‘Desire is the root cause of all sorrows’, said Buddha. Keeping this stricture in mind, it only makes sense that you avoid all unnecessary luxuries in order to find true contentment. Living a simple and frugal life can have many benefits, like avoiding waste and helping the society, besides finding that not getting caught in the vicious cycle of desire and want makes one happier and more purposeful. So how do you go about living a simpler and more frugal life? Read on to find out-
Start by getting rid of all things that are unimportant or wasteful. Go around your house and pick out items that are simply of no use, whether for ornamental or utilitarian purposes. That old table lamp and cushions in the attic and the various odds and ends that pile up around the house eating up space? Get rid of all of them. Go through each room, each closet and each drawer to dispose off anything that you and your family no longer need. You will find that getting rid of unnecessary items around the house will create a more breathable and free environment that works towards living a simpler life.
The greatest happiness comes from giving, they say. It is true that the joy that one receives from helping someone in need is unparalleled. The next step to living a simpler life is donating everything that you don’t need. I mean the clothes in your wardrobe that you have never worn and never will, old schoolbooks, the uniforms that your children have outgrown, the books gathering dust in some corner of the house etc. These are all items that will help someone in need. Donate them to the nearest charity or your daily maid. You’d be surprised by how much joy your little gifts will bring to someone’s life.
10- Sell off the trash.
There are probably things around the house that you can’t donate. I mean raggedy clothes, piles of old newspapers and magazines and unused bottles. Getting rid of them by calling a ‘kabaadi wala’ or the garbage unit will help you earn some quick cash! It will also free up precious space in your house. So clean up the trash and sell it off.
9- Don’t waste food.
You have probably heard this a lot but there actually are people starving everywhere in the world! A very important step to living a simpler life is not wasting food in your own house. So many people today simple leave food on their plates or order too much at restaurants or cook too much at home. To avoid wasting food, cook only as much as will be eaten by the family. Also have strict rules about family members finishing up everything on their plates and not throwing away leftovers in the trash. If, for example, you serve multi course meals, make sure that they receive the second course only after they finish the first. Use leftover food in other dishes or give it to someone who needs it instead of throwing it in the trash.
8- Eat slowly.
Enjoy what you are eating instead of rushing through your meals. Eating slowly and tasting your food makes you appreciate the flavours and the effort spent in cooking it. It also aids in digestion and helps you lose weight. Simple food eaten slowly and well is another aspect of simple living. Instead of eating expensive and heavy fast food, eat regular, well balanced and nutritious meals to live a healthier and simpler life.
7- Cut down communication.
In this day and age, everybody is constantly connected to everybody at all times through various platforms. Be it Whatsapp, calls, text messages, face time, Skype, Facebook or twitter, we are all constantly interacting with a huge number of people and sometimes it gets too much. If you feel that you are spending a huge amount of time in your life on meaningless interactions that don’t profit anyone, cut down on the amount of time you spend online. Have a fixed number of followers and friends and set a time of the day when you check your social media accounts. This will definitely help you in living a simpler life and also cut down your phone and internet bill!
6- Car pool and public transport.
Driving everywhere yourself can be expensive, hectic and time consuming. To avoid this, consider car pooling whenever possible. For example, you and your neighbors can take turns in driving kids to schools. Also consider switching to a smaller car if you want better mileage and your family is small. A bigger car just for show is not a hallmark of simple living. If you have more than one car in the family that is not really used, or used very occasionally, you could even consider selling it off. And use public transport whenever possible to reduce your carbon footprint.
5- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Stress is the silent killer. If you are constantly rushing through life, jumping from one commitment to the other and not giving yourself any time, you will inevitably find yourself stressed. Leading a hectic lifestyle can be detrimental to the simple living you want. Cut down on all superfluous activities, unnecessary social calls and plan your day such that you have time to give to yourself. Do not stress the small stuff. Meditate every morning as it has been shown to reduce stress. Spend some time every day on reflection and introspection.
4- Streamline your day.
Plan your day properly. Set a clear time table that gives you plenty of time to do each activity properly, giving it your full attention. Do not rush through your meals because you are running late for class or work. Instead, wake up early, meditate, eat a healthy and filling breakfast and go to work. Devote time to each activity that you have planned and try to sleep early. You may have heard the adage- early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!
3- Avoid partying too much.
Too many late nights tend to disrupt your sleep cycle. Partying also includes alcohol which is harmful to your health. Besides , think of all the money that you’d save by not going out every other night and raking up a huge bill with alcohol and overpriced food! Your liver and your wallet will thank you.
2- Curb your buying habits.
The biggest enemy to simple living is the human need to buy pretty things! Do not fall into the trap of buying too much. Before you take that gorgeous dress to the cashier, ask yourself whether you really need it and can you afford it. Buying too much only takes up space and money. So live frugally and avoid unnecessary purchases.
1- Inner strength.
This means finding inner peace. It could be through meditation, prayer, helping others, self introspection, letting go of the past- whatever helps you! The bottomline is that you should be content with the life that you are leading and you will automatically stop looking for happiness in material things. Live simply and happily by finding inner peace and your inner simplicity.
Follow these tips to free your mind and body and lead a happier and simpler life.