Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”
With complex lives, we waste time, we waste money, and we waste energy. Simplifying our lives gives us back that time, money, and energy – so that we can spend more time, money, and energy on those activities that are really important to us – the items we included in our vision of our ideal life.
Simplicity is fighting affluenza.
Thirty years ago, I discovered this quote from Richard Stine: “Is there not more to life than getting stuff? And getting More of it, Bigger of it, Faster of it, and then stuffing what you can’t use now somewhere so you can use it later. If this is so… what a sad routine. How really very, very sad. ON THE OTHER HAND… know for sure that you are rich when your hunt for alternatives becomes sincere.”
Do you really need to spend time with that group of people that you find boring; do you really need a bigger house? Or do you want it so that you can store the things that you don’t use and don’t need? Do you really need to watch all of that TV, or are there other ways to spend your time that are more supportive of your real values and goals?
Is the pursuit of money and stuff stealing time from your family, your health, and your relationships? As Richard Stine told us, you will be rich "when your hunt for alternatives becomes sincere."
The most practical way of simplifying is to live within your means – actually, well within your means. If you can’t afford it – don’t get it. In my opinion, this is the most important financial habit that anyone can adopt to increase enjoyment of life. Living within your means results in no debt, minimal stress, and increased energy to spend on the things that mean the most to you.