This series has been so great to write! I really hope all the info I’m throwing at you is inspiring you to invest some time and energy into finding YOUR simple lifestyle. The benefits are worth it! Today we’re focusing on money.
In part one, we covered the HEALTH benefits. In part two, the ENVIRONMENTAL benefits. Today, I’m wrapping up this series with part three, which covers the financial benefits of simple living. I’m going to show you all the simple living habits, with examples of some of my family’s personal habits, that will help you save your hard-earned pennies.
Simple living is naturally a thrifty lifestyle. If you think back to how the average family lived 50 or 60 years ago, back during “simpler” times, you might notice many people had a different attitude towards money. It didn’t hurt that credit cards were only seen in well to do families and were more out of convenience than a need. They were rarely seen in an average family until the 70s or 80s.
People had no choice, but to live within their means. This is something MANY families struggle with in today’s times.
Many expenses have increased at the average rate and then there are things like, healthcare, health insurance and college tuition that have skyrocketed. This means that the cost of these things has increased dramatically more than the rate of the average income. But we, as a culture, are much more likely to overspend on unnecessary things than our Grandparents and Great-grandparents ever did, even though we have a higher cost of living.
In my world, living within your means is the key financial philosophy of simple living. Don’t spend more than you make. Period.
This point is so important that part of me is thinking I could finish this post right then and there, but I did promise you all the simple living habits that save you money. While living within your means counts as the #1 overall financially beneficial simple living habit, there are a whole lot more mini habits that make achieving this much easier, and they are very much worth mentioning.
7 Simple Living Habits That Saves You Money
- Have a budget
I know! Budgets are boring! But seriously, living within your means really means not spending more than you have. Not having a budget is a recipe for overspending. Budgeting also allows you to set aside money for upcoming and unexpected expenses eliminating financial stress and anxiety. If you have debt, it also allows you to focus on paying that debt off ASAP.
Example – I use YNAB (Not affiliated, just super love their product) It is a budgeting software for your computer that is SO easy to use and it also allows you to enter all your spending on your smartphone. Think of the phone app as an old school checkbook register where you enter and categorize all your transactions. On your computer, you budget all your income into these spending categories. The goal is to not spend more than what you have in each category, thus not spending more than you have.
A few more amazing budgeting and financial resources are the books Financial Peace University and Your Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. These books and Dave’s “Baby Steps” together are the backbone of becoming financially secure.
- Choosing quality over quantity –
Spending more on a necessary item that will last you five years, will cost you less overall than a cheaper poorer quality version of the same thing that will need to be repurchased every year.
Example: Kids backpacks for school, cheaply made versions will last maybe one year and run you roughly $20 give or take. A high-quality durable backpack might run you $40-$50, but will most likely last 3-5 years! Up to a $60 savings!
- Reusing –
I mentioned a lot in PART 2 of this series about how our society has very much become “disposable”. So many things are made with the intention of being thrown out. It’s practically like throwing money in the garbage too.
Example – It’s been at least a year since I’ve regularly bought paper towels. It took me awhile to figure out what worked best for us as a reusable replacement, but now that I have, I don’t miss them. (Full disclosure, I have one single emergency roll, per husband’s request, tucked away for the occasional kitty vomit or hairball mess.) This one thing saves us approximately $200 a year!
What do we use instead of paper towels? I use flour sack dish towels that I cut into quarters and hemmed the edges. Super absorbent and they wash and dry easily.
- Repurposing –
Before you run to the store to buy what you think you need, try looking around your house for something you already have that can be repurposed. It’s also a great way to give your brain work out and to tap into your creative side. You’d be amazed at what you can repurpose.
Example – Wrapping Paper: This sort of ties in with the disposable point I just made, (you can get reusable gift bags or just plain reuse gift bags you’ve received. I certainly do that. I’m also the “crazy” person at baby showers that is saving all the tissue paper to reuse.) but my favorite repurposing trick is to repurpose packing paper as wrapping paper.
