I used to think that I needed to acquire all of the things that I saw in my aunts’ and mother’s houses; I used to think that when I “grew up” and lived on my own, I would have a china cabinet, cookbooks, furniture in every corner, and expensive artwork. I finally realized that I don’t need any of that stuff; in fact, I think, all of the “grown up” items we think we need in our homes only add clutter and serve to acquire more things.
Staying organized and clean is so much easier when you have fewer things. Living a meaningful, joyful life is so much easier when you simplify your life.
I must admit, however: I do own a china cabinet with some very beautiful Waterford crystal, wine glasses, and pretty pink china teacups, which were all either wedding gifts or inherited, but I don’t need these items, I rarely use these items, and I would never buy these items.
Living simply doesn’t mean you have to be a minimalist and own only 30 things. While sometimes I wish I could own only 30 things and spend my life traveling around in a tiny house on a trailer, it’s not realistic (for me, at least). I’m married, I want to have children, and I live in the city of Chicago. But that doesn’t mean I can’t live a simple life.
You can live simply and frugally in the city.
In fact, living simply and frugally in the city might be easier than living simply and frugally in the country!
Here are 5 ways you can live simply in the city:
1) Public Transportation:
Forget buying a big, hawking SUV! That Land Rover will be a nightmare to parallel park, will rust from snow and salt on the street, and will cost you a fortune in city stickers and parking meters, alone (don’t even get me started on taxes, gas, and red-light tickets). Take your city’s public transit system; you won’t have to shovel your car out of snow, pay for gas, or worry about where to park the bus. Taking public transit simplifies your schedule and your spending!
2) Farmer’s Markets/Produce Markets:
You can find fresh, organic produce that is in season and cheaper than Whole Foods’ produce. Scouring a farmer’s market on a weekend afternoon also makes for free entertainment. Free and simple – in the city!
3) Buy a smaller home:
A bigger home means a higher mortgage, but also increased electric and gas bills. You’re heating and illuminating more house, which means more of your hard-earned money goes to paying bills. A bigger house means more rooms to clean, more dust to accumulate, and more place to store stuff that you don’t need. Owning a smaller home means you don’t have space to put all the stuff you’ve bought, which means less clutter and more money saved!
4) Drink at the Dive Bars:
Some of the best mustaches belong to Chicagoans. If you’re looking for entertainment, don’t overlook the many “dive” bars that line city streets. You will certainly save money on alcohol if you drink at a dive bar as opposed to a fancy, trendy spot downtown; you’ll also meet way more interesting characters with better stories to tell.
5) Shop at Thrift Stores in the fancy ‘hoods:
Save your money and simplify your shopping trips by shopping at garage sales and thrift stores in the wealthy neighborhoods (or even head to the upscale suburbs). Your wallet and your closet will thank you.
Sometimes, we believe the lie that living in the city costs more and makes life more complicated. But small town does not have to be the only way to live simply. Reducing your clutter, owning a smaller home, thrift shopping and farmer’s market shopping, and taking public transportation can not only save you money, but also simplify your life!