Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

8 Tips for Editing Your Life that Work for Any Budget

Yesterday we featured a story about a $275 DIY murphy bed to show that an edited life is by no means for people rich enough to choose less (rather than having less imposed upon them).

Let’s be clear: excess is far from a rich man/woman’s dilemma. Watch an episode or 2 of Hoarders for proof. Cheap housing and consumer goods have made virtually every socioeconomic bracket victims of excess…and crippling debt. The average American household carries $16K of credit card debt!

And sure, we love great architecture and product design–much of which has a steep buy-in cost–but there are infinite things you can do for little or no money to start living an edited life. Here are 8:

  1. Edit your possessions. Go through your closets, drawers, file cabinets. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used something in the last year, you probably won’t use it in the next. Toss it, recycle it or, better yet, give it away, get a receipt and use it as a tax break. Is your stuff too expensive to give away? Sell it and make some money.
  2. When you do buy, buy high quality stuff you like and will use. Okay, so this might sound a bit contradictory, but sometimes the way to save money is to spend it. How many times have you skimped on a purchase, buying the inferior thing you don’t like because the high quality one you did was twice as expensive? Then the inferior things breaks, doesn’t get used or becomes the unwanted child of your possessions. If something is 2x as expensive and lasts 4x as long (or is used 4x as much), that’s half the price of the cheaper thing.
  3. Get rid of your books. Few things take up space like books, and eReaders have come a long way, and dropped way down in price; e.g. Kindles start at $79 and have thousands of free titles. Want something cheaper, download a free Kindle app that allows you to read on your phone or computer.
  4. Get rid of paper. Switch all of your bills and statements to online only (put them on autopay if possible). Scan receipts. Work on completely digitizing every form of receipt, bill, statement, etc. This save paper and clears clutter for no additional cost.
  5. Take a walk. We don’t think about cars taking space, but they do–a Honda Civic sedan takes up 85 sq ft. of it. Cars’ collective footprints increase the size of our homes and cities. This is not to mention the ongoing money and stress of things like gas, insurance, upkeep, etc. Few things simplify your life–and save money–like ditching your car. While we know it’s not feasible for many to do this, if you’re moving, consider a place where you can walk, bike or use public transport to the various activities in your life: work, groceries, etc. Your health, planet and pocketbook will thank you.
  6. Get some budget transforming furniture. Sure, it’d be great to have an unlimited budget for furniture, but few of us have that option. There are countless folding tables, sleeper sofas, folding chairs and affordable DIY options that can add tons of utility to a small footprint.
  7. Try a sharing system. Maybe you’re having a baby, try a toy-sharing system. Maybe you need to use a car once or twice a month, use a Zipcar. Maybe you have wedding to go to, rent your dress or tux. Why pay full-time salaries and overhead charges for the stuff you only need to perform part-time duty?
  8. Consider moving into a smaller home. When moving, think about what you really need and trim at least 20%. The amount of stuff we have is not a fixed thing–it expands and contracts depending on the amount of room it has to occupy. Smaller spaces are cheaper to buy and rent, easier to maintain and have built-in safeguards against accumulating too much stuff, and when laid out right, can have all the utility of a much larger space.

image from fopple.com

29 Comments

  1. juanic32 says:

    Re: #3 – if you want something even cheaper, you can check out books at your local library.

  2. Wendy, Bono AR says:

    I am having a real estate/personal property auction next month. That way I will pare down to only the essentials without having to do a rummage sale by myself. I am looking forward to getting a house half the size I’ve got now!  I’m glad I found your website and I’m getting great ideas and encouragement to go smaller!

  3. I love my library and I’m keeping it but our family has done the other 7 on your list and and it’s an entirely new world. No storing unused items, no insurance for them, no dusting them, no looking for them; consequently, time and money for stuff we really want to do. My skeptical husband admits he likes the free and peaceful feeling in his man cave.

  4. [...] more of a spiritual connection to our abodes. Articles found on Life Edited include such gems as: 8 Tips for Editing Your Life that Work for Any Budget, and 5 Shopping Tips for Buying Less Stuff. We never realized just how much more efficient and [...]

