Last year I started looking for ways to simplify my life in order to retire earlier than the traditional age in the US. That started an unbelievably massive process. The word simplify brings about the image of making things smaller and more manageable, which is correct; although, it depends on just how complicated you let your life get in the beginning.
Let me explain how the subject of this post fits in with the theme of early retirement.
Saving money simplifies life in more than just the obvious way—overspending complicates things by making issues for your budget, bringing home more consumables than you actually need or consume, and complicates your plans for retirement because that money is going to the wrong place. This idea works off of this equation:
Simplification + Budget integrity = Early retirement
For me, saving, by definition is a type of simplification. This step helped me save two important resources: Time and money. Here it is:
Shop at Costco, make a list, and stick to it.
I also eat a decent meal and fill a water bottle before I leave the house. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you’re like me, you’ll buy everything that looks tasty and that makes sticking to a list really difficult.
Make the list to include everything for the household from groceries and supplies to putting gas in the car
Don’t buy a list-making app. Don’t even download one. Adding unnecessary things is a complication rather than a simplification.
Plan on hitting Costco for the bulk of your needs once per month, twice at most.
Plan on hitting a smaller grocery store to pick up anything that Costco doesn’t typically stock.
To be real, you don’t have to shop at Costco to make this work. I shop at Costco because I find buying in bulk is a good way for me to save money on things I use constantly. You could shop at a different store if you don’t live close to a Costco location.
The important thing is to stick to your list. Don’t buy anything that you didn’t plan to spend resources on.
I go to Costco every other Monday. I’ve been doing it for two months now. I added it up and I saved over $400 the first month and I’m on track to save even more this month.
I created the list by checking the cabinets, asking my partner what meals sound good, and by writing down anything that needs replenished during the two-week list-planning cycle.
Added bonus: it makes it easier to keep things stocked so we don’t run out and have to make extra trips to the store.