Save Money By Living a Simpler Life

by Derek

Are you intrigued by saving a few bucks here and there? Do you unplug your power strip every time you leave the house, just so that you can save $5 a year on electricity? Or, maybe you never open your windows while driving because it creates drag and therefore wastes gas and money. You might even be one of those people that has their thermostat set so low in the winter that you have to pull out your coat once in a while just to warm up. While all of these methods may save you money, they don’t really make that much difference, and sometimes your tactics turn you into the Chief of Cheapskates at the office. It might just be me, but I like to steer clear of that “honor”.

Simplify Your Life

My Personal Example For Saving Money

I admit that I do have some weird tactics for saving money, but for the most part, I like to make saving money simple. I’ll lead off my explanation with an example.

My dad in law is a very generous man. Over the years, he has acquired quite a few tools and other odds and ends. He not only lets me borrow them from time to time, but he’s given plenty of useful items to me as well. Recently, he got his hands on a snow-blower and thought that I might want it – he even offered it to me free of charge! Most people would have jumped at the opportunity, but I told him I’d get back to him.

You might initially think that I’m crazy for not taking the snow-blower home that same day, but let me take you through my thought process:

  1. I asked myself, ‘what was I using now?’ A shovel. Since we have a small driveway, it really isn’t that difficult to clear the snow with a shovel; plus, I kind of enjoy the exercise. The cost of the shovel: $6.
  2. Where would I put a snow-blower? I really don’t have a spot for it. Our garage is a super-small one-stall and wouldn’t have room to hold it. We’d have to build a separate shed to store it when it wasn’t in use. The cost of this might be in the realm of $1,000.
  3. Cost of repair. If my shovel broke, I could buy another $6 shovel. If my snow-blower broke, I’d most likely try to fix it or feel that I would have to replace it. This cost could easily turn into a $200+ expense.
  4. Cost of maintenance. A snow-blower takes gas and oil, and while it may not add up to that much over time, it’s still an expense. Shoveling is free.

Ultimately, you can probably guess that I did not ever decide to take that snow-blower home. I’m content with my shovel, and it will definitely save me money in the long run.

Other Areas of Money Saving

Another main area that will save you money is that television of yours. How much did you spend on that thing? $100? $500? $1,000? $4,000? Whatever the cost, this was an unnecessary expense. You could have saved on the initial cost of of the TV, and you wouldn’t have to worry about wasting electricity when you watch it!

That sound system in your car is a completely unnecessary expense. It would have been much wiser to keep your money and listened to a bit more treble. No one really needs to feel their seat vibrate as they drive down the road.

Live Simpler, Save Money

Doesn’t it just make sense to live simpler? The fewer things you own, the fewer maintenance costs you will have, and the more you will save in the long-run! Live a simpler life, and you will start seeing your bank account grow beyond your wildest dreams! It’s not easy, but it certainly is worth it.

What do you think about this method of saving money? Do you live a simple life?

photo  by:  mullica

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Jai Catalano February 15, 2012 at 8:23 am

My father’s philosophy was unlimited funds limited possessions.

Derek February 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Sounds like a good philosophy to me!

Grace February 15, 2012 at 8:41 am

Even cheaper than a shovel for that snow is a grandchild! Mine comes over and clears my porch/sidewalk on the two days each winter that we actually get snow. And he’s cute and cuddly even at age 19.

Though now as I think about it, the upfront costs of getting to the grandchild part were kinda high!

Derek February 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Ha, yes, would you like me to calculate the costs of getting that grandchild? Lol. I liked the comment though. Sounds like you have a wonderful grandchild.

Newlyweds on a Budget February 15, 2012 at 8:41 am

Wow, we must have completely different views on personal finance because while the tv may cost me money initially and also to run (ie, cable and electricity) I LOVE tv and it brings me joy.
It’s okay to spend money to enjoy life and not to just save save save so I can say at retirement I have so much money for retirement. I think it’s about balance.

Derek February 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

But, will you actually look back in your old age and say, “Man, I’m so glad I bought that TV. Remember all of the awesome memories we have because of it?” I kind of doubt it. We remember trips, exploration, and game nights! I’ll take more of those over TV.

bax February 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

I like newlywed’s take on it. We’re all going to need some things that bring us joy to make it through the day, without them, all this life stuff is kinda pointless.

Derek February 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

So the point of life is to acquire stuff? I disagree. But I guess if you value stuff and you don’t have any, then yes, life will probably suck. Even with the stuff though, how great can life really be?

Marissa February 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

We have a snowblower but chose to shovel because sometimes its more fun to have 3 of us out there doing it together.

Thankfully we haven’t gotten a lot of snow this year.

Derek February 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Now that’s what I like to hear! Spending time together and building relationships! You may as well sell that snow blower, save the money, and build the memories. Thanks for the comment.

Hank February 15, 2012 at 9:29 am

I’m starting to realize that I have too many possessions in my life and need to cut back. I really sympathize with your snow blower example. I have a garage full of crap that I don’t need that is probably costing me more to own than I care to admit.

Derek February 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

The more possessions you have, the more expenses you’ll incur. It’s best to live a simple life for a wide variety of reasons.

SB @ One Cent At A Time February 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Very good advice, kind of things I can go along with. Simple living and high thinking was my dad’s funda

Derek February 16, 2012 at 3:37 am

Thanks for the comment SB! I’m glad when I can find people that are on the same page as me! 🙂

Money Infant February 16, 2012 at 12:02 am

We have very little stuff, preferring to spend our money and time on experiences that create memories and (hopefully) enrich us mentally, physically and emotionally. We did spend $700 on a TV though…I like me some TV and often the only time we can get everyone away from other activities is by popping in a new movie.

P.S. Your CommentLuv is throwing this error: “It appears that you are offline or another error occured contacting the API url, have you set it to use www or missed the www off the api url?? check the technical settings and add or remove www from the api url.” You can delete this part of the comment, I just wanted to give you a heads up.

Derek February 16, 2012 at 3:38 am

I don’t mind watching the occasional movie. Sounds like you have your priorities in the right order. Keep it up!

Savvy Scot February 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

I agree with you on this one. I think people too often loose track of the bigger picture. I try to make high level decisions and get the basics right. I believe you have to value your own time and I value it too highly to waste time over little things like adjusting the thermostat everyday, making sure every plug is off and appliances are not on standby! Get the big things right and the rest will take care of themselves with ‘fine tuning’ 🙂

Derek February 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Major on the majors, not the minors – you’ve got it right! Keep it up Savvy Scot!

Paul @ The Frugal Toad February 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

There is a lot to be said for simplifying your life Derek. Less clutter means less stress and allows you to focus on what is really important.

Derek February 17, 2012 at 3:47 am

I know that I’m most happy when our clutter is down. Thanks for the comment!

Melissa@PersonalFinanceJourney February 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

I agree with you. We are in the process of simplifying our lives and getting rid of the stuff. It feels so much better to be free of all we don’t need or use regularly.

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