Starting to Live Frugally
Downshifting by definition means trading a high standard of living and low (often highly stressful) quality of life for a higher quality of life. A downshifted life is a simpler life and often richer in time rather than in money. So, in order to downshift, one needs to have some money to spare at first. This might not necessarily be a lump sum in the bank. It might be equity tied up in your home or other possessions that you could sell. Downshifting might then involve moving to a smaller home or a similar home in a less expensive area or selling some of your possessions.
If you are in debt then this is an issue you will probably want to tackle as a matter of urgency. Living frugally and downshifting your lifestyle may well form part of your plans for lifting yourself out of debt. It can be a very satisfying way to decrease your living costs without feeling that you are depriving yourself. Here are a few simple things to try for one week to demonstrate to yourself that you can reduce your costs and change your money spending activities: - have a week that is media-free i. no television, radio, newspapers or magazines and notice how you are less tempted to spend money on what you feel you "ought to have." - Stay away from supermarkets. Buy your food only from local independent retailers or farms. Notice how much less you spend on food now that you have to work a little harder to get it and that you are less tempted to impulse buy. - No eating out or takeaways. If you feel like having a food treat, make yourself a special candle-lit dinner. There is an important difference between poverty and frugal simplicity. Poverty is involuntary and disabling whereas frugal simplicity is voluntary and empowering. .