Paradoxically, it can be really hard to live a simpler, more ‘real’ life when you have a deficit of either time or money. Changing to better quality food means paying out for (usually) more expensively produced meat and vegetables, as well as making the time to cook from scratch or make all of your own bread, biscuits and cakes. It is possible to grow some of your own food, even in a small plot, but is, of course, easier if you have enough ground for several vegetable rotation beds that you can use in a rotation system. It soon becomes clear that, unless you have a good income, or are lucky enough to live on a smallholding, following this lifestyle in a consumer-driven, money-worshipping world, is not the easiest path.

That does not mean you have to shrug your shoulders and give up though. There is always something that you can manage whether on a low income, or whether you are tight for time. Tony and I live in a small house in the suburbs of a county town with a garden measuring about 30 feet square. Neither of us have permanent jobs, but we both freelance and find other avenues of income, such as Tony’s genealogy business. This means that we work a great deal of the time raking in a small income – just about enough to live on but way under the supposed average wage of £25,000 and much nearer to the poverty line. Thankfully, the mortgage is paid off but we still have to cover all the other bills.

Despite being ‘poor’, we consider ourselves to be rich in other ways. We can take time out to be in the garden on sunny days (or even take our work out there) and we like to enjoy a ‘Good Morning Coffee‘ and a chat every morning, free from interference from the TV or radio. In fact, we watch the birds coming down to their breakfasts on our feeders. These moments together are precious and worth far more than any new gadget we could buy with income from a 9-5.

Home cooking and baking always tastes better than anything you can buy!

As usual, there are no right or wrong ways to how you wish to order your life. But we have found that simplifying or changing one part of your life often leads to other small tweaks, until it all becomes like a rolling snowball that alters how you think about the way you want to live. For example, this whole project started, for us, as a way for me to lower my blood sugar levels and reverse my diabetes. But now I make nearly everything we eat from scratch (so that I know what ingredients we are putting in our mouths), we have started to declutter our lives, think about growing our own food, and make or mend other items that, in the past, we would have gone out and replaced without a thought.

Simplifying your life can actually save money so that you have to earn less. You learn to budget, and get rid of money-drains that you no longer need or use (subscriptions are a good example). We also reduced our TV package and our food bill, and went down to one car between us. Although organic food is best, we still cannot afford to buy everything organic, so we compromise. You still need to live within your means, no matter what your dreams. We also do craft fairs (with the candles, etc. that I make), and car boot sales selling items from the decluttering. Yes, it can be hard to make ends meet, and we definitely have to trade off between living the way we want and, say, having expensive holidays. But in my opinion, it has been worth it. We are both so much healthier and our relationship, already good, has blossomed into a true loving partnership. We have time to smell the roses along the way!

Some of my crafts for sale at a craft market.

Talking of time, one of the biggest excuses people give for not doing something is that they ‘don’t have the time’! yes, I’ve certainly been guilty of that. Then I realised just how much time I actually wasted by watching junk television (often on for the sake of it) or games on Facebook. Actually, when I looked at it, I had plenty of time – I just wasn’t using it in the best way. I still haven’t given up these things, just cut down my time on them so that I can use a few more hours for reading, writing or crafting.

So, lack of time or money need not necessarily be an issue – there are always small changes that can be made. In fact I would advise the ‘softly softly’ approach – one step at a time, because such lifestyle changes can have a huge impact (hopefully positive) on your life and you want to be playing the long game, instead of looking for a quick, short-term fix. Hopefully you will find little ideas throughout this blog to help you save (or earn) money, and find time.