Half as much twice as happy

       

Nicola Arnold

We live in a society where it seems that the more you have, the happier you'll be. We're constantly presented with the opportunity to acquire more things and often times, we can't keep track of half of the belongings we own. Have you ever considered the fact that half of the things you have may actually be surplus to requirements? Cutting down could be the difference between perhaps needing payday loans and having enough excess cash to carry you through each month. The thought of getting rid of half of your things may be somewhat daunting, but it may be more liberating than you think. As it is often said, happiness is in the little things which often don't cost money.

This guide aims to identify areas where it is easy to get trapped into overspending. We also hope to provide practical alternatives and tips on how you can have half as much and still be twice as happy.

Wardrobe

Having things to wear is one of our many needs as human beings. However, if you take a look inside your wardrobe you may find that you don't wear half of the things that are in there. Depending on how fashion conscious you are (and your wardrobe requirements), you may find yourself shopping quite frequently. By cutting your wardrobe in half and keeping it that way, you're likely to have far less clutter and much more space. Perhaps try only shopping when you need new items urgently. This will save you having to regularly clear out your wardrobe. By maintaining half of your wardrobe and only sticking to things you actually wear, you may actually find that you are twice as happy. If you do decide to reduce your wardrobe budget and get rid of some old bits, you could consider giving them to people who need them such as charity organisations. If you were considering a loan this month, selling them for some extra cash is an alternative as well.



Being happy with life

Laundry

In addition to saving money, having fewer clothes can also save you time. Firstly, you'll spend less electricity and free time doing laundry as the more clothes that you have, the more washing you're likely to do. As well as running up your electricity bill, washing clothes also means you'll spend more on water and heating as your boiler will be running as well. If you happen to iron all of your clothes after a wash, that's also energy consuming. Lastly, having a ton of clothes means it's harder to find something to wear. If you're on the indecisive side, it may take you hours to go through your clothes and finally find something you like. The valuable time you'd spend on maintaining and finding your clothes could be used doing something that gives you more satisfaction.

Top impluse buys

  • Sweets and chewing gum
  • Sale or discounted items
  • Magazines
  • Extended warranties
  • Small gadget accessories
  • Souvenirs

Cars

Having a car to get around can give you a sense of satisfaction. It can also cost you a significant amount of cash, especially if you happen to have more than one. If you do happen to have multiple cars at home, you may find that you are paying double for everything. This might lead to cash emergencies at certain times of the month. If you happen to have a family, sharing one car can prove to have many benefits.



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For one, you'll get to spend more quality time together seeing as you'll ride together more often. Having one car isn't always practical, especially if both users are working and happen to go to separate destinations often. However, if it can be done, it will save you money and possibly help you bond better. Secondly, you may have more incentive to walk or take public transport which will make you more physically active. Being physically active is, of course, great for both your health and well being. Lastly, having one car should also help you cut expenses such as road tax, insurance, petrol, and maintenance in half. Getting rid of a car or two might help you lead a happier and more financially buoyant life.

Kitchen and tableware

We all have a little bit of a foodie inside of us and so it may be very likely that you have a selection of unused kitchen and tableware sitting in your cupboards. Some people collect these items so that they have something fancy to use on special occasions, while others may simply enjoy collecting them. Irrespective of which category you fall into, it's likely that you have excess.

Try getting rid of the items that you haven't used for a while. If you find you use most of what you have, perhaps try to avoid buying anything new for some time. It is always nice to have a couple of spare bits in case of broken or damaged items. However, buying new sets of kitchen and dinner pieces every week is unlikely to be necessary. Those extra buys that seem insignificant are what often lead to running out of cash. Having less in your kitchen might be a way of making you more content as well as keeping your pockets fuller.



Jump with joy and happiness

Entertainment

All work and no play can be a dull way of living. In this light, entertainment plays a significant role in brightening up our lives. It comes in many forms depending on what your preferences are. However, sometimes we are over-entertained and end up spending more than we need to in this area. You may find that you spend money in some of the below categories. If you do, reducing the usage of them or ditching them all together might mean you're on your way to a happier life.

