and more control over your money, which leads to less stress.
Take a Sabbath Day
Even God rested on the seventh day! Take one day a week to do no work whatsoever. Spend time with family, worship, read a book, and just relax. I’ll admit, I’ve had trouble with this one in the past.
Automate Your Saving
Have a percentage of your paycheck automatically deducted and sent to your 401k, IRA, or other investment account. You don’t have to fret every pay period about whether or not to send money to savings. When it’s automatically deducted, you really don’t miss the money, and it can grow into a huge nest egg over time.
Spend Less Time With Needy People
You know the ones I’m talking about. Those people who always have drama, the “Negative Nellies”, the complainers, the ones who suck you dry emotionally. The less time you spend with these people the better.
Don’t Overcommit Your Kids
Your kids will still have a wonderful childhood if they don’t have 8 or 10 different scheduled activities every week. Slow down, eat dinner at home more often, and allow them to be involved with a few of their favorite activities. Remember, extremely busy kids equals overcommitted parents.
Make a Budget
I stress this every chance I get. Have the right plan in place for your money, and you will never spend more than you make.
Get Rid of the “More is Better” Mindset
Learn to resist the idea that having more stuff will enhance your life. Marketers pound this into your subconscious thousands of times every day. Realize that simplicity breeds less stress and more contentment in life.
Cure The Symptoms of “Too Much”
There are so many options available to us in these busy times that can sap your time, money, and ultimately your happiness. So how do you cure the symptoms of “too much”?
You learn to take a step back, reevaluate every aspect of your life, and make positive changes that allow you to simplify your life, spend less, and finally shed some of that stress and overwhelm that creep up so easily when we take on too much.
You can do this, just be intentional, keep working at it, and you will eventually see incredible results!
Question: Do you have any more suggestions on how to simplify your life and spend less? Leave a comment and tell me your best tip!