50 Things I Already Don't Spend Money On

I read a lot of personal finance blogs and articles, and I find it interesting how other people cut back a ton of spending in response to difficult economic times (student loan debt, unaffordable medical care, expensive rent, competitive job market, low wages, etc.). But for myself, there wasn't much I could cut back on since I already follow basic, common sense saving recommendations. 

I wouldn't call myself an expert in saving, but I am more of a saver than a spender.

So without further adieu, let's see what kinds of things personal finance bloggers recommend people not to buy that I already don't even spend on.

  1. Makeup

  2. Bleach and other toxic cleaners

  3. Netflix subscription

  4. Alcoholic beverages

  5. Going to bars and clubs

  6. Throwing parties for people

  7. Meals at dine-in restaurants

  8. The latest hit albums on the iTunes homepage (obscene cover art makes my eyes bleed)

  9. Gym membership

  10. Cigarettes (ew...gross)

  11. Movies and movie tickets

  12. New York Times bestselling books that are popular today and forgotten tomorrow

  13. Tacky, gaudy clothes

  14. WEDDINGS - seriously, this takes the cake (unoriginal pun intended) for the most exorbitant expenses

  15. Gas station snacks

  16. Snacks at grocery checkout lines

  17. Candy

  18. Designer purses, totes, and handbags

  19. Cable TV

  20. Board games

  21. Video games

  22. Women's magazines

  23. Harry Potter fan products you find at bookstores and Wal-Mart

  24. Any product relating to a fandom

  25. Celebrity merch

  26. Jewelry

  27. HOLIDAY DECOR

  28. Heels, wedges, and ballet flats (I'm a sneakers and flip-flops girl)

  29. Overhyped self-help books

  30. Overhyped InstaPoet books

  31. Amusement Parks

  32. Vacations

  33. Home decor items

  34. Rugs

  35. Decorative throw pillows (just more clutter for the room)

  36. Unnecessary kitchen supplies

  37. Spotify Premium

  38. Random arts & crafts supplies

  39. Planners

  40. Anything related to sports

  41. Fad diets

  42. Courses that seem like get-rich-quick marketing schemes

  43. Luxury bath products

  44. Hair straightener and curling iron

  45. Boho-chic clothing

  46. Disney stuff

  47. Anything that is ugly and aesthetically unappealing

  48. Excessive number of mugs and cups

  49. Concert tickets

  50. Furniture that I can't fold or pack into the trunk of my car

 

Five Things I've Learned from Failing My First Three Blogs

1. Blogs are not online diaries and shouldn't be treated as such. 

The earliest blogs, especially on blogspot/blogger and Wordpress.com, gave me the impression that a blog is just an online diary. When I started blogging, I treated my own blog like that just for a place to express my most genuine self without withholding any emotion. However, writing on a blog in this manner is not a good approach if you want to be be taken seriously and put yourself out there in the best light. 

2. Talent, passion, and acting upon your feelings will not get you very far. The key to growth is consistency, organization, and a solid work ethic.

A lot of writers and bloggers think that being passionate and stubborn in defending the worthiness of their dreams will make them successful and happy. This is why after experiencing such little growth on their blogs within weeks, most of them either quit or post less frequently until they abandon it for good. The most successful bloggers may not be the most artistic or imaginative or even passionate, but they experience growth because of a consistent posting schedule, persistence, and their ability to show up and do work, even when they don't "feel like it." 

3. When you are starting out, the blogosphere can have an overwhelming amount of information on what you should and shouldn't do, which can lead to burnout and indecisiveness. Focus first on creating content that you wish existed. 

The best strategies in the world and focusing solely on gaining followers will not help you if you don't have great content in the first place. You need to identify what you know best, why you want to write about those topics, and how to share it in a way that's relatable, relevant, and engaging. 

4. You need to focus on a few topics that you know a lot about and are naturally interested in because writing about too many topics will make you seem disorganized and flighty. 

