In a 2015 survey by the American Psychological Association, 64 percent of Americans feel that money causes stress.
Don’t let money stress you out! You can make a few simple changes to simplify your life.
Learning how to manage different areas of your life can be challenging, especially finances.
Read this guide with tips to simplify your life with these simple, yet effective, money saving tips.
1. Declutter to Simplify Your Life
It’s probably safe to say you have some extra stuff laying around you don’t use. Time to get rid of these things! Why have them collecting dust when you can make money on them?
Don’t try to do it all at once! Trying to declutter can take awhile – you don’t want to feel overwhelmed. Choose one area a day like clean out a kitchen drawer today and remove a pile of papers from the counter tomorrow.
If you have enough stuff, consider selling them on eBay, Craigslist, or Buy Sell Trade sites. You can even have a garage sale. You donate all other items and write them off on your taxes.
2. Automate Bills
Save time and never miss a payment by setting up automatic bill pay. Be sure you always have enough money in your account.
Have billing alerts emailed to you, so you can always double check the balance.
You can save money on late fees and postage.
3. Don’t Buy Drinks
Take water bottles with you. You can also make your own coffee at home.
It’s amazing how much money you can save – plus you will create less waste.
4. Adjust Your Thermostat
A couple degrees can make a big difference. Get a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures at night or when you aren’t home.
Try bumping your temperature up two degrees in the summer, and down two degrees in the winter.
This one may be more difficult for some. Back in the 1950s, the average home was 1,000 square feet. Now it is around 2,600 square feet.
Why are our houses getting bigger? These bigger houses mean more expensive mortgages and utility bills.
A smaller home or apartment means a smaller rent or mortgage. Imagine what you could with the extra money.
6. Set Limits
This takes discipline. Set simple goals such as “I will only buy $100 worth of groceries this week,” or “I will not buy any takeout this week.”
Setting simple goals can make your life easier. Determine weekly budgets for all categories such as entertainment, food, and others.
7. Pay Cash
Setting up a cash system will help you determine where your money goes. You can visibly see how much you have left and plan accordingly.
If you have an entertainment budget, you can make it a game if you only have $4 left. For example, go to Redbox and buy microwave popcorn.
8. Consolidate All Accounts
You don’t really need more than one credit card, savings, or checking accounts. The same is true for retirement accounts.
9. Cut Out Unused Services
You probably pay for subscriptions and services you don’t use. Eliminate these services and remove another payment.
How often do you go to the gym? Do you watch all the channels on your cable bill? Do you need cable?
Think of things you can go without. Try it for a month and see how it goes.
10. Limit TV and Internet
You need information, but there is such a thing of too much information. You are reading or hearing about all these things you need or should do.
Limit the amount of advertising and “advice” you get through the media. It will help you from getting things you really don’t need. All this noise is causing you mental clutter!
11. Simplify Your Clothing
Go in your closet. How many things have you not worn in the past year? Are there items that don’t fit?
Get rid of them! You should only have the items your regularly wear in your closet, except for a few dress-up items you need occasionally.
Develop a mix and match wardrobe. Buy fewer items you can wear over and over with different accessories or outer pieces like a jacket or sweater.
12. Limit Running Errands
Don’t run errands every day. Go out maybe once or twice a week.
Take time at the beginning of the week to get organized. Make a list of where you need to go.
If you go out less, you will use less gas and shop less.
13. Meal Planning
Take time to plan your weekly meals. You can use the weekly sale ads to give you some ideas.
Having a plan in place will help prevent you from indulging in takeout. You can always double your meal, and freeze one portion to use later.
Use your crockpot! It can be a real life saver.
14. When You Buy Something, Get Rid of Something
Take measures to help your clutter. For example, when you buy a new shirt, get rid of a shirt.
This will help you control spending and make you think before you buy.
15. Write Down Your Budget
Write down your income and all your expenses. When you spend money, write it down.
It will help you with impulse shopping when you see how much you have already spent.
16. Easier Shopping
Take advantage of convenient shopping services, such as online grocery shopping and Amazon Prime.
When you don’t go in a store, you can prevent impulse purchases. Ordering online also saves you time.
Several grocery stores offer online shopping that you can either go pick up or have delivered directly to your home.
17. Limit Shopping Options
Choose only a couple stores for shopping. You can save money on gas and driving around. If something is $1 less at a store across town, you are not really saving when you factor in gas.
Choose stores with reward programs to help you save money and earn perks. For example, cut down prescription costs by using the Refillwise program. Read more now.
18. Learn to Say NO
It’s okay to say no. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
This will help protect your time and wallet. If you really don’t want to do something, don’t! Your friends will still be there.
BY DALE HARRIS