Learning ways to simplify your life in 2018 can completely change your life and future for the better.
Trying to manage your life, especially your financial life, can be difficult in today's age. Between planning for retirement, paying bills, raising a family, etc. life can be exhausting. And, we all have a lot of clutter in our life – not just physical, mental as well!
Due to that, wouldn’t it be nice if you learned ways to simplify your life in 2018?
Related: How To Reach Your 2018 Goals
There is no better time than right now to start thinking about how to simplify your life for the future. The New Year is always a good time to make goals, and 2018 is the perfect year to focus on simplifying your life. You'll be able to apply that knowledge and experience for years and years to come.
By simplifying your life, you can learn how to be happier, be in more control of your life, waste less of your valuable time, and more. All of this will allow you to enjoy life even more!
Simple living is different for each person, but in general, a simplified life means that you are getting rid of any extra mental and physical clutter, so that you can have more time for the things that actually matter to you.
I’m not saying that you need to do everything on the list below. Instead, I want you to think about what YOU actually enjoy in life, and work towards getting rid of the things you dislike and those that are not important to you.
Related reads that will help you find ways to simplify your life in 2018:
How to simplify your life in 2018.
1. Watch less TV.
I talk about this a lot on Making Sense of Cents, but because TV is such a time waster, I feel like I need to keep bringing it up!
I love a good TV show, but I can honestly say that I watch too much TV. Sure, it can be really nice to veg out in front of the TV after a long day, but the average person watches TV for over 35 hours per week!
If you were to add up all the time you spent watching TV, it would probably be pretty shocking. Can you imagine what you could do by just taking half of those hours back each week?
Reclaiming some of that time could allow you to spend more time with your friends and family, work on side hustles, get outside and enjoy the world around you, and more.
Spending a few hours less each week in front of the TV is one of the easier ways to simplify your life in 2018.
Money saving tip: Cut your TV bill. Cut your cable, satellite, etc. Even go as far to go without Netflix or Hulu as well. Buy a digital antenna (this is the one we have) and enjoy free TV for life.
2. Find free forms of entertainment.
Someone once told me how expensive it was to enjoy life. They were telling me about all of their debt and everything that goes along with it, and they also told me that their monthly “fun” budget was around $500.
Uhhh, what?! $500? A month?!
If you are trying to get rid of high-interest rate debt, I can’t think of any reason why you should be paying $500 a month to have fun.
All of that money can add up to a lot of stress! Cutting down your entertainment budget doesn’t just save you money, it is just one of the ways to simplify your life in the new year.
There are many ways to have fun for cheap. Check out How To Have Frugal Fun for some of my ideas.
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3. Pay off your debt to simplify your life.
I know you’ve heard this before on Making Sense of Cents, but this is a personal finance blog, so it’s very important to me. Whether you have student loan debt, credit card debt, car debt, or whatever else, paying it off will make managing your finances easier as you will have less debt to stress about.
When thinking about all the mental clutter we have, debt can be a huge contributor to that clutter. Debt can cause a crazy amount of stress, and eliminating your debt is one of the most important ways to simplify your life.
Paying off your debt can help simplify your budget, allow you think more clearly about your long term financial goals, and more.
Side note: I highly recommend that you check out Personal Capital if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is very similar to Mint.com, but 100 times better. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation. You can connect accounts, such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more. Plus, it is FREE.
4. Don't waste time on being negative.
We all have things that happen to us that turn the day from good to bad. Maybe your car wouldn’t start in the morning, a friend cancelled on you at the last minute, or you got a negative review at work.
Having a negative reaction to these types things is only natural, but it’s what you do in these situations that can really impact your life.
If you find that you are spending the rest of your day thinking about how bad these things are, you are wasting your time. Yes, it is really that simple.
Like I said, that immediate reaction is natural part of coping. However, instead of dwelling on the negatives that may be occurring in your life, such as feeling regret and/or gossiping, you can be more productive by using this time for things that actually matter. Moving past difficult things is, just that, difficult, but finding ways to refocus your energy will help you get through your day and life in general.
Just think about how much time you may have wasted recently by dwelling on the negative and thinking about the “what-ifs” in a situation?
Being more positive and finding ways to move past bad situations is a hard but important way to simplify your life.
5. Organize your life in 2018.
Being unorganized can cause you to waste a significant amount of time and can lead to late fees, stress, lost items, and more.
Here are some surprising statistics I found from Simply Orderly about being unorganized:
- The average person spends 12 days per year looking for things they can’t find.