Most blogs fail because they lack focus and clarity. Part of creating a cohesive personal brand is to make it clear that you are focused on writing about certain topics that you are an expert in. It's harder for you stick to a posting schedule and to retain an audience if you are scatterbrained and have ideas from all over the place.

5. Don't talk about your dreams or how great they are.

A lot of bloggers like talking about the great novel they're writing, their "brilliant" dreams, their potential for greatness, and their fantasies for rapid rise to success. The time that you spend talking about your dreams could be used for working on your projects. Don't promote your unfinished product before it's done or make any empty promises to yourself. Most people like talking about what they want but do very little to implement changes in a way that facilitates their plans.

The Seven Stages of Personal Success

1. Identification

The first stage of achieving personal success is first identifying what is wrong in your life. Are you living paycheck-to-paycheck? Are you living in a toxic environment? Are you stuck in a job where you aren't able to maximize your potential? Do you feel a disconnect between the life you are in and the life you want? Are you always rushing but still unable to find any time to get things done? Do you often find yourself wishing that you had the power to advocate for yourself and master your surroundings? Are you stuck in the past or anxious about the future?

The key here is not to complain about what you can't change or make excuses as to why you are still stuck in the same situation for prolonged periods of time, but rather, it's for you to see reality for what it is, be honest with yourself, and identify what you need to change  in order for you to move on, and create a life of prosperity and wellness. 

2. Self-awareness

Know who you are from the inside out. Instead of pretending that everything is going fine, be brutally honest with yourself and understand why your life needs a major overhaul. This begins with knowing and understanding yourself. Becoming completely self-aware involves a lot of self-reflection exercises such as journaling, listing, relaxing, meditating, doing work that engages the authentic self, and even streams-of-consciousness types of writing. Self-awareness sheds light on the self that we were all taught to ignore, just for the sake of societal approval and instinctual survival.  The goals of becoming self-aware is to identify your genuine self, to know who you are without regards to people's perceptions of you and to understand how you can facilitate your own growth with the abilities you already have. 

3. Self-evaluation

Self-evaluation is the process of measuring where you are. You can measure it quantitatively by creating a measuring system for every aspect of your life (such as health, finances, income, progress towards completing a project). When your life is not going so well, it may be tempting to ignore these things, but before you make any changes, you need to evaluate your life and see how you really are doing, instead of deluding yourself into thinking that things will go away on their own without you taking any steps or even having an idea of where you are stuck.

4. Change

Change is most effective when it is done in small, manageable increments. If you are constantly running late or missing out on opportunities simply because you don't have enough time in a day, think about what you can cut out of your schedule, identify which demands are yours and which are imposed on you, and see if you can carve out time to do what would help you get ahead and make impactful changes in your life. A lot of personal failures stem from the belief that there isn't enough time in a day to accomplish what you want to do, and often the instinctual need for survival causes you to operate in fight-or-flight mode, which makes you anxious about immediate survival, rather than long-term growth, thus you postpone personal growth activities and stay stuck in the fight to stay alive (which always involves making decisions based on fear and avoidance of pain). Making a conscious effort to change requires more than what the instinctual self is capable of, so it is best to implement small changes at a time, and sticking to it, instead of vowing to change everything at once. 

5. Creation

Depending on your circumstances, life path, or career move, creation can be personal, professional, or a blend of both. Creation is not only the process of producing something true to you, it is also the process of clarifying certain aspects of your life and presenting it in a way that makes sense to you and enables you to have some level of control over what you're known for, which prevents others from assigning labels to you based on what they only see on the surface. And by designing a life in which you actively create your own work, you develop a great level of persistence, which enables you to refine your work and find ways to improve. 

6. Connection

People may be able to create personal success with a full awareness of themselves, meticulous self-evaluation, and dedication to mastering their craft, but without connection, all of these efforts will not bring them very far. A lot of people do not achieve the success they want, not because they are untalented, but because they are unable to share it with their intended audience. Achievement involves connecting with people who find value in your work and are most likely to support you because they resonate with what you're trying to promote. The key to making good connections is to care about your audience, to enlighten them, and to bring change to their lives. 

