There is no minimum amount of money needed to live a simple life. However, you will likely need to pay for things like food and shelter.
You can do your part to reduce your expenses by avoiding credit card debt, growing your own food, and cutting back on unnecessary spending.
1. Start with a budget
One of the first steps to simple living is creating a budget. This will help you decide how much to save and what expenses to cut down on. It is also a great way to get organized and stay on track. There are a variety of apps that will help you with this process, but you can also do it manually by saving receipts and adding up your spending.
To start, make a list of all your regular monthly expenses. This will include things like rent or mortgage, utilities, food, transportation, etc. Next, divide these expenses by two to determine what is considered a need versus a want. For example, if you are a student, you may have to prioritize eating and paying for school over other things. However, if you are working, you might be able to afford to treat yourself to a nice dinner or new clothes once in a while.
This is an important step because it can be hard to break down the costs of things you think are necessities. For instance, if you have a house, you might be used to the convenience of having a dishwasher, but you could save money by doing laundry yourself or buying less expensive appliances. It’s also important to remember that simple living is not about painful deprivation. Instead, it’s about making changes that will allow you to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
2. Cut down on unnecessary expenses
Many people who seek to live a simpler life envision themselves moving into a wooden cottage and living off the land. But if you’re not ready to cut all ties with modern life, there are still things you can do to simplify your daily routine and save money.
Start by cutting down on unnecessary expenses. For example, if you have subscriptions to streaming services you don’t use or magazines you never read, cancel them. You can also try cutting down on transportation costs by carpooling with a friend or taking public transportation to work. You can save money on groceries by switching to a more affordable brand or shopping at a discount store.
Another way to save money is by reducing your waste. This can include anything from avoiding food waste to recycling your coffee grounds. You can also reduce your energy costs by turning off lights when you leave a room, setting a timer on your smartphone to remind you to turn off the TV or using a prepaid electricity card.
Finally, you can reduce your entertainment costs by spending more time at home or searching for free forms of entertainment. For instance, you can watch movies at the library instead of going to the cinema. You can also find cheap hobbies like dumpster diving, foraging for wild foods or making your own home decor.
3. Keep track of your spending
To keep your budget on track, you need to know exactly where your money is going. Tracking expenses can help you identify spending habits that need to change and can also help you set financial goals. For example, if you are regularly overspending on things like dining out and shopping, you may be able to cut back by identifying areas of excessive spending and following the 50/30/20 rule (allocate 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants and 20% to savings and debt repayment).
To start tracking your expenses, use an app or a simple spreadsheet to record your daily purchases. Some credit cards and personal finance apps automatically categorize transactions, making it even easier to see where your money is going. Once you’ve gathered all your spending data, it’s time to create a budget. Start with your take-home pay, including payroll deductions for health insurance and 401(k) contributions. Then subtract your fixed expenses, such as your housing, car payment and utilities. This number will give you a good idea of how much room you have left to cut your spending on things like groceries and entertainment.
To make it easier to distinguish between needs and wants, try asking yourself the question “could I live without this?” If the answer is no, that purchase is probably a want rather than a need.
4. Make a list of your goals
Living a simple life can be challenging, especially in a culture that values more, faster and better. But it is possible to live simply and enjoy less stress, more quality time with loved ones, and more freedom from debt. It is a matter of finding the things that are most important to you and figuring out how to live with those priorities in mind.
A popular way to start simplifying your lifestyle is by decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary possessions. This can also help you save money. Another good way to simplify your life is by eliminating bad habits. For example, if you spend a lot of money on fast food and drinks, you can start saving by cooking at home instead. This will help you avoid unhealthy foods and make more informed decisions about the things you consume.
You can also make a list of your goals for simplifying your life. This can include items like: what you want to keep in your life, what you want to get rid of, and what you want to add. This will help you stay motivated and keep you on track to achieve the intentional life you desire.
Achieving a simple life doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It can be as simple as decluttering your house, cooking meals from scratch, and practicing gratitude. By removing the noise from your life, you can focus on what really matters to you and create a happier, healthier you!