The minimalist lifestyle is about living with less and being purposeful about what you do and do not allow into your life. At the moment, it feels very trendy: You can find blogs, Instagram accounts, podcasts, and books devoted to showcasing a minimalist lifestyle. Many of these social media accounts make minimalism seem expensive and out of reach. This is absurd, of course! Your version of minimalism doesn’t have to include a home decorated with Scandinavian influences or one perfect pair of very expensive boots. Instead of getting caught up in the minimalist aesthetic, focus on the philosophy of living a life based on experiences instead of possessions. This philosophy can add up to major savings as you simplify your life.
Consolidate Your Hobbies
Let’s start with electronic hobbies. It’s all too easy these days to subscribe to several streaming services for favorite podcasts, services offering unlimited e-books, and the like. Narrow down your list. What do you use every day, and what do you enjoy? Only keep those services. Now, think about your physical hobbies. How many of us are guilty of buying the accouterments of hobbies that interest us before we’re sure we’ll stick with them? This is how you end up with spare rooms and garages stuffed with golf clubs, kayaks, sewing machines, and exercise equipment that was briefly used and then abandoned. So again, focus on the activities you look forward to and love doing, and use your space and energies on those pastimes.
Simplify Your Pantry
It’s easy to justify any grocery purchase. After all, who doesn’t want to feed their families and themselves wholesome, healthy, and diverse food? That also means it’s easy for your grocery bill to skyrocket and for you to be left with rotten food that wasn’t eaten before it went bad. Once a week, go through your refrigerator and pantry and prioritize cooking and eating any ingredients that are approaching the end of their usefulness. Make a weekly meal plan using those ingredients. If you find a recipe that calls for ingredients you don’t keep in stock, find a grocery store with bulk bins so you can only buy exactly what you need. Soon, your kitchen clutter will decrease right along with your grocery bill.
Make complicated meals if you love cooking, but simplify your kitchen equipment. Recently, there’s been an explosion in trendy kitchen countertop appliances. Air-fryers, slow cookers, updated pressure cookers, bullet blenders, convection ovens, large mixers, and immersion blenders are touted in cooking magazines and social media as the solution to your kitchen problems. And that’s not even taking into account cookware sets, knife blocks, spatula holders, and the like. Think about how you operate in the kitchen before buying more gear. Maybe you love your slow cooker but don’t bake and don’t really need a large mixer. Maybe you never really need a blender, or maybe you make smoothies every day. Soon, your kitchen will reflect your cooking style and only house the things you know to be useful.
Stop Buying on Credit
Instead of charging up whatever appeals to you, make a list of things you want and need (good hiking boots, a better kitchen knife, airline tickets for a summer trip) and focus your budget on saving up the money for these things. Soon, your financial life will be simplified and you’ll have a lot less debt to worry about.
Keep Things Longer
Is your perfectly serviceable black cardigan not quite the newest style? Maybe before, you would rush out to replace it with a fast-fashion, trendy version. But if it’s a warm sweater that fits you well and is in good shape, ask yourself why you should spend your money replacing something you already own that serves you well. The same goes for your television. Do you have a fine TV that allows you to gather your family for movie nights or enjoy quiet time with a good Netflix binge? If so, do you really need to replace it with a slimmer, 4K model? Consider why you want to replace useful items and soon, you’ll change your shopping habits.
Repair Good-Quality Items Instead of Buying New, Cheaper Things
Let’s go back to that black cardigan for a second. It’s a nice wool cardigan, but it’s missing a button. You could buy a cheap replacement sweater, or you could go to the fabric store, buy a replacement button, and capitalize on the investment you already made in your wardrobe. Maybe your broken phone’s life might be prolonged by fixing the cracked screen. Or if you have two fans that break, maybe you can combine the working parts to salvage one of them. This approach keeps money in your pocket and trash out of our landfills.
Most airlines now charge fees for checking bags. So unless you want to pay for your stuff to ride in the belly of the plane, you have to pack all your essentials into your carry-on. Living the carry-on lifestyle will save you money beyond the checked bag fee, though. Without a cumbersome suitcase, you can choose cheaper methods of transportation once you land. The subway, buses, and walking are all easier when you aren’t dealing with a big suitcase.
Occupy Less Space
Once you’ve streamlined your kitchen, emptied your garage of equipment from abandoned hobbies, and stopped buying a new wardrobe every season, you might feel like your current housing situation is too large for your needs. If so, consider downsizing. Not only will you save money on your rent or mortgage payment, but you will also save money on utilities. A smaller abode will also keep you from abandoning your minimalist lifestyle, since you won’t have the room to store a lot of extraneous belongings. Downsizing doesn’t have to mean moving into a trendy tiny house, though. The average American house is currently about 2,500 square feet; in 1950, it was slightly less than 1,000 square feet. You can probably downsize into something your grandparents would have considered luxurious.
Live According to Your Priorities
My priorities aren’t your priorities. However, sometimes, consumer culture can overwhelm us and we end up living according to other people’s priorities, with so much of our money committed to paying for a large living space, consumer debt, and pricey new cars. Embrace what you think is important in life. Want to send your kids to private school? Always dreamed of owning a classic muscle car? Want to work in a less stressful environment? Minimalism should help you shed your financial obligations until you are focusing your money (and your life!) on what you find most important.
Make Money by Shedding Things That No Longer Serve You
Take a look at that mountain of kitchen appliances, the golf clubs you used once, or your collection of college textbooks. If you don’t want them, you should certainly get rid of them. Try selling them! Someone else might want a bread-maker or a kayak. Selling items keeps them out of a landfill and gives you money to put toward your new priorities!
For some, minimalism extends to how they choose to manage their money and debt. To avoid the involved process of traditional lending, minimalists may appreciate the simplicity of alternative lending options. TitleMax offers personal installment loans and title loans to those experiencing unexpected financial emergencies without overcomplicating the application process.