7. Momentum

Momentum is the driving force that propels all six of these principles forward. Self-awareness and self-evaluation won't matter if all you do is leave this knowledge in your head and don't take any actions towards change. Making change won't matter if you don't even know where you want to be. Creating original and wonderful work won't matter if you don't keep improving yourself or intend to make your current creation better than the last. Connecting with others won't matter if you don't find new ways to keep them engaged and interested in what you will continue to do. Momentum is the key to sustaining growth and ensuring that success will remain a success. 

Disillusionment with the Digital Self-Help World

It's no surprise that with the rise of the Internet, millennials aspire to create their own space for sharing their thoughts, opinions, and feelings on certain topics of interest to them. Whether it's through starting a blog, starting an online magazine, or simply posting on social media, many young people who are dissatisfied with merely consuming media have jumped on the self-help bandwagon where everyone shares advice on how to live a better life. How to change yourself. How to change the community. How to change the world. How to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be and defy the status quo. And resist all conventional ideas that you were taught to believe in and never be afraid to go after your wildest dreams.

No wonder people are empowered by this and spend days online fantasizing about a grand lifestyle where you are in charge of your own life and don't have to earn the approval of certain gatekeepers or appease any type of authority figure at the expense of your spirit. 

I, too, have been enamored by this new world that my generation has created. The world in which people can create intricately designed vessels with streams of ideas flowing from the heart and spirit of the most genuine and nuanced self that most people fail to see. The world in which people can share their biggest aspirations and confide in each other in the form of a blog post that engages the reader and reveals the most brutally honest parts of us that we were all taught to hide out of fear and guilt.

But as time went on, I began to feel disillusioned by this so-called new world of dark confessions, naval-gazing essays of delusions of grandeur in the form of self-pity, and overly trite and formulaic lists about being happy (which always includes redundant pieces of advice such as gratitude, waking up early, being healthy, and doing what you love). I've been discouraged by how common my goal was with everyone else's (at least with everyone in the blogging world) and how difficult it is to carve a space for myself when all other spaces are occupied. Though many hold to the belief that success is abundant, I don't believe that there's enough "success" to go around, if all success really means is gaining a massive following, repeating what everyone else has already said, and watering down life to clickbait-y listicles.

Certain people will have more success than others. People who are attractive and take better photos will gain more followers than people who aren't photogenic and don't take photos. People who have sites with plenty of white space will have more visitors than people who design their sites with crazy, bold colors. 

The problem is, people think they're so special that they're the ones who are going to become the next popular blogger, but they'll soon be forgotten and lose readers who aren't fooled by their redundant formulas for happiness.

I don't aim to be a generic self-help, follow-your-dreams type of blogger, nor do I want to be associated with this trend. All I want to do is explore what interests me and write about ideas in a way that's true to me. People are so caught up with the idea of success and what they can gain from followers, and often lie to them and say they are special and will get out of whatever situation they're running from. And many bloggers don't take the time to evaluate themselves or seek out ways to present similar ideas in a manner that no one can replicate. Only people who are genuine creatives will write without expectations of any quantifiable results, and they won't end up like bloggers who spam followers on social media, pollute their sites with ads, and sell cheaply made and poorly-designed books with formulaic get-rich-quick schemes. 

Despite the high amount of competition and a lot of sameness (and clickbait) going around, I can't not blog because I enjoy it, plain and simple. Blogging helps me understand myself and how I think. I don't have a noble or lofty goal for it - I simply blog for personal enjoyment, and I'll continue to blog, regardless of what others are doing and regardless of external measures of success.

My Blogging History: Intro

It might seem like I'm a new blogger, but I have been blogging on and off since 2012 on various platforms - I've tried Blogger, Tumblr, Wordpress.com, self-hosted Wordpress, and now Squarespace. 