A television is a common electronic item that can be found in many households. It has several purposes which range from sheer entertainment, a way of bonding and spending quality time with loved ones, as well as a stress reliever or hobby. Although it isn't uncommon to find more than one television in a home, have you ever wondered what the cost implications of this are? One cost implication could be the amount of electricity that is consumed when watching them. On the other hand, sometimes all of the TVs aren't being utilised which means they're more or less going to waste. By getting rid of all excess televisions in the house you could save money on electricity. It is also a way to spend quality time with your loved ones if you tend to watch TV individually. If you find that you spend a little too much time glued to the TV set, getting rid of it completely could help you invest your time in more gratifying activities.

Buying food is a regular occurrence in our daily lives. It just so happens that wasting food can be as well. For many, food makes us happy and we tend to buy a lot of it. By not impulse buying, you could save yourself the hassle of throwing away food that isn't consumed. Additionally, impulse shopping as opposed to meal planning, could result in you buying loads of junk food. Meal planning, however, could help you make more of a conscious effort to choose healthier meals and snacks. Try only buying what you need instead of buying in bulk all the time. You'd be surprised at how much spare change you have at the end of the month and may be able to avoid cash flow emergencies.

Marking memorable moments in our lives is something most of us look forward to. It can also sometimes come at a cost. Creating a budget and including celebrations inside of it will help you monitor your expenses in this department. As much as celebrating with our loved ones brings us joy, saving money might make you twice as happy. If, for example, one of your friends has a birthday, you don't necessarily have to eat. You could eat before leaving home, come with a card or gift, spend a few hours and go. This way you save and are able to celebrate with the ones you love as well. Celebrating doesn't have to be an expense that results cash flow emergencies if you plan and budget properly.

Gadgets are a great form of entertainment and also help make our lives easier in some ways. However, having one too many gadgets can be a way of incurring extra costs and extra stress unknowingly. For instance, maintaining them often comes at a cost as you may end up spending money repairing or replacing them if they break or get lost. In order to prevent paying unexpected amounts in such instances, you may have resolved to get insurance just in case something happens. As much as this can be a great idea, it can also consume a large chunk of your finances in the long-run especially if you never end up using it. As well as spending money insuring your gadgets, you may not even use these gadgets very often. In this case, think about whether you need a phone, music player, game console, tablet and laptop. Getting rid of some, if not all of your under utilised electronics may seem like a big deal, but you may find that you're happier without them.

Having satellite TV can make watching television all the more interesting. Depending on what you like watching, it gives you more of a variety of things to watch covering a wide spectrum of genres. The bigger the package that you get, the more channels you have access to in most cases. This also means you pay a lot more on a monthly basis. Having tons of channels won't necessarily make you any happier, especially seeing as its unlikely that you'll watch them all. Perhaps try changing your package to something less expensive that contains the channels that you actually watch regularly. If you find that you seldom watch television at all, you could consider getting rid of your package totally. There are other cheaper alternatives to watching programmes you enjoy such as subscribing to online TV platforms. You could also consider streaming for free online as well. The money that usually goes towards paying that monthly bill can then be used on other things that make you happy.

Mobile phones are devices many of us cannot live without in this day and age. They can also be an ongoing expense, especially if you're on a contract. Some people use the phone as well as data more than others. If, however, you find that you barely use any of the minutes, texts and data that come with your monthly plan, why not try pay-as-you-go? This way, you'd be more in control of how much you spend. You don't necessarily need excessive talk time and data to make you happy. If you happen to be on the other end of the spectrum, going over your agreed monthly allowance may result in extra charges on a monthly basis. Pay-as-you-go may still then be the better option as you can consume in line with your budget. This should help you manage your allowance better and save money while you're at it.

Conclusion

Having a shed-load of things doesn't necessarily equate to you living a happier life. Sometimes material things and certain hobbies certainly make us happy. However, this isn't always the case, especially when you find your finances are suffering. Many times they can end up clouding our happiness and distracting us from the things that truly matter. By cutting out some of the things mentioned in this guide, you may find that you save money.

Being disciplined, cutting down on your spending, and not feeling the need to have excess is a great step towards being in greater control of your finances. Even if cutting out these things doesn't save you a significant amount of money, it may genuinely make you feel more in control of your life which is a form of happiness in itself. To read more about happiness and minimalism check out this article.