The first week of August has been designated as Simplify Your Life Week!
This oddball holiday is just gaining traction. It’s why you haven’t heard of it and neither had I until this morning.
Basically, it’s a period of time where we encourage each other to downsize our lives while supersizing our happiness. Since this is a personal finance website, I’ll mostly be discussing ways to simply your money. However, this holiday is much more inclusive than just that topic:
Ways to Simply Your Life
- Eat more natural foods. A good way to start doing this is by grocery shopping just the perimeter of the store. That’s where the natural, fresh foods are kept. Staying out the center isles will almost guarantee a thin waist as well. Here’s something else you could try… don’t eat any food with its own commercial! It’s simple but effective!
- Turn off your cell phone. When was the last time your cell was actually off? Go ahead this week and turn it off for periods of time. Consider shutting it off when you sleep, for instance. Or shutting it off at 9pm every night. You’ll end the day more relaxed.
- Say ‘no’ to one thing a week. Some people feel guilty for telling people ‘no’. But sometimes it’s necessary if you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to narrow down your commitments. There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ sometimes.
Ways to Simplify Your Finances
- Hire an accountant. This professional can get you the maximum amount of money on your tax return. They can also save you time, stress, and guesswork. Wouldn’t life be simpler if you just let someone else do your taxes?
- Go digital. Many banks will give a .25% reduction on interest (or an increase in interest if you’re saving money) if you opt for electronic notifications. Paper gets messy anyway. If you still have a filing cabinet at home, strongly consider this option. Opening up Google Drive is far easier than digging through a messy filing cabinet!
- Declutter. Have you ever wondered why sleeping in a hotel room is so relaxing? It’s probably because there’s little clutter. Yes – get rid of your stuff. You’ll probably sleep better. You can throw it away, gift it, or sell it. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.
- Outsource. If you feel like you’re being run ragged, consider outsourcing some work. This can be done in a variety of ways. The most obvious is hiring a cleaning person. Next, try hiring out your yard work. After that, see if grocery shopping can be done by someone else. Think of all the things you can outsource! I could keep going on for ages. Basically, if there’s something in your life causing you stress, there’s probably someone who can do it for you. Use the time to pursue your passion instead. You’ll probably make more money this way as well! If you can work for $50/hour and hire someone to garden for $15/hour, well…
- Use cloud storage. There are plenty of ways to get free cloud storage. With Amazon Prime ($99/year) for instance, you can get 5gb of ‘anything’ storage and unlimited photo uploads. Using the cloud is inexpensive. It’s even free in some instances like with Photobucket, Google Drive, or even Dropbox. Using cloud storage may bring peace to your life. You won’t have to worry about leaving a file on a computer, external hard drive, tablet, CD, thumb drive, etc. You’ll have it all readily available on the cloud. Just remember your username and password and you’re in. How simple is that? It’s simple and so much cheaper than buying your own storage systems.
- Bike to work. Biking is good for the environment, your health, and, of course, your wallet. A bike is a very simple form of transport. Think about it this way… a car weighs about 3,500 pounds. The average bike weighs between 19 and 23 pounds. They both do the same job – they move you. If you want to simplify your life even further, consider walking short distances.
National Simplify Your Life week is an invitation to try a bit of simple living for one week. See if you like it. If not, you can always go back. But you’ll probably realize simple living suits you.
Remember, you don’t have to simplify every aspect of your life. If you always like to have 3 cars in your garage – fine! That’s cool! But I’m sure there is at least one segment of your life worth downsizing. What will you downsize?