I won’t lie, I’ve recently slipped back into old habits. We’re moving (next week!) and whilst we had saved money to replace some of our furniture, it’s been a slippery slope back into online shopping and buying stuff for the sake of having it. So, it’s time to knuckle down again and realign with our minimalist budgeting ways. Why? Well the answer is simple: Minimalism helps you save money. Essentially, minimalism makes you richer haha!
A couple of myths surrounding minimalism and money seem to be:
Myth One: Budgeting + Minimalism = No Life
Reality: I think many people have the misconception that living on a budget equates to not living; having to say no, to forgo the things you like, and basically just pay bills. The reality couldn’t be any further from this! Living with a budget allows you to live the life you want – you know where your money is coming from and where it needs to go. Rather than living with the stress of week to week pay and wondering where you’ll find money for your next bill.
Myth Two: Minimalism will automatically save you money
Reality: While this may appear to go against the grain of my post, it needs to be said. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle or simplifying your life won’t automatically save you hundreds of dollars. Without a shift in mindset – changing how you feel, think and perceive your spending habits will be the only long lasting way to truly save more money. Minimalism, however, can be the vehicle to assist this!
While you definitely need to work on altering your money mindset, minimalism can definitely help encourage you to save more!
Here are 5 ways that minimalism helps you save money.
- Less Things = More Experiences
The first step into minimalism often comes with decluttering your house, or simply deciding to buy less. And when you buy less, you have a whole lot more time on your hands. How? Less time cleaning, less time sorting your house, less time maintaining your possessions. And what do you do with your new found time? Probably try to fill it, because we’re used to being so busy. When we have less things, we typically have more experiences on the cards. Maybe you’re thinking, ‘but experiences cost money too!’ and sure, they can, but they don’t have to. Think: the beach, the park, the art gallery or museum. Tip: While outings may cost money, they can be relatively low cost – there’s a lot of joy and entertainment found in sitting over a hot cup of coffee and people watching.
- Freedom Avoids Debt
One key focus of minimalism is freedom. Freedom of time and space (physically, mentally, emotionally etc) to do what you love. Being in debt, however, completely negates this concept. Having debt isn’t just a financial burden – preventing you the freedom to do what you like, it’s also a mental and emotional strain. Debt increases your stress and shrinks the space around you to find what you enjoy – instead filling it with worry, overwhelm and guilt. Tip: Trying to pay off your debt can also be stressful and overwhelming. Try to chip away at it over a longer period.
- Encourages Purposeful Purchasing
When I’m on autopilot, or in consumerist mode, there are very few questions which run through my mind before purchasing something. Probably along the lines of: “Do I want it?” and “Do I have the money for it?” Note that it isn’t: “Can I afford it?” just “Do I have the money?” which typically meant using my credit card. When you’re more intentional with shopping, you take into consideration the purpose of the purchase. WIll it add value to your life? Do you really need it? Can you actually afford it? More often than not, you may not be able to answer one of those questions too well. Tip: I like to apply the 24 hour rule to purchases – walk away and think about it for 24 hours, if you’re still dead keen, then go back the next day.
- Changes Your Focus
When you start being more content with less material stuff, your focus changes. The time spent wanting the latest gadget, or on trend clothes etc etc, is freed up to think about long term goals. Maybe you do want to upgrade your car? As soon as you have a long term goal that you’re working towards, it 100% makes spending less easier. Suddenly that top which is “only $30” becomes $30 less towards your new car. That $1000 new phone becomes a month’s worth of savings. Tip: Once you set your goals, have something visual to remind you of them and for you to see your progress. I LOVE debt free charts which are free to download! We have ours on our fridge for easy reference.
- Personal growth gives you perspective
And this is the key to saving more – perspective. Each time you work at changing your behaviours, you are changing your thoughts. And each time you do these new actions, think your new thoughts, and feel differently toward consuming, you are creating new pathways in your brain. Eventually, with a ton of repetition, the old consumerist pathways will weaken and it will become easier to make these choices around what you need, what you want and what truly makes you happy. Tip: Any new habit takes time to instil, don’t give up in a month’s time if you are still feeling pangs of desire for retail therapy. That’s just your ego getting in your way!
To get myself started and back on track, I am doing a no spend month! Is that something you would try?