As January finally comes to an end (and it really feels like the longest month ever), I have completed my first no spend month of the year. I will probably do another one towards the end of the year, maybe September.
Spending as little money as possible makes you look at and appreciate life’s simple pleasures. You don’t have to constantly buy stuff to lead a full and satisfying life, do you? I always suspect spendaholic types are trying to fill some kind of void, usually with no lasting success. I am striving to live more simply anyway, and a no spend month tends to force the point.
I thought this week’s five frugal things could focus on ways I live more simply. These are just some ideas. There are others to be found in my post In search of a simple life: how to live more and stress less.
What do I mean by living more simply? For me, it means spending less money, being less stressed and keeping life as uncomplicated as possible. It also means living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Five ways I live more simply
1# Getting into nature
Even if you are in a city and only have the local park, getting outdoors to hear the birds singing and walk amongst trees and plants is my favourite way to live more simply.
We love a good walk in the countryside and are lucky that we have a small area of woods just five minutes away. Mr S will drag me out at any excuse. Even if I don’t feel like going out, I always feel much better for doing it, whatever the weather.
We are also just a half an hour drive from the coast and love a breezy walk by the sea on a sunny day. Guaranteed to lift the spirits and make you glad to be alive.
2# Growing stuff
There is little more satisfying than turning a packet of seeds into colourful flowers or flavoursome vegetables for your garden. I suspect a lot of this satisfaction comes from being outside in nature, as mentioned in my previous point.
However, you can grow things even if you don’t have a garden. You can contact your local authority for an allotment (there is likely to be a waiting list though) or even share one with friends.
You can grow a few herbs on your windowsill or some plump tomatoes in a grow bag on a patio or balcony.
I also get great satisfaction from nurturing my houseplants. Although I don’t grow them from seed, I have produced new plants from stem cuttings (money plants are super easy for this).
Spider plants and pilea produce lots of baby plants that can be potted on. This explains why we have an ever increasing number! All for the price of a pot and some indoor potting compost.
I love lots of greenery inside and out.
All you need to practice yoga is a bit of space. You don’t even really need a mat much of the time. My morning yoga practice keeps me sane and supple. Sometimes I do it on the bedroom floor in my PJs!
Yoga has many benefits. It increases strength, flexibility and balance for starters, can help relieve anxiety and depression and is beneficial for heart health.
I would say it is better to get some lessons with a BWY qualified teacher if possible to learn some basic postures and understand the nuances. Having said that, if a class is impossible there are plenty of good books to instruct you.
It’s not competitive or rushed – quite the opposite – so is a great form of exercise for the busy lifestyles many of us live.
4# Buying second hand
Another way I live more simply is by buying second hand whenever possible. I like the idea of buying second hand for many reasons.
Firstly, it saves money, which means I can live on less, which means I need to work fewer hours to pay for it. All good pluses when you want to live more simply.
Secondly, it saves on the earth’s resources and stops things going to landfill.
There are lots more positives,though, and I wrote a whole post on the benefits of buying second hand here.
5# Reduce chemicals
If you want to live more simply and more healthily, try swapping out all your harsh chemical cleaners for a more streamlined, low chemical approach.
I have gradually stopped buying branded cleaners in favour of more natural products such as white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, borax substitute, citric acid and soda crystals. Our washing is now done with an Ecoegg*, which washes using natural mineral pellets and saves loads of plastic (and money!).
I make my own lemon cleaning spray, which does all the things Mr Sheen would do plus a few more. However, without that nasty chemical after smell and residue.
I also try to buy toiletries that contain fewer chemicals, or even make my own. I try to buy paraben and sulphate free shampoos and conditioners too.
Do you want to live more simply and what steps are you taking?
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