The end of the year found me trying to simplify my life. I have a tendency to make things far more complicated than they need to be. It is somewhat due to my desire to please as many people as possible. What did I do to change my life? What does it have to do with traveling?
Sometimes, you really do have to work on making yourself happy.
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Two small changes
My family and I have a home base, of course. We are a fairly typical, Midwestern American family. We have two cats, two dogs, and two kids. There are two changes we’ve made within the past few weeks that have simplified my daily routine.
First, one dog needs to have one daily cup of special , medicated food along with her regular food. For some reason, we were dividing that one cup between her twice daily feedings. It is only one extra step, but done twice daily. I decided to give her the special food once daily.
Why was this seemingly inconsequential thing such a game changer?
Freeing up the mind
By the time it is dinner time for the dogs, everyone is tired. Energy and brain power are lacking. Though it is an habitual thing, it felt more exhausting than it needed to be. That small change simplified dinner time for the dogs and helps me to quit procrastinating. It is one step now, instead of two.
Silly, yet effective!
The second change we made was to buy a new, larger trash can for our kitchen. Since we’ve had children, we’ve had to have magnetic locks on our lower cabinets. We also put the trash can under the sink, behind a lock. In order to throw anything away, we have to unlock the cabinet. The magnet openers had to be moved recently due to being suddenly within reach of some tiny hands.
Any idea how much stuff you throw away daily? Try putting the trash can in an inconvenient place and find out. Even with composting all of our fruits, veggies, and toilet paper rolls, there are a lot of little bits of things that get thrown away daily.
Simplify, but don’t oversimplify
I know that oversimplifying doesn’t necessarily work for me, either. For instance, I leave the coffeemaker on the counter, because I use it every morning. It doesn’t make sense to put it away daily. It’s also too big for any of our cupboards!
How making things more convenient for you can help you achieve your travel goals
However, there are still many small things that can make for a huge effect. This goes for life’s little routines and for saving for travel! Is it easier for you to make your own coffee if the coffeemaker is on the counter, rather than swinging by Starbucks (or work’s cafeteria) for your morning brew? That savings can be applied to the vacation budget. At a conservative $3 a day for 250 days, that’s $750. I buy a wonderful coffee called Poor Man’s Blend in a 5 lb bag. Even if I need a new bag every month, it still saves me roughly $300. It usually lasts me about 2 months, making my yearly coffee needs cost under $250.
What small changes can you make to reach your travel goals?
Sometimes, simplifying a routine that doesn’t cost money can lead to starting a routine that does save money. Yours may not involve coffee, dogs, or trash cans. It may involve packing a lunch for work or your regular play dates, instead of eating out. Maybe a regular routine needs to be simplified so that it doesn’t use up so much energy Or maybe it means working on a money making project while your children nap (somehow, this rarely works for me).
What have you done to simplify routines? Were they small changes or big ones? How do you save money for your travels? What has been the most effective money-saving strategy for you?