Simplify. This is a word that has been on my heart as an individual lately. As a new wife and a millennial “newer” to the work force, I’ve been juggling all of the typical responsibilities such as paying bills, buying groceries, planning meals, managing time and purchasing clothing when needed. In each of these areas I’ve been taking steps to simplify my life. We live in a world where being busy somehow corresponds with productivity and higher status. We, as a culture, have lost sight of simplicity and deliberate rest. Amidst my acts of simplifying life, my husband and I have also been wrestling with the question: “What does it mean to live within our means?” In America, we feel in order to thrive, we must have more. And more… And more. More money, more time, more food, more clothes, more things. The list goes on. I’m here to share some tips I’ve found helpful in saving both time and money.
- Bills, bills and more bills. Try turning off the heat in the winter and the air in the summer. When you leave the house for the day to go to work, make sure the heat/air is turned OFF. By keeping your air conditioner/ heater on at all times during the day, you’re not using the air conditioner efficiently, because leaving the air- or heat- on all day results in a higher use of energy. You could also try altering the temperature on the thermostat by one degree. In doing so, your air conditioner is working at a difference of 5%. This is a sure fire way to reduce your utility bills in no time. Grayson Bell delves deeper into the subject here.
- Another helpful tip to save money on bills is through insurance. Insurance companies offer discounts for having multiple policies with one carrier as well as bundling your home and auto together. An option for some is to opt for higher deductible plans. This mean you’re taking on more of the risk, so the insurance company doesn’t have to. This, in turn, can help in decreasing ugly insurance premiums.
- MEAL PLAN! This is a huge one for me as I am an avid foodie. Meal planning has helped me to control the number of items on my grocery list, ensure we’re eating healthy meals, as well as saving money. My husband and I pack our lunches for work, and we eat at home most nights for dinner. In order to do this, create a list of meals and snacks that fit your lifestyle and budget. Then, make your grocery list according to these meals, and when you go shopping be sure to purchase ONLY the items on your grocery list. Nothing else. Let me just say crockpot meals are a MUST in our home and end up saving us tons of time. On average, our grocery bill is approximately $50 a week for two adults!
- Moment. This is an app that automatically tracks how much you use your phone each day. If you’re using your phone too much, you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. You can even force yourself off your device when you’re over your limit. This can be helpful in recognizing how much time is wasted on social media and computer mediated communication in any given day. Trust me, this is an eye opener. And it’s free!
- Time blocking. Experts say they can increase productivity by 50% through the use of time blocking. So what exactly is it? Time blocking is loosely based on Parkinson’s Law, the idea of which is that work will simply expand to fill the time available for its completion. If you have a backlog of tasks to get through or a deadline to abide by, time blocking can help keep you on track while keeping distractions, procrastination and unproductive multitasking at bay. Click here for a link to a step by step guideline that includes a downloadable template!
These are just a few of the tips that allow me and my family to have “Peace of Mind. Ensured”. Try them out, so that you too can find time to rest and enjoy the simple things in life.
Photo Credit: NBC News