Life is busy at our house. We’ve got two working adults (who also have side hustles), three active boys and a dog. There have been times when we’ve been pulled in different directions and our budget was pulled tight with it.
Starting with my year of embracing a Less is More mantra, I’ve discovered that simplifying is good for your budget and your soul.
Simplifying puts you in control.
When you start to simplify your life – whether it’s by reducing the amount of activities or cleaning out your closets – you are taking control. You are deciding what things to keep and what things to let go. Once you’ve gone through this decluttering, you learn how to become a better gatekeeper of both your finances and your time. You gain the confidence to take control of other areas of your life that aren’t going as well as you like.
Simplifying can make you money.
That junk from the basement storage closet just might make you some money at your next garage sale. Listing some old furniture on Craigslist can clear out your attic and wipe away a little debt. If you decide to donate your unwanted clutter to a nonprofit organization, you may be able to take a tax deduction on your donation. Cancel memberships you’re not using and magazines you’re not reading. Simplifying things around your house can help you put some cash back in your budget.
Simplifying has helped us determine needs vs. wants.
When life is busy, it’s all too easy to splurge on things like eating out or overpriced convenience foods. It’s easy to splurge on a new gadget or clothing item because you feel you “deserve it’ as a reward for all your hard work.
But when you learn to say “No” to too many obligations, you give yourself the gift of time. That gift of time is there for you to figure out what you value when it comes to spending your money. Just little bit of breathing room in your schedule can be all it takes for you to realize that you’d rather have a home-cooked meal and put the money you saved toward paying off debt than cold, limp fries from the drive-thru on your way home in a paycheck-to-paycheck life.
When you cull your closets so that you only have what you truly love and find to be useful, you learn what is most important to you. When you know what is most important, it can help you avoid making impulse buys that fit with your long-term financial plans.
Simplifying trains your brain to need less stuff.
When you really dedicate yourself to clearing out the clutter in your life, you start to see just how freeing it becomes. You learn how to make do with what you have and not worry about what you don’t have. Once you learn that you don’t need to have all the stuff, it makes it much easier to bypass all those opportunities to spend money at the store. Cut your ties to the stuff you own, and you’ll cut your desire to keep buying more and more stuff.
Simplify the beginning.
It’s not like you can just wave a magic wand and everything is suddenly simple. It’s taken a lifetime of habits to get you where you are.
Start small. Pick up a copy of Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine. Start with just one drawer or one closet. Start by removing one activity from your schedule that you dread. The hardest part is getting started, so just start small.
Then build on your progress until you’ve got a simpler, happier, and more affordable life. Simplifying is worth it. You’re worth it.
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