What is 'the simple life' ?

Ilona 'the Meanqueen' tells us her take.

Is being frugal and living a simpler lifestyle the same thing, or do they overlap?
I asked Ilona, writer of the ever increasingly popular 'Life after Money' Blog, TV and Radio participant on frugal ways what her understanding of it is......

My definition of a simple life is to live with as few complications as possible. I often see things in black and white, the grey areas leave room for doubt, like in limbo about what is easy and what is difficult. I try to avoid grey areas. The fewer decisions I have to make, the more simple I can make my life.

Ilona the Meanqueen
Ilona on one of her many long distance walks. Here she is at the top of Malham Cove in Yorkshire

The answer to a question is either one or the other, a choice of two options. Such as, my friend has some house bricks which I can have, she said come and get them on Monday morning, which is convenient for her. I like going to the Crafty Club on a Monday morning. Two choices, I said no to the bricks, not urgent, I can get some more somewhere else, go to Crafty Club and sit in the warm for two hours. She texted me back, I can pick up the bricks on Wednesday afternoon. Result.

Other examples. My cooking is very simple, I don't use the oven, costs too much for one persons cooking. I make a meal in one pan on the hob. A three day stew is easy to make. I steam my veg in a pan and eat it without anything on it, no gravy or packet sauce mixes. I do not slave in a kitchen for hours to produce a masterpiece, the only purpose of my food is to sustain a healthy body. Housework to me is a chore, simple solution, only do what is necessary to keep a reasonably tidy house.

Meanqueen of life after money
At home

I have enough stuff in my house, I don't need to go out and buy more. By stuff I mean furniture, soft furnishings kitchen equipment etc. I am giving a lot of stuff away to charity shops. Owning stuff bogs me down, a house full of stuff means more responsibility for looking after it and worrying if it might get stolen or broken. There comes a point when your stuff owns you, so I get rid of it. Out of sight out of mind, move it on.

Towards the end of my working life I opted to stick with a boring job. It was a simple job, I could easily do it, there was hardly any stress, and it brought in the wages to pay the mortgage. I got to a point when I realized that money was not that important, my health and happiness was. I cut down my working hours and only did as much as I had to, to keep a roof over my head. My simple mind told me if I didn't spend any money then I didn't need to earn it. Black and white.

A simple life to me means being in control of my actions and emotions. It means I can choose to say yes, or say no. No complications from outside sources. I will see my family before Christmas, but I won't be joining the big family get together's as I don't like all the noise of excited kids, blaring television, stuffing faces with booze and food, then collapsing in a heap feeling sick.

I often use the terms, 'I can't be bothered', or, 'it doesn't matter'. There are very few things that are worth stressing about".

Ilona...... 'Life After Money'

For 8 years Ilona has been (and still is) a very valid member of the Down the Lane Forum where she regularily gives help and information on any other member's questions etc.

But, to see how frugal, frugal can be, please visit her wonderful Blog
'Life After Money'
which she updates daily with stacks of ideas showing examples of her own recycling efforts from making bags out of old Pet Food Sachets to just about anything plus how she cuts down on food costs and more.

Ilona's frugality doesn't just stop around the home though, her walking adventures have become quite legendry - 'walk more, spend less' comes to mind!


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'It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come'. Dalai Lama
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