People spend a lot of time attempting to make their lives better. Improving one’s life may inspire reading books, taking courses, and engaging in new habits. However, all of those steps may make improving one’s life more complicated than needed. Simplify your life by paying attention the five R’s, all of which are associated to frugality.
The first R has to do with refusing the things that you don’t need, which sounds a lot simpler than it is for many people. We live in a world that is filled with products and services. People are conditioned to be fierce consumers, and some habits are very hard to break. Start refusing by taking survey of the things you cannot do without. Once you identify the small number of things that are necessities, and observe the things in your home and life that are ‘extras,’ you’ll get better at refusing to collect more ‘stuff.’
You can make your life even simpler by reducing the things that you need. This includes information in addition to possessions. For example, you may subscribe to a number of newspapers and magazines, yet have limited time to read all of them. Pay attention to what sources you enjoy the most and find are the most informative, and do away with the rest, which reduces and gives you added time. Wardrobes can be considerably reduced; go through each item and consider how often you actually wear it.
In a society of intense consumption, advertisers do their best to make you think that new is better and improved. For example, some people believe they need a new car every four to five years, or that they need a new wardrobe at the start of each season, which is a ridiculous sentiment if you think about it. What’s wrong with using and reusing items until you absolutely need to replace them? For example, rather than think of getting a new car because your current one has cracks in the seats, get seat covers from Shear Comfort. If you take care of your items and maintain them, you’ll find that they last a long time, which lessens the need to constantly acquire new things.
Re-share and Re-sell
People change hobbies, get tired of belongings, and outgrow clothes. Rather than horde these items, get rid of them. You can either give these items away to those who need them or sell them on platforms like Craigslist and eBay. If you need the money, sell the items as secondhand. However, if you can do away with them and don’t need the money, do a good deed and give the items to those who cannot afford new ones or can’t afford them at all. You will be doing a service to others as you reduce the number of items in your life.
Don’t stop thinking about your future. Each time you go to grab an item off of the shelf or feel the need to buy something online, ask yourself if you really need it. Most times, you’ll realize that you’re temporarily in a mood to buy and engaging in a habit. Don’t ruin your financial future by embellishing today. Many people get into financial trouble because they can’t limit the things they buy. They can’t limit the things they buy because they don’t recognize what’s absolutely needed versus something they temporarily desire.
Some of the above insights will immediately make sense and others may require more time for you to think about. Realize that there is nothing wrong with being frugal as you realize that most commodities are useless. Refuse, reduce, reuse, and resell or share so you won’t reach a state of financial rot!
Eve O’Neill is a personal finance consultant who lives frugally herself and encourages others to do the same in order to live a better, more satisfying life. She writes on the topic for a range of money and lifestyle sites.