I started my first Blogger blog back in 2012, and it was just a journal, online. I don't remember much about it because it was my first one and a lot of the posts were random, and I wrote whatever I felt like writing. I didn't write too much on that blog, since that year mainly revolved around finishing up senior year of high school, getting ready for college, and writing my first novel.

In 2014, I started a poetry blog on WordPress. I had no intention of growing a following, but I ended up with 65 followers within the first month, but shortly after, I stopped posting on there, and I honestly have no idea why I deleted it though.

In early 2015, I suffered from a major breakdown (that involved academics, family, personal identity crisis, etc.). I started one of my most "successful" blogs on WordPress.com, since it really was the first time I posted consistently and frequently for three months straight (and gained 120 followers in the process). I wrote about my darkest feelings, the most painful experiences, along with a few pieces of short fiction and poetry. However, I deleted this blog since at the end of June, I no longer felt that it was necessary to express myself in such a manner.

After college graduation, I decided to start another blog, this time with a self-hosted WordPress site. I blogged about minimalism, personal finance, and anything I've experienced, but this felt more like a chore, probably because my heart was set on gaining followers and producing content that was better than other bloggers', not for enjoyment's sake (plus, I got a lot of spam comments with a lot of empty flattery). All I did was focus on myself and how I was better than other people, and this was taking a toll on my mental health, so I deleted that blog and did not start a new one for a while.

Now, here we are. My blog of 2018. After a lot of self-reflection and honesty with myself, I decided to pursue blogging again, this time for a very simple reason - I enjoy it, I have a lot to share, and I think blogging without any expectations or external validations is a practice that allows me to process my thoughts, express them in a way that resonates, and clarify my purpose in life. 

It's Time to Say Goodbye...

For the longest time, I've wanted to write an epic modern literary fiction novel. Some writers believe that only two types of people want to write novels - those who appreciate the craft and want to create good literature and those wannabes who think they can be the next rich and famous author of popular fiction. I thought of myself as a writer in the first category, since I wanted to create multi-dimensional and dynamic characters unlike any other character in literature along with a compelling storyline with subtle nuances and varied perspectives that grasp the complexity of human nature and their interactions with their darkest selves, others, spirituality, nature, art, and the rest of the world around them.

And indeed, I did complete a novel in school. However, I felt it wasn't good enough for publication and I needed more practice to refine my craft. And I thought that writing a second novel after graduating from college would be the perfect time to release something so profound yet written in a simple and engaging manner will shock, enlighten, and delight audiences who have entirely different interests yet all share in the same human experience. 

But that aspiration slowly turned into an addiction - subtle at first, yet it was eating away at me for days without end. I tried to force words to come out, but they never did. I wrestled with an identity crisis because I thought I was expected to write a great novel to make up for my lack of connections and lack of finding success in the "real" world, and I panicked at the thought that I would die without having ever produced a grand, epic masterpiece. I even ascribed my own moral superiority on the fact I have the potential of writing great modern literary fiction and do something more meaningful with my life than just eat, watch TV, pay bills, shop, and sleep. However, I knew deep down that I was far more interested in what others would see me as instead of the actual writing itself. I thought that writing a novel would save me from my feelings of unworthiness and give me a competitive edge in life. But the truth is, it won't.

Every time I walk into a bookstore, I leave empty-handed. I don't buy fictional books because I haven't found stories that interested me (plus, dropping $20 on a book that I'll only read once just wasn't practical). I started to get bored with fiction when I was in college and became more interested in blogging and poetry.

How can I expect others to care about my novel, if I don't care about others' novels? I haven't read any fiction at all for the past year simply because the books that "make it to the top" are pushed for one of two purposes - to entertain (gratify fleshly desires) or to indoctrinate. And a lot of obscure indie fiction books have plots that are either trite or pretentious with not much in between. 