Amazon uses a lot of that loose plain paper in its packaging. Many times it barely looks rumpled when it arrives in one of your packages. Spread it out and let your kids color and decorate it for any occasion and voila, free wrapping paper. (Not to mention, traditional wrapping paper is not recyclable.)
- Fix things or go without –
MOST of the time, fixing things to make them last longer will definitely save you money, especially when you can fix them yourself. Basic sewing skills can extend the life of your clothes and certain special stuffed animals, and basic mechanical skills (along with youtube academy) can fix many household and appliance issues (don’t be dumb, if it’s not safe, hire a professional) Sometimes you might just choose to go without if it’s too expensive to fix and too expensive to replace.
Example – Our 7-year-old dishwasher tanked one day. Since today’s dishwashers don’t typically last much more than that (which is incredibly sad) and we couldn’t fix it ourselves we decided it would be smart to replace it.
We did our homework and researched what we wanted to get as a replacement. We spent almost $500 on a replacement that was given great reviews from consumer reports and was supposed to be good quality. One year and 4 months later (just after the warranty expired) the whole circuit board fried. IT COMPLETELY DIED.
I was so unbelievably angry, the cost to buy the part to fix it, was almost as much as we spent on the darn thing in the first place. Out of mostly sheer anger and frustration we chose to go without. It’s been close to two years since we had a working dishwasher. I can’t say I won’t ever go back, but for now, it’s saving us money (money we’re not spending on the new one) and the headache of dealing with another one breaking. Sometimes I find washing dishes soothing, and as a result of no dishwasher we intentionally dirty fewer dishes now too.
- DIY Cleaners
Household cleaners are EXPENSIVE. Especially the “Green” versions. Making your own is so easy and SO cheap. Not to mention, better for the environment. Most everything in your house can be cleaned with baking soda and/or vinegar and a good scrub pad or rag. I buy baking soda and vinegar in bulk at Costco. Cleaning for pennies, seriously.
Example – DIY hand soap is a huge money saver. (Check out my how to HERE.) Another thing I make myself is laundry soap. It’s super easy! Just mix these ingredients together and store in a closed container. Use ½ to 1 Tablespoon per load.
1 Bar grated Ivory, FelsNaptha, or Castile bar soap
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
One thing I do not make myself is dish soap. I’m just too in love with Seventh Generation’s free and clear dish soap. I stock up when I can get it at a good price.
- Buy used or organize a swap –
Kids clothes, games, and books are all amazing things to purchase used or organize a swap with a group of moms. Most of the time these things are outgrown well before they are worn out, especially with special occasion clothing.
Shopping used for adult clothing, furniture, and home decor is also a big money saver. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Example – I have turned thrift store shopping into a fun hobby for myself! I visit my favorite Goodwill store about once a month to hunt for my treasures. MOST of my wardrobe is from there and I’ve many times been complimented on an outfit that is often followed by surprise when I tell them where I bought it. (Check out my post all about THRIFT STORE shopping.)
And by the way. Used is not gross. You won’t get cooties, I promise. Wash it first if it weirds you out. Once you get your first pair of name brand jeans that fit you like a glove for $6 I guarantee you will be hooked, too.
Well, there you go! Pretty simple right?
So, I put my heart and soul into sharing with you guys all the amazing benefits of simple living. I hope I was able to inspire and encourage you to try it out, even if it’s only a few things to start with. The benefits are there, you just have to choose the right path for you and your family.
Did I miss anything? What are your favorite simple living habits with financial benefits? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Check out Part 1, Health Benefits of Simple Living HERE!
Check out Part 2, Environmental Benefits of Simple Living HERE!
HEY! Have you ever tried Amazon Prime? It’s seriously THE best, (I’m not just saying that because I’m an Amazon affiliate either. I became an affiliate because I love Amazon that much!) We tried to save a few pennies awhile ago and didn’t renew our Prime membership. BOY did I miss it. So, yup we have it again. FREE 2-day shipping, TONS of TV and Movie streaming, plus free music, too. Anyway, make sure you check out their 30-day FREE trial!