Minimalism and Money – How do they relate?

Minimalism is a movement that has become popular over the past few years.  It is the idea that less stuff = a more fulfilling life.  But you may be wondering how minimalism and money relate.

minimalism and money

Before I dive into this topic, I’m going to give a full disclaimer:  I am NOT a minimalist.  However, I would say my family and I have minimalism tendencies.  We love the idea of minimalism to a point, but somehow still have too much stuff.  We don’t shop excessively, yet we can’t seem to find time to declutter and get rid of enough of what we do have.

Trust me, I would love to get rid of more stuff.  But living on a homestead has a way of keeping you busy with an unending list of products.  And being 40 minutes away from the thrift store donation drop off doesn’t help either.

Nonetheless, I still prefer a home with less in it.  I find it less stressful.  Less to clean, less to overwhelm you, less to organize.

I want to own my stuff – I don’t want my stuff to own me.

LESS STUFF = LESS STRESS

I’ll never forget the day I was lying in a dentist chair, listening to the dentist and hygienist talk about taking down their Christmas decorations.

The conversation went like this:

Hygienist: So, do you have all your Christmas decorations taken down yet?

Dentist:  Well, we spent all weekend taking the decorations down.  I think we will only need to spend one more weekend on it and then it will be done.

No word of a lie, I almost choked on that little water sprayer they put in your mouth when they clean your teeth.  2 WEEKENDS of putting Christmas decor away!  I don’t know about you, but I can think of way better things I can be doing with my weekends than putting away Christmas decorations.

My Christmas decorations all fit into one small box.  It takes me no more than an hour to decorate for Christmas, and that’s the way I like it.

Anyways, needless to say, I feel more at peace when I have less items to deal with.  My kids get along better when they aren’t surrounded by a million toys as well.  It is what works for us.  We tend not to keep too much from the past either, because as much as we often hope for the opposite, I know when my children grow up they most likely won’t want to keep what I’ve spent years putting away from them.  So we let that stuff go.  We use our stuff and then when we are done with it we pass it on.

Less stuff can equal less time wasted and less stress.  Not only less stress from cleaning, but sometimes we hang on to all these things, like craft supplies or building supplies for our “one day” project.  Every time we walk by that mess we are reminded about how we plan to work on that but years go by and we still haven’t been able to get to it because we just don’t have the time.  Looking at that pile of stuff we spent money on but never got to use can leave us feeling guilty and stressed.  Sometimes getting rid of it is the better option because not only do we get rid of the clutter, we release the stress and guilt associated with it.

When it comes to minimalism and money, I believe that a minimalism lifestyle can put more dollars into your pocket.

HOW TO LIVE MINIMALLY AND SAVE MONEY

You shop less.  If you live a life of minimalism, you are more careful about shopping.  You think through your purchases carefully, and consider if you want to add that item to your home.  Minimalists are generally not impulse buyers.  They will go home and think carefully about whether they truly want that item they saw in the store.

You don’t have to buy replacements for the items you lose.  I know that getting rid of your stuff is the exact opposite of what people think when it comes to frugal living.  Many people believe we should hang on to stuff just in case we need it because that will save money.  The problem with that is when you have a lot of stuff in your home, it’s easy to lose things.

You might go out and purchase an item you already have because you just can’t find it.  I’ve seen it happen countless times! I can honestly say over all the years that we have gotten rid of stuff, often aggressively, there have only been one or two times where I wished I had kept something.  That’s one or two items out of van loads of stuff we’ve brought to the thrift stores. Less stuff in your home means less chance of losing track of what you already own.

You have more money for paying down things like debt.  If you are shopping less, you have more money for other things – like paying down debt if you have it.  And we all know the less debt you have the better off you are in the long run.

You have more money to put towards savings.  An emergency fund or savings account is so important to have if you are able so that you are prepared for a financial crisis.  If you buy less things you have more money to put in into a savings account.

You sell items you already own.  Minimalists are often  easily willing to part with what they do own if they aren’t using it.  New minimalists as well, will sell a lot of their personal belongings when they are in the decluttering stage.  Selling household items are a great way to put some extra cash in your pocket!

You use cash instead of credit.  Minimalism encourages the use of cash only, no credit cards. And not using credit cards means better management of your finances.

You spend less on activities.  Minimalists tend to not only declutter their belongings, but also their schedules.  That means they try to prevent being over committed, and too busy.  Therefore, if you are attending less activities and events, you are more than likely spending less money for things like fees, tickets, gas to get their, take out food, and whatever other expenses may arise.  The same goes for children’s activities and extra curriculars.

You don’t buy more than you need.  Sometimes minimalists enter the lifestyle and make changes to their life that include downsizing.  They realize that maybe they don’t need all that space in their home, or would be happier with a smaller car.  Downsizing is not for everyone, but if you can do it  you will definitely save money.

MINIMALISM AND MONEY – IT CAN BENEFIT YOU

You don’t have to get rid of everything you know and love to see the benefits of minimalism in your own life.  Even just learning to live with a little less can help you save more money.  There are some who jump in wholeheartedly, embracing minimalism with everything they have and living with very few items.  Then there are others, like us, who found that didn’t quite work for our family, but we did add more decluttering and less stuff to our lives to a lesser degree of that of a typical minimalist.  And we have seen the benefits in our own life.

What about you?  Is minimalism something you have considered before, or is it something you already practice?  Have you found that it has helped you with your finances?  Or is it something you want to try now that you know how a minimalist lifestyle can help you in your financial journey?  If you are interested in learning more about how minimalism and money relate, and how it can help you, be sure to check out the documentary MINIMALISM.

Related:  Save Money with a 30 day Spending Freeze

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