It's sad to think that so many writers out there think they will produce the next great American novel (and don't get me started on the next great British novel), but many of them will reach the end of their lives, languishing in obscurity and all the feelings that come with it - despair, sickness, self-loathing, vengeance, and ill feelings towards others who belittled them. Some people claim that writing a novel does make them happy, but for me, it did not. All it did for me was brought out feelings of insecurity, jealousy, anger at the world as it is, and desperation for anything that would validate my existence. All unhealthy obsessions which lead me further away from what I actually did enjoy - types of writing that help me focus on the present reality, as opposed to writing that draws my attention towards the uncertainties of the future.

And now I've come to say goodbye to a lifelong dream of mine. The dream of writing an epic novel and all the accolades that could potentially come with it. The dream of writing a literary fiction masterpiece and all the external validations from strangers and acquaintances alike. And though I feel that a part of me just died, I know that this is the best decision. I know I'll be happier focusing on poetry, blogging, and songwriting instead of locking myself in a dark room writing thousands and thousands of words and having to start all over again draft after draft, knowing very well that novel writing won't pay for my health insurance, car insurance, or car maintenance, let alone food (but that's beside the point).  At least I know I'm being honest with myself and it's such a relief to have this off my back. No longer will I be attached to or infatuated with the idea of something. No longer will I beat myself over the head for not crossing the finish line faster than other writers. No longer will I constantly compare myself to others who have what I don't. Instead, I'll be more focused on what comes naturally to me and what helps me be more aware of the present. It's a good goodbye and with certainty, I can say that I am glad I have come to recognize it and put an end to false hopes.

This doesn't mean that I'm completely ruling out fiction writing though. It's just no longer going to be my number one priority in life. I don't need to pressure myself write an epic 1,000-page magnum opus before the age of 25 or assess the value of my self-worth based on how much greater a work is perceived in comparison to other works. I could write a simple, yet compelling and profound novella or even a collection of short stories. I could die having published one work of short fiction and still die happy. I've come to realize that in the grand scheme of things, nobody cares whether or not I write millions of words over the course of a lifetime or just a few hundred thousand - the most important thing is to get my work out there, instead of trying so hard to be perfect and not able to complete anything. An 8/10 that's complete is far better than an 11/10 that will never see the light of day.  

Maintaining a Simple Lifestyle

1. Understand your root motivation and purpose for living simply. 

Living a simplified life is easier if you can identify the specific "why" behind the general "what." Do you want to write a book? Do you want to inspire change and influence the way others think? Do you want to make music that no one else is making? Do you want to travel more? Live in a smaller, neater home that fosters creativity, relaxation, and rejuvenation?  Not have to worry about emergencies? Save more money to supply your passions? Not have to live paycheck-to-paycheck? Not have debt as your slave-master? By identifying what you honestly want to do in life, you will be more determined to pursue a minimalistic lifestyle and be ruthless in rooting out things that make you feel overly stressed, drained, powerless, and unproductive. 

2. Organize your room every weekend.

This simple practice helps you re-organize not only your living space, but also your life. It's important to re-evaluate what you want to do, evaluate how external things affect your internal reactions, and come up with new ways to be even more organized and make the next week less chaotic than the last.

3. Let go of past memories and thoughts that paralyze you.

This is one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining a simple life. Within a matter of days, you may find it easy to clear out clutter, create a more solid routine, and stop buying things that do not help you with your goals - and by doing these external things, you may think that you have it all together, but then you realize you can't get easily get rid of the feeling of weight holding you down. That's because letting go of past events, guilt, and other people's negative judgments of you can take years to do since they are internal distractions, which are far more difficult to root out than external distractions. They still paralyze you, hold you down, and make you progress more slowly than you would like to. And despite how much conscious effort you make to forget the past and forget about how people have left you scarred, those memories will always follow you around. When that happens, remember that all you have is now and the present is an echo of eternity - living in the past is like living in a graveyard of dead dreams, suffocating sorrows, and hemorrhaging hopes. Whenever doubt arises and fear threatens to paralyze you, know that you are no longer who you once were and focus more on what brings you most joy and what you are able to do today because that is all you have now. You no longer own the past, neither should the past own you. 