  5. Miko Fulla says:

    Great advice. I made a rule last year to purchase ONLY secondhand wherever possible (i.e. I can’t get secondhand underwear or toothpaste). The result is not just saving money, and reducing my carbon footprint, but because the time spent waiting/looking forces me to consider things better before I buy them — sometimes I’ll realise I don’t really need the item, or I can borrow it from someone I know.
    P.S. the font selection makes the page hard to read.

  6. Moonshore says:

    I really agree with your tips and lifestyle,but I haven’t been economicly independent . And I deciside to live editedly in my own house in the future  .

  7. Pam says:

    We recently sold our 3,000 sq/ft monster home and moved back to our 500 sq/ft love nest in Boston (since we are empty-nest baby boomers). Life is so simple and glorious. Managing all that stuff was so energy draining. We have found a movement in Boston of 50 somethings doing the same thing. Highly recommend it! Thanks LifeEdited!

  8. [...] Friedlander writes the articles for Life Edited and this one is one of my favourites — 8 tips for editing your life that work for any budget. The tips and advice from this blog are easy to do and have made my life simpler and happier. One [...]

  9. Life Editing says:

    [...] a vehicle for life editing, using sharing as a way to live a simpler and happier life. Check out 8 tips for editing your life that work for any budget to start getting rid of the tangible and intangible clutter in your life. Read the post that [...]

  10. TheWineLover says:

    The link for the $275 murphy bed is defunct… repost?

  11. [...] are 8 tips for editing your life that work for any [...]

  12. [...] caught me about this article was the idea of “editing your lifestyle” – and on a budget no [...]

  13. [...] Edit your life with any budget. [...]

  14. Dakota Eye says:

    I got to- get rid of books and had to stop. Nothing beats real paper books, the smell! The ability to poke through the bookshelf of a friend, the ability to loan out books!!

  15. [...] end items you want to turn into cash? Check out Luxury Garage Sale. And while you’re at it, edit you life, starting with your closet, no matter what you have in [...]

  16. [...] This month I’m working on Simplifying and this article I ran across was good inspiration, if a bit intended for those with larger homes – 8 Tips for Editing Your Life That Work for Any Budget [...]

  17. [...] trying to get rid of anything that is not only clutterling my room but also cluttering my brains. Edit my life, so to say. I thinking of of getting myself a filofax – which has the most amazing planners [...]

  18. [...] Here’s our advice for you if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff in your home.  Get some garbage bags, one for trash and a few for donation/giving away/selling. Throw on some cleaning music and sift for an hour or two (check out Songza and 8Tracks for great cleaning playlists. We like this Summer Cleaning playlist and these upbeat Cleaning Tunes). We also love this article from Life Edited with 8 Tips for editing your life that work for any budget. [...]

  19. [...] 8 Tips for Editing Your Life that Work for Any Budget [...]

  20. [...] ways to edit your life & stuff. I’m going through this phase right now & it is so [...]

  21. [...] were right in the sense that Hill oversimplified the issue, but they proved it by oversimplifying his argument. The truth is Hill can do this and then just buy whatever he needs when he needs it. The truth is [...]

  22. [...] are some other practical tips on editing your life and streamlining your possessions.  Less is [...]

  23. Indigo Colton says:

    Hello! I wanted to let you know that I’ve linked to this wonderful post in my monthly round-up of the best things I’ve found on the web. You can view the post here: http://spikesandstardust.com/2013/09/27/september-delights/. I hope you have a lovely day!

  24. di says:

    Start with a list of what you do want. Then discard the remainder. It’s much easier than fussing over individual items.

    Condense to:

    7 tops and 7 pants to create 49 outfits
    3 pairs of shoes
    One-pot recipes
    One set of dishes and utensils
    2 sets of linens
    3 sets of towels

  25. […] We’re hoping that we won’t be here long but, while we create a sustainable exit strategy, I find myself coming back to all the ways I’ve edited my life in the past year. I’ve been taking a critical look at how I approach ownership of stuff. With the help of LifeEdited, I’ve explored many different ways of being able to do this, starting with 8 tips for editing your life that work for any budget.  […]

  26. […] 8 tips for editing your life that work on any budget […]

  27. […] simply take up space? Focus on buying items that last and keep only the essentials. Hill has more tips for editing that work with any […]

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