The main goal of downshifting is to have a higher quality or more frugal life, making things much less stressful.
It can mean different things from getting rid of many modern day appliances and other items in order to live simply, to moving to a smaller home or a more rural area.
Many people relate this practice to people over 50 and in retirement, but anybody of any age is actually able to downshift.
It is often a good way to kick start a more frugal living lifestyle as it almost works like a cleansing and a wake up call of what you really need in your life to live well.
The main thing required for downshifting is to make sure that your income is higher than your living cost, or that you can organise your money into a more frugal plan whereby you waste less money and have plenty for all the essentilas in life. Sound obvious doesn't it?
But what that really means is that you need to be able to sustain your new way of life even after you have gotten rid of all the clutter in your life. Otherwise it will not have the desired outcome of living a happier simpler life.
Frugal living or living simply can mean many different things to many different people. It really depends on your definition.
Some people define living simply as "roughing it." They may live in a small cabin with just some running water and gas for cooking, with only very basic belongings, but this is really the extreme end and doesn't suit most peoples lifestyle.
Usually it means getting rid of everything in your life that is unnecessary and only buying things that you really need. It also means that you live your life in a less wasteful way by becoming more resourceful.
Families may choose to downshift in small steps. They may start out with all the usual trappings of modern day households in order to raise their children and then over time begin to reduce and get rid of unwanted items and start to encourage their children to be more imaginative and creative and requiring less toys and belongings.
For some as part of downsizing they may decide to home school their children to reduce on all the costs that go along with mainstream schooling such as, fees for school supplies and field trips.
It is also seen by some as providing children with a better quality of life spent learning with the family.
It also ties in with the frugal lifestyle as it cuts away a lot of all the modern day trapping and returns many of the old family traditions or taking responsibility for the childrens education.
Concentrate on paying off your debt. Do not immediately try to downshift, but to try to reduce your debts so that if you do decide to downshift and perhaps change your life more dramatically like moving home or changing jobs it won't be so hard to do.
The last thing you want to have to worry about is the millstone of a debt around your neck, instead you want to be able to concentrate on creating a better simple life.
Do some simple things to help start this lifestyle. You can find many suggestions on the Internet. One practice that is becoming popular is called "Frugal February." During the month of February, the only things that you buy are necessities.
Food for the family, diapers for young children, health and hygiene products are the only things that money should buy. A great option is to buy from local grocers rather than going to a grocery store so you are not tempted to impulse buy.
Another popular practice is called "The Month of 100 Things." This practice is getting rid of 100 objects from your house that you no longer use, need, or want.
There are no rules for what is considered an object, so it is totally up to you to decide what things are objects and what are not.
This practice helps keep a cleaner house and is a very easy thing to do. Friends can participate in this activity and compete to see who can purge the most items from their homes.
Spend one-week "media free." Do not watch television, listen to radio, or even read newspapers. Pay not attention to advertisements and see how free you actually feel.
This has been something which i have tried to incorporate into my frugal lifestyle every month or so, i find it so liberating.
Do not buy anything with your credit cards. Buy only what you can afford with cash from your bank account. This way you do not spend more money than what you have.
This depends on your lifestyle and confidence. If you want to keep living this way and you are confident that you are able to earn enough money when it is needed, it may easily be permanent. If you do not enjoy living this way, then it will probably not be permanent, as you will most likely go back to living the way you did.