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Thread: Your best simple living advice?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Your best simple living advice?

    As I have mentioned on another thread I am facilitating a couple NWEI Voluntary Simplicity classes.

    While some folks are very simplified, others are just starting -- and with varying levels of ambition.

    So is there any wisdom you'd bestow upon simple living noobies?

    For instance, one person in the class, a Yoga Teacher, brought up the idea of what she called "non-comparison," suggesting people not compare themselves to others in the class.

    Another person brought up the Sunk Costs Fallacy with regard to divesting of physical possessions.

    Thoughts? Ideas?

    Thanks!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  2. #2
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    I love the "non-comparison" idea. That gives you a lot to think about! Too many people need to have the latest/greatest and suffer from Smith/Jones complex.

    These are the ideas I follow as a thrifty cook, which I think also aid in following a simple life.

    -Set a budget (mine is $125/month for two adults).

    -Use CA$H and buy food ONLY.

    -Choose food that is economical but nutritionally dense. One of the easiest ways to follow this tenant is to choose foods in season. Another way is to fill your kitchen with - ingredients - not highly-processed foods. Buy food that the fewest number of people have handled in order to get it to your home. So buy a bag of apples, not pre-sliced apples or a processed apple product (applesauce, apple pie filling, apple-flavored junk food).

    -The ultimate "FAST" food is whole foods. Wash/peel and eat; or maybe a small amount of heat processing (steam, stir-fry) for low-energy cooking and processing.

    -Eat less food that is expensive. That's why I keep meat purchases to $10 per week. Eat less food - PERIOD!

    -Make food from scratch - and that includes making your own "convenience" foods and snack foods. If I want potato chips, I make them from scratch. I pop whole corn kernels in a popper, not expensive bags of microwave popcorn....

    -Grow your own food, and find as many FREE sources as you can.

    -Stop throwing away food. Wasted food is the most expensive food you buy.

    -Make foods that were used by peasants - fit for a King/Queen. In other words, up-grade your cooking skills.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    That any simple living change or challenge you try is under your own control, and if it doesn't work for you, you can always stop doing it. Some people seem to get so freaked out by the idea of change that they act as if it's an irrevocable death sentence and wind up putting up all these hyperbolic walls for themselves. I remember suggesting to one member here that she try to go a day without sugar, and she basically said, 'but that's so hard, it would be impossible for me'. How do you know til you try? And if you go three hours without sugar and think life is not worth living, then have a donut!

  4. #4
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I like the concept in YMOYL of figuring out your real wage after you factor in all the time commuting, getting ready for a job, extra costs associated with having a job, and evaluating purchases against this "life energy" cost.

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    Choose a life partner who is in line with your ideas on simple living and financing. Otherwise it will be an uphill climb. That being said, you will not likely agree on everything and that is the learning moment for what each of you consider important. Work on it.

  6. #6
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    As for food - learn to soak and cook beans and make them into great dishes. Eat lots and lots of high fibre low cost, low fat foods to fill up. But you have to learn to cook to some degree.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Cultivate the free or low costs things in life to do for entertainment. They are usually better for you anyway in stretching ou mind or your body.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Miss Cellane's Avatar
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    A long time ago on another version of these boards, a wise woman wrote:

    You can have anything you want. You just can't have everything you want.

    Those words have really helped me, over time, make decisions. Yes, I can have this quick, easy, treat, or I can save up my money for something bigger, more important, more longer lasting, more useful. Yes, I could have that ice cream cone. Yes, I could buy an new TV today. Yes, I could get that trendy shirt. In both green and blue because I can't make up my mind.

    Or I could save the money. Put it in a savings account/invest it and make more money. Save it to buy a house. Save it so that when I need a new car, I can pay cash.

    It also means that if you value a home with clean, open spaces, you can't buy a ton of junk that will clutter it up.

    Accepting that you can't have *everything* means that you think about your choices more. And, with some luck, you make better decisions.

  9. #9
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    get a library card, read the booklet that tells you everything that can be done at you library and at home. Do those things, like free museum passes or free databases.

    if your goal is a clutter-free environment but you aren't well, you can get it done, work for 15 mins in one room and stop. I can do many things in 15 mins. Do another 15 later. This is very slow going but I am determined to have empty dresser tops, closets with only what I actually wear, etc.

    invest heavily and aggressively in retirement vehicles when young so maybe you can stop working sooner, with a fully funded simple life ahead of you

    a clean, stream-lined home filled with only what you use or love, a library card, a good 'ol loyal dog and you are set for life.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    I agree with what Miss Cellane said.
    Set your goals, whether you want to travel, get a degree, start a business, retire in 10 years... then make all your decisions based on whether they are going to bring you closer to your goal or not.

    A big goal of mine has been to optimize my health. Here are some simple and cheap things that have helped my heath a lot:
    • Sleep on the floor (rug, mat, thin futon, replace your mattress with a piece of plywood - any hard surface.) This keep your bones and spine in alignment and reduces stress on your muscles. I have far fewer aches and pains since sleeping on the floor.
    • Arrange your schedule so you get the optimum amount of sleep for your metabolism.
    • Don't eat crap.
    • Get outside a lot.
    • Go for a walk everyday.
    • Find an exercise program that works for you and actually do it. I got an inexpensive ($3) used exercise bicycle and I ride it for 30 minutes a day, usually while reading.
    • Listen to your body and use medical care sparingly.
    • Meditate a few minutes a day.
    • Brush and floss frequently (at least 2x per day.)
    • Try fasting. It makes you aware of how much you are eating, helps you to learn what REAL hunger feels like, and makes you appreciate your food. I fast at least one day per month.
    • Don't follow the fads and take all the latest supplements.
    • Learn how to make a good soup with vegetables and beans, and make this a staple in your diet.
    • Figure out the optimum balance of protein, carbs, fats, and fiber for you, and shoot for that.
    • Avoid negative thinking.
    • Ask for help when you need it.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. -- Gandalf

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