We, as Americans, caught up in materialism and the rat race, move at an amazing speed. No time for anything but making the almighty dollar. No time to stop and smell the roses. What good is making money and being busy, if we can’t enjoy our lives? How long can we last at this pace? Stress is at an all-time high, projected in health problems and strain on the family unit itself through divorce and problems with our children.
There are some things you can do to slow down the pace. Here are some ways you can simplify your life, thus contributing to the holistic health of yourself and your family. Take a deep breath. Look around you. Take inventory of your life, your home, your thoughts, dreams, goals, and priorities.
Cut out what is not absolutely necessary, with the exception of things that you absolutely love. For instance, if you love dancing or playing in your band, then don’t cut that out, because it may be one of your biggest stress reducers. However, just like everything, there is a time and place, so if this hobby that you love is totally consuming your life, it has to be cut back some.
Live below your means. Live simply, not extravagantly, which will get you into debt and keep you working day and night to pay your bills. Then you wouldn’t even have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Before you buy something, ask yourself, “Is this absolutely necessary?”
Stay out of debt. Sure we all have mortgages and probably a vehicle note or two, but that should be all of the debt you owe if possible, and when that is the case, work at paying these off too, one at a time. As a matter of fact, working towards of goal of becoming debt-free is a major part of simplifying. Once you are debt-free it will feel as if the weight of the world is off your shoulders. If you have two vehicles, ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary. You may be working just to pay the note and upkeep on the second vehicle.
Write down your debts, loans and credit cards, etc. from smallest to largest debt owed. Then work at paying one off at a time, starting from the smallest one. Double up on the payments if possible. Once you have paid off one, take the money you would have put towards that debt and apply it to the next debt you are trying to pay off, and so on and so forth. Soon you will be debt-free and on the road to simplicity.
Try not to run to the doctor for every little thing. Medical bills can be very costly. Keep teeth clean and healthy by brushing three times a day and flossing. Hopefully an annual checkup or biannual is all your family will need.
Can you work from home? This would save gasoline and wear and tear on the vehicle and may eliminate the need for a second vehicle at all. Plus you have the benefits of being around the house and kids more, which is always a plus. More home-cooked meals perhaps, cleaning kept up and time with the kids, for staying close and helping with homework, etc.
This is a good time to eliminate clutter. Less to dust and keeps costs down.
Cook from scratch. Prepackaged and pre-prepared stuff always costs a lot more and serves a lot less, which is a waste. Bake your own cookies and bread.
Cut down on energy costs. Turn out unneeded fans, lights, TVs, radios; turn down air conditioning and heating. It’s amazing how many people want to turn the AC up to arctic but cover it with two blankets because it’s cold or turn the heat up so high but want to sleep in the buff. Make your home energy efficient. Use lower wattage bulbs, use sunlight.
Conserve water, limit bathing( I don’t mean don’t bathe, but some people shower in the morning and bathe in the evening, or vice versa and take unusually long baths and showers.)_ Limit cleaning and laundry, wear clothes more than once. Use cold water whenever possible. Go to bed early. This gives us more much-needed sleep and saves on electricity.
Keep home practical and quaint. Who needs wasted extravagance? Remember, always ask, “Is it absolutely necessary?”
Go to garage sales. You will be surprised by the gems you can find and save a lot of money. Also, try to have your own garage sale once a year. This eliminates clutter and earns you a little extra.
Make your own gifts; they’re much more personal and less expensive.
Stay healthy to cut down on medical and dental costs.
Recycle. Benefits are self explanatory.
Share chores, this will cut down on stress and make things go faster, taking less time, which means more time for togetherness and fun.
Getaway, get back to nature and enjoy old fashioned fun. You don’t have to spend 40 dollars to take your family to the movies and get treats. Have a picnic, go on a nature walk, or to the beach, play a game of frisbee or baseball with the family.
Grow your own produce. This will save money and be more nutritious.
Stop and smell the roses. Don’t join everything in town and at school. You and your family don’t have to be in every social event in the community. You don’t have to keep up with the Jones. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. Be honest, have fun with your family, love others, and your life will be wonderful, simple, but wonderful.