I've listed some ways that I've personally done to simplify my life and in the process either saved money or even made some money!
Here are my top 10 tips on simplifying your life:
1. Declutter & Purge - We all tend to accumulate "stuff". When it becomes a bit overwhelming, it's time to declutter your home, your car, your closet, your purse/wallet and your office. I allow myself to purchase one new (or vintage) item as long as I've purged one item out aka the "one in, one out" rule. I usually have a garage sale (extra money, yay!) or donate it to charity once I've edited things I no longer need or want.
2. Organize - Now that you've gotten rid of unnecessary clutter, it's time to get organized! I've found that baskets are a great way to keep things neat and tidy. I use baskets for towels in the linen closet, for office supplies, I even use baskets in my refrigerator. Keep paperwork, bills, invoices, etc.. labeled and filed in folders. You can also save a lot of time by organizing your closet so that you can see everything at a glance. By having a place for everything it will make it easier and simpler to find things when you need them.
3. Consolidate Finances - Although I believe in having a diversified investment portfolio, I think having one or two banking institutions has made my life a little more simple. I only use one credit card (linked to my checking account) which I always pay off each month. Plus it's a cash-back rewards credit card. I keep track of all of my expenses daily, so there are no surprises (like fraudulent charges). I have my savings and CD's with Ally Bank, which is a great online bank that offers one of the best interest rates.
4. Make a List - I'm a big believer of writing things down. Whether it's a grocery list, an errands list, a 5 year goal list, etc.. I think it's important to visualize your tasks or goals. For example, by having a list when I go food shopping, I tend to stick to the list and in turn save money along the way. It's a great feeling to cross something off my list once I've accomplished said item on list.
5. Eliminate Cable & Landline - I eliminated both my cable/satellite and home phone line years ago. It's so freeing to not waste time flipping channels looking for shows I don't really care about. I now only watch my favorite shows (queued on Hulu) online for free when I want to. I got rid of my landline and only use my cell phone, because my cell plan is unlimited everything (click on Solavei banner below), this saves me a lot of money! My only home technology expense is internet, which is less than $40 a month.
6. Plan Errands Efficiently - When I run errands or go shopping, I try to do it all in one trip. Not only does this save me time and effort, but it saves on gasoline as well. If there's a coupon that's about to expire and it's something I am actually going to use, I plan my trip around that day.
7. Automate Payments - Most people already do this - by automating your bill paying online, you will never miss a payment, which means you avoid late fees plus you save money on postage. Set up auto payments for your mortgage, credit card, utilities, etc.. online. Make sure to keep track of your recurring expenses so that you know you're within your monthly budget. You should also automatically deposit a recurring amount to your savings account.
8. Don't Let Things Pile Up - The most overwhelming part of tidying up is when it's a big pile of mess! Don't let things get to a point where it seems too much to take on. For example, when the mail arrives, designate whether it's something to keep or toss in recycle bin. Also, when you have enough dirty clothes for a large load (in cold water to save energy) then it's time to do laundry. Rather than waiting till there's a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, wash them after each meal. By doing chores when they need to be done will seem less daunting.
9. Pay Off Your Debt - This is easier said than done, but once you've eliminated or at least reduced your debt, you will feel a sense of freedom that's priceless! One tip I've already shared is to pay off your credit card balance at the end of each month, which means you don't incur interest charges. I have a set amount each month that I try to not go over (barring emergencies of course). Tackle your lower balanced loans or debts first and try to pay those off right away. If possible, use cash as much as possible and only spend what you can afford to pay off.
10. Eat Leftovers - I think it's a shame when perfectly good food goes to waste. Often times when we go out to eat, I or some of my friends have food they couldn't finish - I'm always the one packing it up to take home. By eating leftovers, it's just one more meal I don't have to worry about cooking, plus it's über frugal. Another simple tip that goes a long way is to make chicken soup in a slow cooker, this can make several cups of soup and clean up is easy!