4. Avoid situations where you fall into the black hole of comparison and competition.

It is so easy to get caught up with what other people are doing, how far ahead of you they seem to be, and how much other people praise them for being the best. Unfollow people who make you feel insufficient, stop eavesdropping on people's conversations, and stop evaluating how unworthy you are in comparison to someone else. Understand that you are here on earth to live, and do something worthwhile that only you can do. Anything that is done for the sole purpose of attaining extrinsic rewards will burn in the flames of obscurity on the day of your death. And seeking to validate your existence based on other people's judgments of you is not only depressing way to live, but it also costs a lot more time, energy, and even money because you will try to do too much just to prove that you can do the work of 15 of the most talented people you know and seek to overpass them, not out of love, but out of spite for those who criticize you for not being sufficient or worthy enough. Your mind, body, and soul mustn't be traded away to prove that you are worthy to those who have oppressed you and aren't satisfied with anything you do - regardless of how much blood, sweet, and tears you have shed to earn their love.

5. Make a realistic, daily routine that works for you. 

A daily routine is there to keep yourself accountable, know exactly when you have the most amount of energy and the least amount of energy, and what's important for you to do today. A daily routine helps us focus on what is most important to us and how much time we need to accomplish certain tasks. However, it is important not to condemn ourselves for not doing enough, so it is imperative that you make one that is realistic and allows for flexibility to accommodate any change of plans or simply an unscheduled block of time for recuperation and self-reflection.

Simple: Part II

The pursuit of simplicity isn't something virtuous or superior to the pursuit of pleasure and other things that deliver immediate gratification. It's not a philosophy or an application of philosophies of the enlightened, though the world may interpret it that way. 

I live simply, not because I want to be more virtuous than others, but because I am easily overwhelmed and want to take control by eliminating things that aren't essential to me. That is not to say that I live as a nun or live with just two pieces of clothing, a bible, and a hymnal (I am not under the law of strict asceticism). I still like nice things, and I like my gadgets, clothes, stuffed animals, notebooks, etc. However, I am not burdened by incessant demands from the world or have the instinctual need to hoard or accumulate things just for the sake of my self-image or to fulfill an empty void within me. I used to buy a lot of books, which I half-heartedly liked, but the main reason was that I idolized the idea of people perceiving me as a "deep thinker" if I read certain books and kept up with the latest and greatest in 21st century philosophical spirituality and pragmatic self-improvement. I used to buy a bunch of music like classic rock albums and obscure albums by random artists just so people can be impressed by my "deep" and eccentric music tastes. I used to buy a bunch of clothes that I thought would make me look more fit, sophisticated, and stylish. All of these purchases were foolish, since I ended up donating a lot of these after I graduated from college and moved out. 

I no longer buy any clothes for a "better future me," (since that is a fantasy mentality that most women succumb to when they go shopping). However, I do have at least one basic outfit for different situations (weddings, interviews, special events, etc.), just so I do not have to do any last-minute shopping or spend more than I need. Most of the clothes I own are practical, simple, and versatile. 

I rarely buy any digital music because I don't feel the need to keep up with the music industry (both mainstream and underground), and I only buy from the very few artists I like. I've stopped impulsively buying books since my ability to write isn't defined by how much I read or how much I spend on building up a library of books that other writers say that I must read to be better version of myself. I read what I want to read. I like what I like and I've found that over time, my likes have been fewer in number and I have grown more selective about what I spend my time, energy, and resources on. I cannot afford to buy all the things that others recommend, so I need to be very selective and bring in only what would improve me the most. 

Simple

I don't have a lot of stuff. I never moved around a lot as a kid, but after moving three times within the past two years, I realized that there was too much clutter in my life (despite the fact that it was able to fit in a little Honda). I still wanted to get rid of as much as I could.

I've spent weekends since then purging, throwing away, donating, and a bit of selling. Decluttering is by far my number one hobby and I always feel refreshed and more focused after it's done. 