- Every day, the average office worker spends 1.5 hours looking for things.
- In a recent survey, 55% of consumers stated they would save anywhere from 16 to 60 minutes a day if they were organized.
- 23% of people pay bills late and have to pay late fees because they are unable to find their bills.
These statistics are all nuts! So much time is being wasted every single day by the average person.
If you find that being unorganized is causing you to waste time and is beginning to negatively impact your life, this can be one of the more important ways to simplify your life.
To become more organized, you may want to find a day or life planner that works for you, set reminders on your phone, use post-its to remind yourself of upcoming tasks, and so on.
I highly recommend looking into different types of organizers as well. These can save space and save time!
6. Start saying no more often.
One of the ways we add clutter to our life is by agreeing to more than we can actually handle. And, I am a big fan of stepping outside of your box and saying yes to everything, but there are situations in which you may need to actually say “no” instead. If you say yes to everything, but you are ready to pull your hair out, then you may want to start saying no.
Think about everything you have said yes to in the past, and ask yourself these questions: Did that bring me joy? Did the benefit of the task outweigh the stress is caused? Was I able to make a meaningful difference for myself or someone else?
If you find that the answer to these questions is mostly no, then perhaps that’s the answer you should be giving in the future.
Saying no may allow you to have more time to focus on what you truly want, and it may be one of the ways to simplify your life in 2018.
7. Spend less time on social media in 2018.
The average person spends many, many hours on social media each week. Between Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many others it can be quite easy to waste your entire day.
I've read many statistics that say that the average person spends over five hours a day on social media!
FIVE HOURS A DAY!
LIke many of you, I am just as guilty of this. Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with people, but like I said, it can be wasting valuable time each day.
Spending too much time on social media can even lead to negative thoughts, like comparing yourself to others, trying to keep up with the Joneses, and more.
If you find that you are spending too much time on social media and that it is negatively impacting you, you may want to shut down the social media accounts that you are spending too much time on. One of the ways to simplify your life could be creating a time block so you cannot access your accounts during certain periods of the day, and so on.
8. Pay expenses annually or semiannually.
There are some bills that you have to pay each and every month, but if you were to find ways to eliminate some of these bills by paying for them annually or semiannually it can be one of many ways to simplify your life.
Instead of paying for bills like home insurance and car insurance monthly, you might want to look into paying them every six months or once a year. You will probably qualify for a discount if you do this as well.
If you switch from monthly payments, that’s two less bills to worry about each month!
You will probably have to adjust your monthly and yearly budget to do so, but looking at and adjusting your budget is always a good thing to do anyway.
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9. Declutter (and maybe even downsize) your life in 2018.
Decluttering your life to simplify it can lead to many benefits, such as the ability:
- To save money. In some cases, a bigger home can cost more due to higher utility bills, more clutter being bought, higher insurance, more maintenance and repairs needed, higher purchasing price, etc.
- To have less clutter. The bigger your home, the more likely you’ll have empty rooms that you feel the need to put stuff in. Now that we live in an RV, we are much more mindful of what we buy. We think about every purchase in terms of weight, size, where we can store it, and more.
- To spend less time on maintenance and repairs. If all the other factors between two homes are the same (age, location, etc.), a bigger home is more likely to take up more of your time and money due to more things breaking.
- To spend less time cleaning. A larger home is going to take a lot more time to clean than a smaller one.
10. Think about what is truly important in your life.
Just as finding ways to simplify your life is an important thing to think about in the new year, so is thinking about the things that are truly important to you. The new year is always a good time to reflect on what you want out of life, and it can help you find ways to focus how you can achieve your goals.
By making a list of your priorities and the things in life that are important to you, you'll be able to simplify your life by eliminating any extra clutter that may be holding you back.
This is because you'll know and see exactly what is important to you, and you'll be able to differentiate between things that are important and those that are not.
This is a great way to learn how to simplify your life in 2018 and can help you to clear your mind.
11. Finally stop paying for cable.
The average monthly cable bill is over $100. By the year 2020, the average cable bill is expected to be around $200 a month.
If you are trying to watch less TV as one of the ways to simplify your life, cutting the cable is a good step in the right direction.
We don't pay for any form of TV (not even Netflix!), and it definitely helps us to live simply.
However, if you aren’t ready to quit paying for TV all together, there are lots of options that allow you to only pay, usually much less than cable, for the shows you want.
