Friday, October 11, 2013

Learning to Live with Less

The title of this post is something I have talked about with many people over many years. I've always wanted to be able to live with less. I feel like I'm always in the struggle to get rid of things I don't need. Living in a tiny apartment in Korea makes the process of living with less more interesting. Less space means you don't have room for things anyways! Also, putting 75% of your paycheck towards your student loans means you don't have much money to spend.

So I'm learning to be very resourceful. I hope this post is helpful to others, whether you live in a tiny Korean apartment or a big house in the West, these are things I do and have done to get the most out of the cash I earn. I fail in many areas with my finances, but I have never been more serious about getting serious financially than I am right now.

I've always been one to recycle, but now I take full advantage of the fact that recycling is free. The more I can recycle, the less trash I produce, which ultimately leads to buying fewer garbage bags! I keep a bag for paper and a bag for bottles and recycle every week to keep the kitchen less cluttered. I reuse the bags I use for recycling items.

I shop at the dollar stores. A lower price does not always equal a better deal. In other words, just because its at the dollar store doesn't mean its a better deal than at the mega department store right in front of the tiny dollar store. You shouldn't always sacrifice quantity over quality, but if you take extra time to compare prices, you could save in the long run. I shop at Daiso (a big chain of dollar stores popular in Korea and Japan) and the locally owned dollar store near the train station.

I get a ridiculous amount of junk mail in Korea. It all ends up in the recycling bag. However, a lot of these ads (the menu ones for local restaurants) come magnetized to my metal apartment door. I strip the big magnets off the back and I use these to hang stuff on my fridge. All you need is some tape. My fridge is decked out with cards and photos from home thanks to these magnets!

I always make lists of things I need and things I want. It takes me a while to buy things off these lists (unless they are necessity items) as I give time to research best prices. I go through these lists periodically and review them, asking myself a very important question about each item: Will this item benefit either spiritually or financially? 
I know that seems like a ridiculous question, but think about it from a business standpoint: What do you gain from purchasing an item if it doesn't profit you spiritually (help bring you closer to God in some way) or financially (help generate more income in some way)?

These are a few ways to live a little more simply. I like simplifying my life. It's almost become a hobby in a way. If you have any more tips or suggestions for me, let me know. I welcome ideas on this topic. I will probably make another post like this in the near future as I find more ways to live more simple.

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