16 Actions To Take Today To Live A Simple Life

Live A Simple Life

To live a simple life sounds great in theory, but what is a simple life?

Each person's idea of living a simple life is different. What is considered simple living by one person could be vastly different from another.

Living a simple life is a way to stop worrying about what you do not have while appreciating and enjoying everything you do have, including things that may seem trivial to others.

These sixteen steps will guide you in your quest for living a simple life, or to simplify the life you currently have, which when taken, will form the foundation of how you choose to live.

1) De-stress By Putting Your Phone Away


No doubt about it, technology is great.

We have gone from sharing one phone in the house to each person having their own. There is no longer a need to shout ‘Dinner’s ready!’ from the kitchen. A group message can be sent to all from your smartphone.

There is also no need to answer every call, text, email or social media message as soon as you get them. The world would still spin on its axis if you took a couple of hours to respond.

So, how can we lead a simpler technological life?

Here are four things you can do today:
1. Put your phone on silent when having lunch at work
2. Have a no-technology rule at home during dinner
3. Leave your phone at home when grocery shopping
4. Have your charger on the kitchen bench top and charge your phone there at night

2) Reduce Expenditure


For the smokers and coffee drinkers reading this, I am not referring to the amount spent on these things, although when you add up how much is spent in a year, it would certainly make you think long and hard about continuing with the habit.

We spend money on things like cable TV, repaying credit card debt, car loans, eating out, getting laundry done, cleaners, gardeners, cable, the internet, home phone, mobile phones, and taxis.

Now I’m not sure about you, but for me, there is nothing really in my life I want to get rid of completely. At the same time I would like to spend less on a monthly basis. I want to have a cleaner, gardener, home phone, the internet and mobile phone. So how can I have all this but spend less?

It’s quite simple - renegotiate rates and consider changing plans to bring costs down

3) Speak To Your Phone Provider


Talk to your home phone and internet provider so that they can put you on a different plan.

Here are some questions to ask your phone and internet provider:
1. Is there a way I can reduce my monthly phone and internet bill?
2. Are local and national calls to mobiles and landlines included in the new plan?
3. Are there any numbers I would have to pay to call, like 1300 numbers, as part of this plan?

Plans get updated by phone companies regularly. It’s worthwhile ringing them to see if there is a cheaper plan you can switch to that would give you the same features as you already have for less.

For your mobile phone do the following:

1. Ring your service provider’s customer care department. Their number is pre-programmed into your phone’s contact list

2. Tell them you would like to switch from being on a contract to a month-to-month plan

3. If you are still on a contract, ask if they would be willing to move you to a month-to-month contract if you stay with them


If you do not get the response you want the first time, do not get discouraged. Leave it a few weeks or months and try again. Alternatively, switch providers as soon as you are able to if you get a better deal somewhere else.

4) Own Your Hardware Outright


Being on a contract usually, means you are paying off the purchase of your phone in instalments. The cost of the phone could end up being far higher than if you had bought the phone outright in the first place.

Look to buy your mobile phone outright, even if it means having an older model, a second tier brand or a hand me down phone from someone who has upgraded theirs.

1. If you choose to buy a phone outright, set a limit on how much you want to spend
2. List all the features you want the phone to have
3. Go to your local electronics store, find one that matches your criteria best and buy it

5) Keep The House Clean For Less


Not many people like chores and will happily pay for someone else to do it. If you use a cleaning company, there are things you can do to reduce the cost of this expense.

1. Have the cleaner come less frequently – go from once a week to once every two weeks
2. Ask your cleaner to quote for an hourly rate rather than a fixed price
3. Have the cleaner clean for no more than two hours each visit
4. Find a self-employed cleaner rather than a company – they are usually cheaper to use

The same process can be used for gardeners as well.

6) Wash And Iron Your Own Shirts


Wash, dry and iron your own shirts. Most washing machines and dryers have a delicate cycle - use this instead of sending your shirts out to be cleaned.

1. Locate the delicate or hand wash cycle on your washing machine
2. After washing your clothes, put them in the dryer on a low temperature setting
3. Remove from dryer while still a little damp
4. Iron immediately

7) Shave Dollars Off Your Monthly Debt Repayment


Consider consolidating all your consumer debt into one. This would result in lower monthly repayments.

While you’re at it, ring your current mortgage provider and ask what can be done to reduce monthly mortgage payments. It’s surprising how much you can shave off monthly expenses by working with finance companies.

Savings gained here add up to large savings through the life of the debt.

Before doing this, talk to a Finacial Adviser to make sure this is the best course of action to take in your situation.

8) An Easier Way To Watch Calorie Intake


Eating out regularly can add up quickly. With some planning, this cost can be reduced drastically.

Plan all meals for the week and I mean all meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Take lunches to work and thaw out frozen dinners in the microwave.

Cooking does take time, so set aside some time, before putting on an apron to protect your clothes from the splattering of food while cooking, to go shopping for ingredients.

Here is one way to put together a shopping list:
1. Write out on a sheet of paper all the ingredients needed to prepare each meal
2. Cross off the ingredients you already have in the pantry
3. Items not crossed off the list becomes your shopping list for the week

Put meals in the freezer, so you know you always have food to eat through the week. Go one step further and label each meal with the day of the week it is to be eaten.

9) Stop And Smell The Roses


One way to start leading a simpler life is to live in the present.

