As a homesteader, living a simple life is kind of a given. But how we get there is different for everyone.
I started living more simply because of necessity. We needed to cut our budget.
As a small-town gal, I was never much into buying fancy or expensive things for the sake of status. But I was just as suckered by consumer culture as everyone else was.
My generation grew up in front of commercial TV where the main message is to buy more, consume more, and don’t be content with what you have.
But necessity forced me to reevaluate what a true need is. This turned out to be one of the best things that could happen to me. Simple living proved to have many benefits.
Why Live a Simple Life?
Are you considering simplifying your life? Here are the reasons I choose to live a simplified life:
Helps Us Live Within Our Means
Since we (mostly) don’t feel deprived when we can’t afford something we are better able to stick to a budget.
It’s really easy to overspend when you convince yourself that you need or deserve something even though you can’t afford it.
Let’s just say my definition of “needing” new clothes has changed quite a bit since college. We can prioritize becoming debt-free over owning lots of stuff (stuff that would probably be purchased with credit cards!).
Being debt-free and being able to get by on little will make us free to do anything we want. So, what could you do if your cost of living was 30, 20 or even 10 thousand dollars a year? Work less? Travel more? Open a business?
Simple living isn’t about deprivation, it’s about intentionality. It’s about choosing what to spend money on and what not to based on values, goals, and priorities (instead of what everyone else is doing).
A Life We Don’t Need a Vacation From
We can stop wishing our lives away, live in contentment, and find joy in most moments instead of living for the weekend. Let’s choose our life instead of letting it choose us.
We can get off the wheel of going to a job we don’t like to pay for stuff we don’t need. We can also stop buying mindlessly and become a conscious consumer.
This means we will put more thought into our purchases and only buy things that we need or really want. We will then appreciate what we have even more and we can focus our time and energy on what really matters.
Like family and friends, our health and well-being, or our hearts biggest desire.
By adopting a simple, real food diet we can stop spending so much time worrying about food and what it does to our weight or health!
Eating simply is healthy and satisfying. My experience has been that when our bodies are nourished we don’t have (as many) sugar cravings or the desire to overeat.
Simplifying food is also a great way to make life easier (and who doesn’t want that?).
Helps the Environment
Our resources are precious and by living simply — taking only what we need — we are contributing to a healthier and more sustainable future for our children.
6 Ideas for Living a Simple Life Now
When I first got the simplifying bug I wanted to jump right in and change everything, but that never works. It’s a journey, not a destination, as they say.
It’s going to look different for everyone and that’s ok…great even! If it looks different from everyone else’s version of living a simple life then you’re probably doing it right.
For me living simply is:
- Treading lightly upon the earth. Doing my best to use fewer resources and make greener choices.
- I try my best to take care of my body because my health is my wealth and without it, no amount of money will matter.
- Being frugal. To save money where we can so that we can put that money towards a greater purpose (paying debt, saving for retirement, building a business, donating or otherwise helping others, reaching goals and dreams, etc).
- Living with a purpose, reaching out to others and doing good in the world.
Here are some simple living ideas to get your started:
1. Choose a Smaller Home that Needs Less Upkeep
Lots of people live in homes that they discover later are too big (and too much to handle). We rent a home where we have outside space for a garden and a chicken coop. Our home is actually a pretty good size yet still affordable so we are very lucky.
(Update: we have also lived in an apartment and were still able to homestead!)
All of our furniture has been given to us, is borrowed or was bought used except for our couch (which ironically really needs to be replaced).
In the Future: I really appreciate people who choose to live in really tiny homes but I don’t think I could do it.
Mainly because winters are so long here and we are stuck inside for so much of the year.
That said, I could see us building or renovating a small home with really cool storage.
2. Own Fewer Clothing
Choose to own fewer clothes or consider a capsule wardrobe.
As you know we don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. Because of this, we try to buy used first, shop sales next and pay full price only as a last resort.
We choose not to have lots of new or expensive clothing because we would prefer to spend our money on other things like vacations, hobbies, etc.
However, I do make quality a priority. I buy the highest quality clothing that I can afford because I’ve discovered that I actually save money (not to mention time and frustration) by buying quality pieces.
3. Eat Simply
Eat a simple, clean diet.
And we try to avoid processed and prepared foods. Not only is our food healthier but also we save a lot on our grocery bill by avoiding packages and making our own.
4. Simplify Commitments
Avoid overcommitting and creating stress in your life.
I try not to pack too many activities into one week and I also make sure we have at least one weekend a month that we can just stay home and do our own thing.
I don’t like being so busy that I’m stressed out and frazzled all the time (although sometimes it can’t be avoided).
We try to prioritize time with each other and with friends and family above everything else.
5. Par Down Possessions
Be more intentional with your possessions.
I consider myself a bit of a minimalist. So, I prefer clear spaces and fewer things to have to put away. I feel like owning fewer possessions allows me to have a clearer mind.
But I do have two children who have lots of toys (they are clearly not minimalists!), so I’m definitely not perfect!
I try to make intentional choices about what possessions I have though, so I don’t allow my possessions to own me.
6. Try Homesteading
Growing and preparing your own food and medicine is a wonderful way to gain freedom from the fast-paced modern world. It’s true that homesteading isn’t for everyone. But it is a great way to take charge of your own basic needs which greatly simplifies your life. Learn about how I focus on abundance homesteading so that I can have the freedom of homesteading without the overwhelm.
Simple Lifestyle FAQs
Is simple living different from minimalism?
Yes. simple living does not focus specifically on owning fewer things, though that often comes into play. But both philosophies work well together for many people.
Do I have to do X to live simply?
Of course not! Simple living should be whatever you want. The point is to cultivate a life that is low-stress and enjoyable. Your idea of simplicity doesn’t have to fit with someone else’s. And in reality, most people have one or more areas of their life that don’t look “simple” but work for them.
Now it’s Your Turn!
What does simple living look like for you? How would you like to change or improve?