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What Does Financial Simplicity Feel Like?

by The Happy Rock on July 28, 2008

I often talk about how destroying debt simplifies your life, but the word simplicity is vague and fluffy. It might not mean much to a lot of people.  So let me take a shot at inspiring you with the current state of my financial simplicity journey.

First, as I did my bills for the month, I could feel the simplicity.  Simplicity is often more of a feeling than it is a system or goal.  Sometimes it is the absence of feelings that mark simplicity.  The absence of worry and stress being the most notable.  As I sit down each month, I KNOW we have enough to cover all our bills. I only need about 30 minutes once of month to pay and record the transactions.  If a bill is due in the middle of the month, I pay it as soon as I open the letter.  No thought or energy required.  For non monthly bills, I transfer the appropriate amount into its corresponding ING Savings account and pay them in full when they come due.

After years of debt elimination and utilities frugality I only have 5 monthly bills :

  1. Mortgage
  2. Homeowner’s association fees
  3. Water
  4. Gas/Electric
  5. Cable/phone/internet
  6. Our one credit credit card(Chase Freedom)

6 bills is a huge jump towards simplicity, I think I had 20 or more a few years ago and a mountain of debt. Changes like moving to pre paid cell phone, paying off loans, combining utilities, canceling credit cards and accounts, spending less than you earn, having an emergency fund, and having a simple reminder system all feed into the development of simplicity.

As you continue to tweak and adjust your system, no longer do you have these type of thoughts : worrying about did I miss a bill, will I get late fees, do I have enough to cover everything.  I can confine my personal finance thoughts to once a month and not have my brain carry that worry or stress into my time with family, my job, my shower, wherever.  When the car breaks down, it isn’t a big deal because you have already budgeted for it or you have an emergency fund that easily covers it.

Visually it feels like the difference between 5 o’clock rush hour traffic and sitting on a rocking chair on the porch of peaceful pastoral mountain cabin with a babbling brook nearby.

I doubt that I can do the feeling of simplcity justice, but hopefully this whets your appetitie to start seeking after more simplcity in your financial life.  The first step is attacking you debt.  I can tell you from experience, finacnial simplicity has greatly improved my quality of life.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Polina July 29, 2008 at 8:29 am

Minimizing the amount of bills and the total of monthly payments saves a lot of nerves and gives some hope that the further you live, the better your life will be… With debts hanging over your head as an executioner’s axe – it is almost impossible to enjoy life… thank you very much for writing about these things….

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Sue July 29, 2008 at 9:48 am

Spending less than you make is a big one. It is so easy to buy more as soon as a pay raise comes in or a invoice is discounted. Great job!

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John July 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Ahhh, this all sounds so nice…I am definitely shooting for this – thanks for adding a little more motivation!

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hank August 2, 2008 at 9:57 pm

I’ve got it down so far as to I only have to pay 2 bills, all the others are set to autopay. Water/electric bill and credit card bill. It’s nice, and absolutely a load off my shoulders to see it each month…

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"Solution Drew" August 4, 2008 at 6:35 am

I’m all for anything that reduces stress and places emphasis on less hassle. Nice idea – Financial simplicity – I see a book in the works using that term.

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Michael Bristol February 14, 2009 at 10:47 am

Not to many people live a simplistic life when it comes to their finances. The last statistic I heard was that FICO reports that the average consumer has 13 active creditor on their credit report!

I find that a financially simplistic life is a crusade that is going to grow and grow.

Thank you for leading the way.

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