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Everyday Cheapskate: Tips for simplifying to save time and money

When our lives get chaotic, we pay dearly in terms of stress and money. There are hundreds of things you can do to simplify your life. Here are seven to help you get started ... one a day for the next week.

  1. Carry only the keys you use every day. Clean everything else off your key ring. If you don’t recognize what a key is for, toss it. If you have keys you use occasionally, keep them on separate rings in a safe place. I carry only three keys: house, car and office. They’re not bulky, simple to select AND fit into a small pocket in my purse. Not only has this small trick simplified my life, but my car’s ignition is happier too. Heavy keys pull the ignition out of alignment, causing it to eventually fail.

  2. Get rid of all but one credit card. One statement, one bill. Having so many credit cards can really stress your life and it is not necessary. In fact, many cards are hazardous to your wealth. Start today with the goal to strategically get rid of all but one on which you carry $0 balance.

  3. Downsize your purse or briefcase. Carry only the minimum essentials. If you’re anything like me, no matter what size of bag you carry, it is completely filled and then some. Ditch the bag that’s the size of Nebraska in favor of something small and compact. Now carry only the items you really need.

  4. Cut back your jewelry to a couple of simple but elegant items. It takes a lot of energy to manage dozens of pairs of earrings, necklaces and bracelets. About 15 years ago, I decided I would own and wear only one pair of classic earrings. It was a bold move, but one I have never regretted. You cannot imagine how this has simplified my life.

  5. Buy only white linens. Now everything matches, and that saves time and hassle. Fine hotels everywhere feature all-white linens. You should, too. When everything is white, you don’t worry about fading, about matching up sets or if the linens match the room’s decor. Every top sheet goes with every fitted sheet, so you don’t have laundry-time hassles. Everything launders the same. White linens are classic, and they’re cheaper too.

  6. Keep a tasteful trash receptacle where you open mail. Handle the mail only once. Don’t carry all the junk mail to the table to become more household clutter. Put a waste can right where you open the mail, and dump the junk the moment you identify it as such.

  7. Change your attitude about voicemail. I cannot believe how my life has been simplified since I no longer feel obligated to return voicemails. If they want me badly enough, they’ll call back. In the meantime, I use the delete feature with reckless abandon. Delete, delete, delete.

Time. We’re given just 24 hours each day. So far, no one’s figured out how to increase that number. But if you begin to simplify your life, you’ll swear you’ve suddenly found more hours in your day!

Mary Hunt is founder of and author of 24 books, including her 2013 release, “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement.” You can email her at mary@everyday, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.


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