If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.
Living a minimalist life can you wings. Your baggage is less so you can fly high—do whatever you want. Although it’s a difficult goal to achieve where there’s a will there’s away. What I have experienced is that when you reduce your wants to half, the joy in life gets double.
For me—and my wife—living a minimalist lifestyle is working wonders and we’re able to achieve so much peace and true happiness that we didn’t find earlier. There are many benefits of living this way:
- Better relationships
- More freedom
- Focus on health and hobbies
- Less focus on material possessions
- More peace of mind
- More happiness
- Less fear
- More confidence
- Boost in spirituality
We have not only reduced the stress in our lives but also reduced our carbon footprint on the planet. We feel more connected to the universe other than things and this has made us a more joyful, friendly, and loving-kind humans.
And guess what?
Our dustbin is half!
We consume less, hence we waste less. This song has been my inspiration since childhood.
Although everyone must need to find their own pattern and formulas that work for them, here are some of our successful tips:
- Getting down the ego trip: The first recipe for a simple and minimalist lifestyle is to get rid of your false ego. False ego makes you bind and you can’t see flip perspectives in life. Life is not a race. There is no timeline and deadline for anyone, anything. As soon as we learned this, we were saved from collecting things that we don’t need. We buy only those things that we need and not because the whole world is using. We don’t care about others. We live life on our teams and listen to what our hearts say. We’re not ambitious for a load of money, gold, huge home, fast car, expensive gadgets, etc. but for peace, compassion, kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, simplicity and true happiness. Obviously, money is needed, but we have to define our own need and greed.
- Refuse: We have stopped using one-time plastic and another environment unfriendly stuff. We use copper or steel utensils in our home and have stopped buying bottled water—we carry our own steel bottle that has boiled water. It’s alright to buy it sometimes when you don’t have access to clean water but just doing it out of habit is really bad for your health and the environment.
- Reduce: We have stopped buying too many things. Believe me, we just shop a couple of times in a year. I was born in a lower-middle-class family where there was always a shortage of resources. We had a pattern of maximum utilization of resources but as I grew up and started earning a lot of money, it all went down the drain. But I soon realized that my love for things is making me a lesser human being.
- Recycle: Mother was a graduate of home science and she used to recycle almost everything in our home. We have reconnected to those values and try to recycle leftover soap, furniture, clothes etc. There’s a lot of DIY stuff on the internet you can watch to learn how to recycle.
- Declutter: During my 4-year long sabbatical, I learned the art and craft of living a minimalist lifestyle and the first thing we did was decluttered our home and mind. We removed half of the furniture and donated it for a good cause. This helped to create more space in our When there was a lot of clutter in the home, we seldom invited guests. We, consciously, live in a small home and we couldn’t have guests all the time because our home was filled with things. Now, we have a guest year long as there is a lot of space in the same small home. Having more people visit us has made us happier human beings and our social connections are healthy. We also decluttered our closet and donated half of the clothes for a good cause.
- Home food: We have successfully reduced our habit of eating outmoded food to half. I used to eat a lot of outside food that cost my pocket a lot and it increased my bad cholesterol. We, mostly, cook home food for our guests—they love it and it saves us a lot of money. Home food is always healthy and is full of love. BTW, foreign alcohol doesn’t excite me, so this saves me a lot of money too!
- Cost cutting: Coming from a lower middle-class family, cost-cutting was part of life in my childhood but life changed when I started earning. I blew a lot of money in eating, drinking, shopping at expensive places. Now we have cut down all those expenses to more than half. We have made a budget for spending. You can get good food, clothes, footwear etc at the low process, it just takes a long time to hunt for it. If we go out for a meal, we usually go to a simple—but good—restaurant. We usually avoid going to cinema halls to see films. The tickets are expensive and usually, the crowd is disturbing their neighbors Even if we go to see a film, we sit in the seats nearer to the screen. The tickets are less expensive and there’s no one to disturb us. We usually find solace in watching films on our phone or desktop PC at home. Did I forget to mention that we use basic smartphones?
- Low impact travel: I never traveled on public transport since I started earning. I thought it to be disgraceful but during my sabbatical, I had no income so the only way to travel was by public transport. We have also stopped traveling by first class on the local train. The ticket for the second class is ten times cheaper and the rush is the same. The best way to do is to choose a time other than peak hours. If we have to go on a vacation, we try to break up the journey in air, rail, and It’s difficult to find a balance between time and money but it’s possible. We aren’t interested much in traveling abroad so that saves us a lot of money to travel domestically at new places every time. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t done foreign trips. We have done a lot of them but we stay and eat in inexpensive places and travel mostly by public transport; wherever possible. But never compromise on safety and quality.
- Smart spending: This can be quite subjective, but somehow, we have been successful at curbing our unnecessary expenses. We try to live a simple life that is not around money but around time and relationships. When we got married, we took a short sabbatical to plan our life and made a list of the things we want to do and don’t want to do. We also made a list to cut down on This way, for us, less is always enough; if not more. BTW, we don’t have any EMI on us and we have planned it that way.
- Less baggage: We never see wealth as baggage but we have understood that too much of everything is never enough. I had a couple of investments that we’re eating a lot of money and a big piece of my peace. I got rid of those immediately. I am so much at peace now as I don’t have too much to handle. We want a peaceful life but that doesn’t mean we don’t have investments. We’ll be a millionaire if we live long enough to reap the fruits of the little investments we have made.
- No credit card: We have stopped the use of credit card for many I observed that when I was using one, I always had this compulsive disorder to buy things as I could pay later. This would always affect my yearly balance sheet. I was consistently in debt to some of the other banks. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a credit card. I have one but I use it only in case of an emergency e.g. I had to use it when my father was counting his last breaths in the hospital and I had to settle a bill.
- Live in the present: We don’t save much as we don’t earn much. It’s always good to have a futuristic vision but not good to live for the future. We try to live in the present as much as possible. Not having a child was a personal choice we made and hence we anyway don’t have to live for the future. This way we have a lot of time for ourselves, relatives, friends and the society.
- Technology: This is the best part of the age of the internet. We use a lot of mobile apps that give us discounts and cash back. We keep looking out of offers and use it now and then to save some money.
- Cut people from life: My wife doesn’t have many friends but I had hundreds of friends that I thought were friends. Eventually, I realized that they’re friends but just for good times at a bar; an expensive one. We would never meet anywhere else and never there for each other in times of distress. I also spent a lot of money with such friends so I decided to cut them from my life. Guess what? Now I only have a handful of them left. The real ones. These are the ones with whom I can even enjoy my silence. We’re there for each other regardless of the budget and place we meet.
- Charity: Now you would ask me how can we give if we don’t have enough? The answer is that you can give something even if you nothing. You need to understand that charity is not only money. It can be things, time, knowledge, love, mental support, networking etc. There as many ways to give as there are grains of sand. We give our time for good causes. We also donate money as we always tend to save something for the needy ones. This makes us simple and loving-kind human beings that in turn help us live a minimalist lifestyle.
The above tips are from our personal life experiences. I think the main force that made this happen was that we got free of false ego and fear.
We have understood that we came empty handed and we’ll leave empty-handed. Reading a lot of ancient scriptures and spiritual content has helped us to understand ourselves, life, prosperity, happiness, the universe and the interrelation of everything with everything.
Too much of everything is never enough.
You might even not aspire to live a life like we do, and that’s perfectly fine. I request you to find your own formulas in case you want to live a minimalist lifestyle; like us.