catsThe last several years I have been trying to simplify my life bit by bit. Part of that simplification has been to come to coaching as a career path as it feels authentic to me. I want to do something I love on my terms and let go of the need to work long hours to pay for ‘things? I think I must have in my life. In less than a year I will not have that steady paycheck to depend on for extra things. At least in the short term I will have to really watch my pennies and scrimp as much as I can.

At first that seemed quite daunting as I do need to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head and food on the table for myself and my cats. But I have faith that I will have success as a coach and be just fine in the long term. But I do need to learn to be frugal. I am not really hugely materialistic but I often buy things on impulse. I am much better about that now, at least about bigger items, but it is amazing how small purchases add up.
This past week I was at a cottage I rented on a local lake. That is my big vacation splurge for the year and it is a very reasonable vacation cost wise. While there I was doing a lot of reading. I have a Kindle and when I looked on it I realized how many books I had on there that I hadn’t read or that I had only begun to read. Many were purchased with a quick ?one click? when one of my coaching friends from class mentioned how much they liked a certain book. It doesn’t take long for all of that ?one clicking? to add up! Then there are all of the books on my bookshelves that are still waiting to be read as well. A few months ago I got the Overdrive app on my phone so that I could get free ebooks through my local library system. I thought what a great idea when I heard about it. Then when I went to set up the account I found out my library card was outdated. All it would take was a quick stop at the library to get it updated. Of course that never happened and I just kept happily one clicking away.
While sitting by the lake one of the first books I chose to read off my Kindle was called ?You can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)? by Tammy Strobel. And surprise, surprise, it was about simplifying your life and being more frugal and more happy because of it! It was a great read and it didn’t take me long to finish. It was not the first book I read about the subject but something ?clicked? (and I don’t mean one clicked) in my head and I was hooked on really taking charge of where my money goes. I had already begun cutting back on monthly services saving $114 a month on Time warner cable and $400 a year on my auto insurance. The auto insurance took a quick phone call to my agent and because I had been a loyal customer for over 30 years they kept the same policy and reduced the fee. Just think if I had done all of this sooner. But that is something I can’t change. I have done it now! Now I have made the commitment to review my smaller spending and stop those small impulse purchases. It doesn’t just happen around books. I waste my fair share of food too and buy other smaller things that I don’t really end up needing or using.

This week I made it’to the library and updated my card and got my Overdrive account set up. It took all of about 10 minutes and included a lovely chat with the woman at the front desk at the library. I am going to spend more time there too looking for books, dvd’s and getting to know the local people more. So, it is a win/win situation! I have told myself I can’t buy any more books until I have read everything I already have. If I want a new book it will have to be a free one from the library or Overdrive. Even once I have read everything I have I will search for a free version of a book and then be very thoughtful about any purchases.My next challenge and commitment is to get rid of more ‘stuff ? in my home through selling on Ebay, Amazon, Craig’s List, Etsy or at a consignment shop. If that doesn’t work I will give it away. I have cleared out plenty through the years but I can still pare away quite a bit at what I have left! I will have some money in my pocket, more time on my hands with less to clean and care for and more peace of mind.

Tonight I sat on my patio, after a short rain, watching my cats and the hummingbirds. Often I have my computer with me or some other device I am doing something with, but not tonight. I sat there in the quiet beauty of the patio after a rain and enjoyed the simplicity of nature. I was well entertain by the aerial displays of the hummers and the antics and joy of my cats. It cost me nothing and I felt so peaceful and open to life and the world around me. Before I went in for the night I picked a few mini eggplants, some snap peas, tomatoes and fresh herbs. I saut?ed all of them in garlic olive oil and lemon vinaigrette. Then I sat down at my table (not usual eating spot on my couch) and mindfully ate my delicious, yet simple meal. My whole evening, including dinner, cost me very little but left me so very rich in spirit!
I challenge all of you reading this to start doing the same. Save money, stop wasting food, time and other resources and begin to let go of the need to have stuff. We are not identified by what we have but by who we are. Take time to discover the real you. Stop working so hard to have the money for all of those material things and work hard at spending time with the ones you love, enjoying nature and giving back to the world.
I want to help people find their way to letting go of materialistic needs and the messages that we are bombarded by from the media and the world about what they think we all need to have, look like, be and do. If you want support in this challenge to change to a simpler way of life I can be there for you as your coach right now. Just let me know!