To do this, don’t dwell on what has already happened or what is about to happen, and start to take note of what is taking place around you - enjoy it and participate in it.

Taking note of what our senses - we use our ears to hear, eyes to see, nose to smell, skin to feel and our tongue to taste - are telling us is one way we can live in the present.

10) Give Your Undivided Attention


The simple act of listening to people and conversing with them allows you to connect with each other.

As humans, we have a primal need to have interaction with others.

The easiest way to do this is to ask questions when someone is speaking to you. This shows them you are interested and are actively listening to what they are saying.

11) Connect With Your Senses


Observe what is happening around you.

Take note of the kindness we show each other on a daily basis, such as the driver who safely stops the car for someone to cross. Notice and acknowledge someone letting others go ahead of them in a queue or helping to lift a stroller up some steps.

In spring, walk along your street and take in the various scents from flowers coming into bloom. In autumn, observe the different shades of brown leaves on the ground and if they are dry, listen to the crunching sound they make as you step on them.

Enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin on a cold winter’s day.

Spend time with those you care about, ask what the best thing about their day was, look for simple meals to cook together and enjoy the different flavours in the meal.

Simply put, enjoy the here and now!

Never overlook lighting when designing a kitchen. It is best to have too much lighting rather than not enough.

Other than needing to see when cooking to ensuring meals look appealing before serving, we need good lighting in kitchens to read recipes, the back of packets, cooking instructions and food labels.

Good lighting is also required when handling gadgets used in making meals. Using a sharp knife when there is poor lighting is not recommended.

Not getting these areas right can lead to years of frustration in the kitchen and ultimately another reason to redesign your kitchen sooner than you would like.

12) Change Your Environment


A change is as good as a rest, or so the saying goes.

We all lead lives that just get busier and busier.

Cars get us to where we are going faster than public transportation, smartphones allow us to check emails, do our banking online, catch up with friends all through the day and keep up-to-date with world events.

Have you ever wondered how the human race managed to survive before the invention of things that were meant to make our lives easier?

It does seem as though the more things we have in our lives to make things easier, the more our lives are complicated further, and also made that little bit harder. We end up fitting more into our day because we have a need for immediate gratification.

In the past, a tree change or sea change was one way people made their lives simpler - quitting jobs, selling houses and using the equity to buy a property and live a life with a much smaller mortgage, or even completely mortgage-free.

Today, this change is done slightly differently.

The main change to make is the location of where you work.

There are a lot more people choosing to work from home to avoid the long commute into work. The aim of this type of living is to gain more time in your life, which can be spent developing yourself, having meal times as a family or even learning a new skill.

You can choose whether you want to stay in your job and telecommute or if you want to pack up, sell everything and move far away from the city.

To work from home, ask your human resources department for your organisation’s Work From Home Policy.

13) Spring Clean


Take stock of your possessions and ask yourself two questions.

1. Does this item bring me joy?
2. Have I used this in the last twelve months?

If the answer to both these questions is no, then get rid of it.

Do this in each room and get rid of all the things you own that you no longer require and whatever you do, do not be tempted to create a maybe pile.

Be clinical, be strong, be ruthless.

This exercise can be quite overwhelming, so buy some black bin bags or boxes, and get some tape, paper and a marker. Label each bag with what you are putting in them - clothes, toys, books, etc. Once filled, seal them and get them ready to take to the charity bin.

Do not be tempted to go through them again.

After you complete the exercise, do it again. This time there will be less to get rid of, and it will make you think about what you need versus what you want.

Don’t forget to do this for electronics as well, and remember to sort through all the charging cables that have accumulated over time.

The most important step of this exercise is to physically take the bags and boxes to the charity bin.

This step is very important as it leaves you with a really good feeling, knowing you are helping those less fortunate than yourself.

It not only clears out your house, but also your mind.

14) Value Your Time


Time is the most precious commodity we have.

We have a rough idea of how long we will live, but in reality, we do not know. We may or may not wake up tomorrow morning. Yet, we take time for granted. We spend a lot of time doing things we do not have to or want to do, just so we can please someone else.

Do things that add value to your life and those around you.

15) Be True To Yourself


Don’t fool yourself. Do what you love.

If you are not able to do this at the moment, search for a way to make it happen. The journey in itself will be enlightening and don’t be afraid to pivot.

With all the commitments we have, we tend to stretch ourselves thin by trying to be everywhere and to please everyone. In doing this, we end up being irritable, tired and short tempered.

To prevent this from happening, schedule in some time to spend on your own. During this time, do not make any plans or appointments, just see where it takes you.

Make this part of your daily or weekly routine and enjoy the time with yourself.

16) Take Baby Steps To Live A Simple Life


Make the first baby step you take reducing the number of times you eat out.

Plant a few herbs such as basil, rosemary and chives to create a kitchen garden. Progress to preparing some homemade sauces like pesto, using basil harvested from your kitchen garden.

From there, move on to simplifying other areas of your life, such as culling the amount of material possessions you have that don’t bring you joy and that you have not used in the last twelve months.

Conclusion

If you are uncertain of what living a simple life would be like for you, start by following these sixteen steps.


Living a simple life is a journey that can take years to perfect, starting as a dream that slowly becomes a reality.


Giving us a life with more time to connect in a way that has meaning, not only with people but also with our environment.


It is having the time to do things we enjoy and being able to be genuine to ourselves.


This is what makes a simple life.

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