CNN: Living Happily with Less

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Downsizing can make paying bills less painful and simplify your life, say experts

(CNN) — Chicago life and business coach Nicole A. Dunbar has learned to live with less, and love it.

Before launching her own coaching and motivational speaking business last year, Dunbar had a “day job” in academic fundraising and lived in affluent Hyde Park, a neighborhood adjacent to President Barack Obama’s Chicago home. Pricey dinners out with friends didn’t give her much pause. But those days are over.

She first downsized her apartment, moving to a smaller place in a less expensive and less trendy ‘hood, saving $300. Even though she’s now back in Hyde Park, she’s got a six-month sublet arrangement that keeps her rent low and keeps her mobile. She subscribes to utility companies’ budget plans so she’s no longer surprised by fluctuating bills. She totes sales flyers when shopping the supermarket, eats more seasonally and cooks at home more.

Her athletic club membership? It’s history. Said Dunbar: “I went out to the (nearby Chicago) lakefront, and that was my gym.” That $150-a-month cell phone bill? Gone. It may not be sexy, but a $55 prepaid phone has taken its place.

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