I have lived a simple life for many years because I can't afford any other way. I was lucky enough to be left a small cottage, so don't have a mortgage.
I don't own a car so walk most everywhere, walking has kept me fit, but arthritis has now kicked in making long walks to the supermarket impossible, so I now rely on the local shop or bus service, but both add to my cost of living.
I still have my Mum's old furniture, but her old washing machine has finally packed up, but as it's just me these days I do my washing by hand.
I have a wood burning stove I use for cooking and heating in winter so keep electricity bills down as long as I can get out to collect wood and cut it up.
When I can afford it I'm going to replace my laying hens that were killed by a fox, but first need to rebuild the run to make it fox proof.
One downside to this simple life is that my daughter who married into a well-off family no longer visits me with my grandchild.
I have lived simply in my life for many years because it is a mindset/belief of mine.
Some of the ways in which I act: use a car as little as possible (walk or catch the bus), have acquired few consumer white goods, use old furniture, minimise electricity usage, buy new clothes extremely rarely, I use charity shops, recycle as much as possible, which is a lot these days, e.g. recently took a boot load of scrap metal of all types from a collection in a garage including old wires, etc. to the scrap metal merchant. I have been a sustainability representative at work.
In the spring planting seeds and seeing them germinating and growing is my simple pleasure, watching little leaves form. So, for me, simplicity means getting back in touch with nature. I'm definitely not a gardener, but it is cheap and fun and I enjoy eating the stuff I grow. I wish I could grow enough to live on without working, but it wouldn't be simple then would it!
For me, a simpler life is a less cluttered life. I'm trying to grow most of my own vegetables and have planted a few fruit trees in my garden. I have let parts of my garden go wild, saves mowing I thought, but it is more than that, getting in touch with nature and the life cycle of natural things is changing my life, calming me and slowing me down, helping me focus on what really matters.
It sounds Idealistic doesn't it, living The Simple Life. However unless you have won the lottery or had many years of well paid work, I can't see how you can obtain the “simple life”. We are retired on state pensions, with a level of savings that prohibit us from any state help.
Jane said. We own our house with a large garden, have a small mortgage, run a small car, grow our own fruit and vegetables, keep laying hens, shop sensibly, keep our heating bills to a minimum by following the advice of our government and wearing an extra layer of clothing in Winter and still can't survive.
We are living as simply as we can, we want to say the simple life works, but for us it does not. When we have used up our savings, life will be far from simple. Any advice as to how to live "the simple life" would be appreciated.
You probably won't take this advice Jane, but it seems to work for him and people living around him.
On the estate he lived, his and many other families seem to have found the answer to how to live the simple life without a nest egg, winning the lottery, growing there own or working.
They have people carriers with disabled badges, an endless supply of food (they appear that way anyway) the latest fashion in tracksuit bottoms and trainers, wide-screen TV sets with sky discs on almost every house, an endless supply of free replacement windows and plastic doors or a very quick repair service, a collection service for old furniture dumped on the front garden, endless supplies of lager cans and cigarettes, taxis to Tesco, home tutors (the kids never seemed to be at school) and they seem to enjoy late nights and late late mornings and two or three holidays in Benidorm or similar hot tacky place every year.
I did feel a bit sorry for him after noticing he suddenly developed a bad back if I asked him to hold the wheelbarrow steady while I shoveled stuff into it, also noticed he needed a walking stick to go and open the front door when the bell rang. I am glad though that I asked to be paid up-front for the work.
And some more thoughts on what the simple life means
On Sunday mornings I get out of bed just as the sun rises and walk the streets while the world sleeps. I especially enjoy this meditative exercise in autumn. The dawning silver light, the red and orange leaves, the birds, the crisp air, the solitude, the peace. At such times I sometimes ask myself: “What do I lack that more money could provide?” My answer is always "Nothing".
Some one said on another website promoting the simple life "simplicity can be understood as ‘an expression of freedom." That sums it up for me. In recent years I have stepped away from a stressful job, de-cluttered my life, and generally been as frugal as I can be. Never have I been as free or as happy.