Clothes: All of my clothes are blue (mostly sky blue but a few darker blues), black, white, and green. I don't have a lot of color because I like having everything color-coordinated. I am not a super minimalist with under 20 items, but I have the right number of items for me because I do like pretty clothes and like having some options.

Shoes: I only have four pairs of shoes (white sneakers, black ankle boots, Hollister flip flops, and blue faux leather sandals). I wear sneakers and flip flops the most.

Technology: Desktop, laptop, iPad, iPod, Camera, phone, Chromebook

Stuffed animals: I have more than the average adult, but they do fit into one box and I don't plan on getting any more.

Books: KJV Bible, pocket Bible, hymnal

Office supplies: one pencil, pack of pens, colored pencils set, scissors, USB's, notebooks

Instrument: Guitalele

That's pretty much all I own! 

25 Little Things You Can Do To Make Life Less Hectic

  1. Add gas to your tank when it's half-empty.

  2. Throw out what you don't need or use.

  3. Know your top three priorities in life. It's fine if you have more, but make sure you have the time, energy, and resources for each (if not, cut it out).

  4. Schedule car appointments at least three days in advance.

  5. Clean your room every Sunday (or whenever you want to).

  6. Wake up an hour (even better, two hours) earlier than you do now.

  7. Have a capsule wardrobe.

  8. Write down a to-do list the night before.

  9. Write a master to-do list the week before.

  10. If you have somewhere to be, leave one hour in advance (speaking from personal experience, it seems like traffic incidents always happen whenever I have an appointment, interview, meeting, etc.).

  11. Before you leave the house, check that everything's turned off and make sure all doors and windows are locked.

  12. Put your keys into your pocket or purse immediately after you kill the engine. Don't leave keys locked in the car.

  13. Go to bed an hour earlier.

  14. Eat at the same time every day.

  15. Sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

  16. Limit social media use to 2 hours a day.

  17. Don't say things you'll regret.

  18. If you want something, put it on a wishlist and see if you still want it after a month.

  19. Instead of creating a monthly budget, create a weekly budget (for monthly bills, calculate the amount you need to set aside a week). It's easier to save little chunks at a time instead of having a large bill stare at you menacingly at the end of the month.

  20. Have one outfit ready for different special events. You do not need more than one for each type of event.

  21. Have one general resume ready at all times.

  22. Chill without Internet for a day.

  23. Be proactive in preventing any possible annoyance - ranging from an inconvenience to a full-on emergency. This means making sure your car doors are actually shut and lights are off (to avoid battery drain), making sure the stoves are turned off (to prevent fires), turning off faucets and anything that's not in use, remaining watchful whenever you go out, making your home as theft-proof as possible, and being careful about who you share personal information with (ideally, shared with no one).

  24. Organize your bag and charge your phone the night before.

  25. Keep a junk journal of unfiltered thoughts that you keep only for yourself.

10 Obstacles That Stand in the Way of a Simple Life

If a minimalist lifestyle were so easy to attain, then more people would be pursuing it. The truth is, there are many obstacles that prevent many of us from making radical to make our lifestyles work for us instead of us working for our lifestyles. These obstacles leave us with crippling amounts of debt, a lifestyle we can’t afford, health problems, emotional distress, and anxiety over the future.

1. Fear of what other people think. This is the number one reason why people hold onto things that have no meaning to them. They’re afraid of letting go of material possessions for the fear that others may think they’re crazy. They’re afraid of saying no to extra work loads for the fear that they may be seen as unambitious and downright lazy. They’re afraid of not showing up to every social event for the fear that others may exclude them and they’ll end up lonely. They’re afraid of not keeping up with the latest entertainment for the fear of missing out and not having something to talk about.