12. Have less clothing options.
The average successful and wealthy person has a very limited set of clothing options, as this way they have more time to focus on things that truly matter.
By finding items that already match one another and by having a smaller wardrobe, you'll have more time to focus on other things in life and this can help you to drastically simplify your life in 2018.
If you want to focus on this as one of the ways to simplify your life in the new year, start by looking at the items you wear the most and get rid of the one you haven’t worn in months. It can feel really good to clean out your closet! You can then start to build your wardrobe around the items you know you love and will wear more often.
13. Automate your payments.
You can automate a lot in your life, and fortunately, automating your bills and income payments has only gotten easier and easier. You can have your paychecks direct deposited (many people still deposit their checks manually), you can select to auto pay your bills, you can even auto pay your monthly credit card payments. Sometimes, going paperless can give you discounts on some of the payment you make on a regular monthly basis.
Automating your payments can even make managing your budget easier!
Even though I check through all transactions and expenses, I still automate many of my actual payments so that I never have to worry that something was forgotten about. Most of my expenses are similar from month to month, so I can usually just check the payment to see if everything is correct.
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14. Gain confidence in 2018.
This can be one of the most difficult areas to work on, but I really do believe that gaining confidence can help you to live simply and enjoy life more.
Gaining confidence isn’t an overnight thing, rather it starts by finding small ways to believe in yourself.
And, once the ball gets rolling, your confidence will allow you to improve your life rather than dwelling on things that scare you.
Confidence can lead to you:
- Attaining the things you deserve in life.
- Getting the job you want.
- Making more money.
- Reaching your dreams.
- Public speaking.
- Meeting new people.
- Networking like a boss.
- Managing a business or employees.
- Traveling the world, and more.
As you can see, gaining confidence can help you in many, many different ways and can help you to enjoy your life more.
Learn more at Be More Confident And Get What You Want In Life.
15. Add reminders to your phone's calendar (or any calendar) so you don’t forget.
Like I mentioned in the previous point, creating a reminder can be a huge help. I know this firsthand because if there is something coming up that I know I will not remember, I will create a reminder. This makes managing my life easier because I don’t have to worry about forgetting things, missing payments, etc.
I create reminders for things such as:
- Business tasks and to-do lists.
- When it’s time to pay estimated quarterly tax payments.
- Renewing license plate tags for our cars.
- Paying semiannual bills, such as car insurance.
Crazy enough, many people do not actually do this.
You can use your phone to remind you about all sorts of things, like when it’s time to pay bills, take medications, bring back library books, call a friend, etc.
16. Slow down as one of the ways to simplify your life.
There are some days when it feels like all you are doing is rushing from one thing to the next. The next thing you know, you’re climbing into bed wondering how the day went.
Maybe you’re rushing through life on an even larger scale- spending college only thinking about graduation, after graduation only thinking about a job, working and only thinking about starting a family, until everything has passed by and you are wondering what you did with your life.
It is exciting to think about the future, but if you stop to look around at where you are right now, you might be surprised by how good it is.
Like many people I know, I'm guilty of running through life too quickly and not stopping to really enjoy it.
However, by slowing down, we can learn to do things correctly, enjoy things more, and have the ability to start living simply.
17. Think before you multitask.
This goes along with the previous point, as we rush through life, we have the tendency to multitask in order to speed through tasks and challenges. Some people can multitask successfully, but because it takes so much time to refocus on a new task, many people cannot. This means that every time you switch between tasks, you may actually be spending more time than if you approached each task separately.
Think about your strengths and weaknesses to understand whether or not multitasking actually helps you save time. It’s possible that you can multitask some things, but others need your full one-on-one attention.
And, for the most part, by single-tasking, your ability to focus on one thing at a time and fully complete each task in front of you will help you better focus on the ways to simplify your life.
18. Sit in peace to simplify your day.
We all live in a world that is constantly moving and making noise.
However, when was the last time you just sat down in complete silence with no distractions? For the average person, this is probably a rare occurrence.
Sitting silently can help you reflect on your life and what’s going on in the world around you. It can also help you relax, destress, and clear your mind.
I’m not saying that you need to start a full on meditation practice, unless that’s what you want, but you can try something easy like turning off the radio while you’re in the car, wait in the grocery store checkout line without checking your phone, or going for a walk by yourself.
By clearing out the distractions, you will probably find that your mind lets you focus on what’s important.
Are you interested in learning ways to simplify your life? What else would you add to this list?
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