Minimalist living has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years. In case you aren’t 100% sure about what minimalist living is, it essentially means living with less.
The rationale behind minimalist living is that if you get rid of excess stuff and live a life based on experiences, you will lead a better life. There is also an argument that minimalist living can help you get out of debt and free up more money for your situation.
Before I get into how minimalist living can help you reach your financial goals, I want to further break down the concept of minimalistic living. In my opinion, minimalist living is subjective.
I believe everyone can have their own version of leading a minimalistic lifestyle. Some may be more extreme than others, and that’s perfectly fine.
Minimalist living means you:
- Spend less money – you don’t need as much
- Stress less – less clutter in your life leads to clarity
- Become more productive – less possessions taking up your time and focus
- Feel better – owning less makes you appreciate quality over quantity
The thought of living with less has a direct impact on your finances. You get rid of things you don’t need, which could translate into more money. You don’t purchase things you don’t need, which could lead to a larger bank account.
You live on less, which allows you to get out of debt faster than living on more. If you put it into perspective, minimalist living can be compared to budgeting.
When you budget, you allocate your income to your needs. When you are living minimally, you only focus on the things you need. You can budget for wants, or you can save for the big wants, like a vacation.
When you live minimally, your focus is on experiences and making memories, as opposed to material possessions.
So, how can minimalist living help you reach your financial goals?
Minimalist living means you can get rid of things you don’t need
When you are moving towards a minimalistic lifestyle, you have to start with the purge! Purging the material possessions you no longer need. This activity is not a quick one. You will need to go through your entire house and purge.
If you aren’t used to getting rid of things, or you are a semi-hoarder (like me), it may help to follow the 90/90 rule.
The 90/90 rule came from the Minimalists. It basically says that you should look at any item and ask yourself if you have used that item in the past 90 days. If the answer is no, then ask if you will use it in the next 90 days.
If that answer is also no, then get rid of it. The 90/90 rule can be adjusted to 60/60 or 120/120, or whatever works for you.
Once you complete the activity and have a variety of things you can purge, you can try selling them. If you have clothes, shoes or other accessories, Poshmark is a great option.
If you have furniture, household or outdoor items, Craigslist is another option. You can also sell to local consignment and thrift shops. The point is that getting rid of the things to support your minimalistic lifestyle can result in more money coming your way by selling those things.
Minimalist living means you can live in a smaller space
Since you no longer have things you don’t need, you can likely live in a smaller place with all of the possessions you do need. This can translate into a lot of savings. If you live in an apartment, is moving to a studio or smaller one-bedroom an option?
The thought that you need more space is the opposite of what minimalistic living is all about.
What if you live in a house? Do you need all the square-footage you have? If not, consider downsizing.
Not only will you save on taxes and the mortgage, less space means less power to function on. That translates into savings as well. Smaller space, lower rent, less utility usage – this translates to savings across the board, which can help you focus on your other financial goals.
Budgeting is much easier when you live like a minimalist
Obviously, budgeting is a breeze when your money isn’t going to a variety of different expenses, some or most of which you probably don’t need. One of the reasons budgeting is so difficult today is because we have so many extra bills that those before us didn’t have to worry about.
Internet (and apps that use it like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.) didn’t exist when our parents were our age. The same can be said for cell phones, computers, and all the available technology at our finger tips.
All that is to say we factor in much more into our budget than we think. We now believe we can’t live without a cell phone and internet, but is that really true?
I’m not saying to get rid of your cell phone and internet, because I wouldn’t! I’m saying to think about what you really need to live – a cell phone likely isn’t a necessity.
Once you have gone through your expenses and subscriptions with a fine-tooth comb, it’s time to remove them from your financial life! This should free up multiple line items on your budget, and ultimately leave you with a larger profit at the end of each month.
That larger profit can be leveraged to reach your money goals, travel more, or help others.
Minimalist living requires a great amount of self-awareness, self-control, and the belief that life can be more memorable with less. Material possessions don’t come with us when we die, so why not focus on living a life full of experiences, as opposed to things?
Minimalism is a practice that can be eased into or started full-force. If you want to live a life of less, take the proper steps to help you do so. Nothing happens overnight, but you can get to a happy place!
Have you started the practice of minimalistic living? What tips or advice would you give those looking to practice minimalism? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!