2. Dishonesty with ourselves. I’ve been dishonest with myself for quite a long time, especially during my late teens and early 20’s when I wanted to be an engineer, an intellectual, a young 21st century philosopher, a young adult fantasy author, a modern classic science fiction author, a famous pop singer, a fierce lone wolf who also was well-liked by others, and an attractive woman who was more desirable than the most beautiful model. I was chasing after all these things and created these unrealistic demands for myself to accomplish by the age of 22. I wasn’t being honest with myself about what was achievable with what I already have. It’s critical to be honest with yourself, acknowledge your own vanity, understand that outward “success” isn’t a measure of your value, and be content even when nobody is giving you recognition.

3. Being easily manipulated and influenced. Many of us are easily influenced by external things like advertising, the media, politics, and our peers. However, not all of these influences are good – in fact, most of them are bad because they instill fear of the future and feed on our insecurities in order to get us to do what they want. And this often results in spending more money on what we don’t need, pretending to be someone we’re not, and living a stressful life chasing after things that become worthless in the end.

4. Allowing others to determine our self-worth. Sure we all have things we need to improve on, but when we let other people zero in on our imperfections, we begin to question our self-worth, doubt that we’re capable of pursuing a life that’s good for us, and waste away our lives trying to prove them wrong in order to “earn back” our self-worth in their eyes. And that always complicates our lives because there’s a disconnect between what they want you to be and who you are.

5. Feeling insecure and inadequate. The more insecure and inadequate we feel about ourselves, the more likely we will overwork ourselves in order to prove that we’re ambitious enough, spend more money in order to prove that we’re rich enough, and try to be friends with everyone in order to prove that we’re outgoing enough. However, even if you do all these things to prove that you are not insecure or inadequate, it will never be enough for anyone you’re trying to please.

6. Feeling bored easily. People tend to spend the most money when they are bored. They waste their time with TV or other media when they are bored. They fill their lives with the most meaningless things when they are bored. Boredom causes us to be unsatisfied with our lives and fill us with the urge to buy or do something that looks “fun.” However, the more we feel bored, the more we trash our lives with random junk in order to achieve a short-term state of pleasure. In the end, this robs us of our time, money, and energy – which we could have utilized to pursue a greater purpose in life.

7. Having the urge to “do something” all the time. People think that doing nothing is very unproductive and that we should be overflowing our schedules with as much as we can. Not only does this cause us to lead stressful lives, it also makes us too busy to evaluate what is absolutely essential to us and what only distracts us from that. We don’t have to fill every waking moment with frivolous activities. Likewise, we don’t need do be doing something all the time to validate ourselves to others.

8. Letting past mistakes define us. This prevents us from creating a life that will truly make us happy because based on our past mistakes, we believe that we don’t deserve to live a life free from debt, stress, or bad health. Letting our past mistakes label us as failures is the most dangerous thought because it causes us to believe that our past forms our core identity and has power over the future. The truth is, it doesn’t. Who you once were is not who you are and not who you will be in the future.

9. Not understanding who we are. When we don’t have a solid foundation that forms the essence of who we are, we are lost. We spend our lives searching for what will make us feel “complete,” buying things to relieve stress or boredom, and working on things that make us believe we are worthy enough. Knowing your strengths, passions, and purpose can simplify your life, helping you avoid things that won’t contribute to that purpose or won’t bring long-term happiness.

10. Fear of being nothing. When people think of minimalism or a simple life, they think of people living in an empty house, doing nothing, eating nothing, and being nothing – unknown to the world, leading unexciting lives, not buying “fun” stuff, and overall just being a boring nobody with nothing. However, this is a huge misconception because people who live a simple life keep only the few things that are valuable to them and spend their time doing only the few things that bring them joy and align with their purpose in life. Despite minimalists being perceived as “having nothing,” they are the ones who are content with what they have, feel no pressure to fill their schedules with unimportant things, have enough savings, are debt-free, are more focused in their area of expertise, know that they have nothing to prove to anyone, and don’t allow others to manipulate them or make them feel inadequate. So it’s okay to be “nothing,” because you will have everything – everything that you value and deem as important.