In recent years, we’ve seen hippie culture make a bit of a comeback and although the tie die and flares aren’t here (editor's note: yes, they are) many of us are adopting a simpler – more natural – way of living. It makes sense, in a world that’s powered by consumerism, fast-paced social media, and an endless stream of information, taking a step away from it all is a tiny act of rebellion.
To quote the famous Chinese philosopher, Confucius, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
With that in mind, what are the steps that you can take to make life simple, and would your bank balance be happier too? Let’s take a quick look.
One of the key aspects of living simply, is reducing your possessions down to things that you consider essential. Obviously, this is open to interpretation. You could sell everything but the clothes on your back, or just do away with unnecessary luxuries – do you really need 18 pairs of shoes? It certainly makes it easier to keep things clean and tidy.
However, minimalism could also be putting little odd-shaped things away in something big and regular shaped. This approach probably won’t save you money and may end up costing you most as you chase that exclusive ‘Scandi’ feel around your home.
Think about food
If you’re happy to eat seasonally, then growing your own fruit and veg could be a good way to live simply and save money at the same time. You don’t always need a garden for this either – you can plant all sorts of things in a window box.
Not only could this save you money in the long run (some saving you up to £149 within a single season!1), but you might also get a newfound love for gardening and an appreciation for fresh, delicious food.
Alternatively, there are also plenty of options available now to remove the need of choice – for example, meal delivery boxes could send you everything you need to make dinner each day without you having to sit down and think about what you want to eat, and then go out and buy the groceries. While they may not always save you money, they can simplify your life and help to save you time – and we all know the old saying that “time is money.”
Cut down on digital noise
In the 21st century there’s a lot going on. We’re constantly connected through our phones, the internet is treated as a necessity rather than a luxury, and as such there’s a lot of digital noise. The problem with this is that is eats into your simple living, instead of embracing the here and now you’re looking at what everyone else is doing, being advertised to, and generally being overwhelmed with choice.
By taking a step back, putting the phone down – even if it’s just for an hour or two – you could find yourself less stressed, more productive, more mindful, and possibly even less inclined to make spontaneous purchases. For example, if you’re scrolling through Instagram, nearly 25% of the posts you see are adverts2 – and ads, as we know, are designed to make you buy things, whether you’re aware of it or not. So, by taking a break from social media you may find that it not only helps you lead a simpler life, but you could save some money too!
Live to your means
If you’ve read any of our blogs on how to save money then you may have spotted the tip of ‘living to your means’ before. But this isn’t just about saving money, it’s about making sure you only buy things you need. Looking at the price is important, but equally important is looking at whether or not it serves a function or fulfils a demand that you require. For example, if you’re looking at buying a flashy new pair of shoes it could be worth asking yourself why? Why do you want that one? Are there other, perhaps cheaper, options that would suit your needs just as well? Just asking yourself a couple of questions before making a purchase could help save you money by stopping you buying things you don’t need.
One thing at a time
How often do you multi-task on a daily basis? Chances are, it’s quite a bit. If you want to live more simply, then it could be worth tackling one thing at a time. Not only could this help you manage any stress better, but it also provides greater focus and gives you a singular goal.
If you were to apply this to your finances, you could focus on doing one thing at a time. For example, if you don’t have an emergency savings pot then that should be the one thing you’re concentrating on building up. Once you’ve done that you could look at what else to do with your money – maybe you could put it in a Stocks and Shares ISA, or you could choose to create a holiday fund. The point is one thing at a time.
Embrace doing nothing
Let’s be honest, since the various Covid-lockdowns a lot of us had to get very comfortable with doing nothing. And while that was great for boosting our corona savings, it resulted in a whole heap of boredom. If you’re looking to lead a simpler life, then being able to embrace that time where you’re doing nothing can offer a lot of mental and financial benefits.
Instead of thinking of it as ‘doing nothing’ consider it as a blank space. You could start meditating, relax, think, and generally just learn to be without the pressures of constantly needing to fill a void.
Let others take the weight
We live in a world that’s highly connected. You have access to experts at your fingertips – if you wish to explore – and yet often we feel like we need to take on the world ourselves. But if you want a simpler life, then why not look at ways that you can remove some of these tasks? For example, if you wanted to invest without needing to spend hours, days or even weeks researching, buying, selling, and monitoring your investments then why not let a company like Wealthify do it for you?
The impact that outsourcing things will have on your finances will vary from case to case, but you might want to think about the expertise that you’re acquiring and the time you are saving. So, if you’re thinking of making your life a little less complicated, why not take a look at whether investing in a Stocks & Shares ISA with Wealthify is right for you?
As with all investing, your money is at risk. The value of your portfolio can go down as well as up and you could get back less than you put in.
Wealthify does not offer financial advice. Please seek financial advice if you're unsure about investing.