I chose these 5 tips as they helped me to reinforce my ideas of how to live a more simple life, they may not be for everyone, we are all different after all, but I also think that anyone can do them and they cost very little money, if any at all.
1. Go to be earlyI went for many years on very little sleep, so I know how wretched you can feel with having little to no sleep, mine was from an hormonal imbalance, but it is easy to get into the habit of going to bed late. Some people are night owls and find it impossible to go to bed early, while others burn the midnight oil, watching TV or catching up on house work, socialising or spending time on a hobby they love. I am not saying you should give up doing what makes you happy, but if you are constantly battling to get out of bed in the morning because of late nights, maybe it is time you re-thought your bedtime. Money can't buy a good nights sleep and it is fantastic therapy for your body and mind. I find you are more productive and resilient if you have had at least eights hours of good quality sleep. I like to get up early, about 4.45am, so I make sure I am in bed by 8 and asleep by 8.30 to get my 8 hours of sleep. I have an app on my phone called "Bedtime" there is a little alarm that goes off at 8.15 so I know it is time to turn the light off and go to sleep. I treat good quality sleep as a free beauty treatment.
2. Menu PlanIf there is one thing you can start doing that will guarantee a simpler evening, menu planning is it. There is nothing more frustrating than arriving home late afternoon only to start thinking about what to cook for dinner. Take some time before you go shopping and really think about your week ahead. Come up with a meal plan for seven dinners that will fit in with your schedule for the coming week and that also reflects produce that needs using up. Always check your fridge, freezer and pantry and plan around what you have already and then only shop for what is needed. Menu planning is set and forget, you only need to do it once a week and then not think about it again till the following week. Knowing what is for dinner saves time and money and takes the stress out of "What can I cook for dinner tonight".
Technology is ever-present these days and it pulls at our attention from the moment we wake till we go to bed. I am not saying it is a bad thing, but too much of it isn't good for you either. If you live your life looking at what other people seem to be doing with their lives you may start to compare your real life with theirs and feel either inadequate or put pressure on yourself and family to do the same. Do yourself a favour and unplug or limit your viewing time of the TV, computer, mobile devices and social media. It will free up your time to channel into doing something for yourself, your home or simply spending time with your family. I know we all communicate differently these days and everyone has a mobile phone to keep in touch, it is a life line for some people but it can be a serious distraction for others and sometimes it even replaces the need to talk to the person that is sitting next to you. I don't do Facebook as I have always said I have too much real life going on. I do use the computer, obviously, but it is very much time limited and are on and off it as quickly as possible. I don't mindlessly scroll though what looks interesting at that moment, I always have an idea of what I want to find and stay on track.
4. Grow somethingI believe growing a garden connects you deeply to your home in a way that nothing else can, you don't need a lot of space and you will be rewarded with fresh produce far superior to anything you can buy at a supermarket. You can start with one pot of herbs and see how you go, I would recommend planting what you use and also choose herbs that are easy to grow. Parsley and basil grow easily, so these herbs are a good place to start. Invest in a good quality potting mix and planting seeds is much more economical than buying seedlings. I use this guide for planting out and find it very successful. Keep the water up to the new seedling until they are established especially if they are in a pot. Put them in a position where it is sunny and handy for you to check on them. I also mulch deeply to retain the moisture in the soil.
Once you have had success with growing herbs it may give you the encouragement to grow more.
5. Make Bread
I think making bread is the gateway drug toward a simple and frugal life. It is not hard to do, you don't need fancy equipment just your hands, flour, water, salt, a little sugar, butter and yeast will make a very simple but delicious loaf. It is quite addictive and there is nothing that smells more like home than a loaf of bread baking in the oven. I made bread for years just using my hands and the loaves were lovely, just make sure you give the dough a really good knead to give it a good texture and rise, it is also a great work out. If you prefer you can pick up a bread maker from an Op shop very inexpensively and let the bread maker do the kneading for you, then turn the dough out and form into a loaf, in whatever shape you like. The bread you make at home for your family has no preservatives or numbers, is wholesome and so yummy, once you start you won't be able to stop. I make either one large or two smaller loaves a week.
I would love to hear your top 5 tips for living a simple frugal life.