Minimalism focuses in on what it means to live with less. Fewer wants, less clutter, more doing what you love. While the tangible letting go of items is fantastic (and I highly recommend decluttering!), minimalism can do good in your life in more ways than one. Minimalism saves money.
Yes, minimalism can save you money!
You might be thinking, “But I just got rid of a bunch of stuff when I decluttered my house! How will this ever save me money?!”
The urge to buy new things after you declutter is strong. You must resist to fully learn how minimalism saves money.
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Personal Success with Minimalism Saving Money
In 2017, we found minimalism. Got rid of over half of our stuff and lived more simply… until we found out that I was pregnant. When you find out this happy news, the urge to prepare and buy ALL the baby things is strong! Unlike what our consumerist society tells us to do (buy new, buy more, you need to have it all or baby won’t be happy), we planned our registry very methodically, we used our local Buy Nothing Group, we shopped secondhand for baby gear and clothing.
And you know what? Even if we received nothing at our baby shower, we still would have been okay. Because we realized very quickly that baby doesn’t need all that stuff. Mama doesn’t need all that stuff. And what we did end up classifying as a “need”, we could have very easily found secondhand (except a car seat).
This idea of what a “need” actually is stuck with us. Our buying slowed down and our shopping habits changed. I was less interested in buying the latest and greatest and more interested in finding what I needed secondhand or from a sustainable company.
I slowed down.
I made lists and checklists.
At the end of 2018, as our son was six months old, I was able to leave my job. We lived on one income for almost three years – our income decreased by half. The relative ease at which we cut things from our budget was made easier because of minimalism.
So this list of things to do if you want minimalism to help you save money isn’t just click bait. It’s real life advice that changed our financial lives. It works. You just have to be committed. 🙂
1) You buy less.
Decluttering is a fantastic tool to help you keep your space clutter-free. Maintenance decluttering will need to be done every once in a while too. But if you find yourself constantly battling piles of clutter throughout your home, you may have one of two problems: you don’t have systems in place to organize OR you’re still buying too much.
When we first decluttered and sold our things, our home looked empty. It looked empty compared to what it used to be, but was still full of our stuff and things – just less of it. That urge to fill what we perceived as a void in our home was strong!
Over the years however, we’ve found that minimalism saves money because we have slowed our consumption of consumer goods.
We use a list to write down our wants and then wait three days before we make the purchase. We have often found that we never really wanted the item in the first place! That means it would have been an impulse purchased that would have ended up decluttered.
Resisting impulse purchases and the urge to buy more to fill up what appears to be a void is a muscle you’ll have to strengthen. Over time, you’ll find that the “void” you were trying to fill can be remedied by spending time with family, friends or doing something you’re interested in.
2) Using things to their fullest becomes the norm.
Using things to their fullest and using things up is not only another way minimalism saves money, but you also reduce your household waste!
Minimalism has several aspects:
- Living with less/simplicity
That’s why, on my lovely little blog here, you’ll find that I reference “frugal minimalism” from time to time. We have found that minimalism has lead us to being more environmentally conscious and more frugal. “Ecominimalism” is also a part of the minimalist community where above else, living with less is a choice made based on environmental impact. I have found that while we lean towards being more sustainable, I cannot call myself an “ecominimalist”!
With these three aspects in mind, you’ll find that you start to use things up before you purchase anything new. I have found that there is a simple joy in using things up!
3) Purchasing duplicates is no longer needed.
Hard truth: you don’t need a backup.
Backup diapers? Yes!
Backup cheese grater? Probably not. (Fun fact: we didn’t own a cheese grater until 2020 when I found on a my favorite thrift store for $0.20!)
There are some nice things to duplicates of like: kitchen towels, washable sponges, socks, ink pens, etc. This makes more life more convenient for us. But when you buy duplicates to have the extra on “just in case” or as a “backup”, you might need to rethink the purchase.
Before you buy a duplicate of something, ask yourself “Is this second *insert item here* going to make my life better or easier in some way? Will I use this on a regular basis or can I continue to use the one that I already have?”
This pause can help you avoid accumulating duplicated items that you might just declutter anyways.
The exception: say your cheese grater is on its last leg and the plastic handle is cracking apart (lookin’ at you Mom!). It’s from the 90s, so it likely needs to be replaced soon… because cracking plastic. So you start to look for the perfect one. Don’t settle! Find one that you really like. Better yet, try to purchase it on sale – but only if you really need it! So when you bring your new cheese grater home instead of keeping both, the old cracked one can go in the trash. One in, one out.
4) You remove temptation.
Minimalism saves money by simply removing the temptation to shop. When you don’t have to manage your stuff or incessantly pick up the house, you might find yourself with more time on your hands.
Growing up, we shopped – a lot.
Black Friday was a sport. Going to the mall on the weekend was the norm. It was also expected that I would have a job in retail (I did) where I could purchase clothing deeply discounted.
I filled my time with shopping because it felt so normal and it felt good to buy things! Even if it was just a cinnamon sugar pretzel and a new top.
Now instead of heading out to the shops, I find more time to play with my son, catch up on funny TV shows (Nailed It gets me every time), or write. There was also a point where finding things to do instead of shopping was really hard.
Those early days, minimalism didn’t automatically turn off the shopping switch in my brain. Buying things still felt really nice! I had to do the work and plug in new things to do. New things that would give me the same feel-good vibes that shopping did.
So now when I get the urge to shop or buy something new, I think about what I actually want to buy. Do I really need a new sweater? Or do I really just want a fresh cup of coffee?
If I do think of something I actually want to purchase, I put it on my 72 Hour List and wait.
5) Quality is the focus over quantity.
Before minimalism, I would have preferred 10 cheap t-shirts over 1 well-made t-shirt. Why? Because I had more variety. And having loads of options is awesome even if the item is cheap, right?
While most of us do crave variety every now and then, it’s been observed that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. So do we even need that variety? Probably not.
Saving and budgeting for a higher quality item that you really love and will wear again and again is far more worthwhile than variations of a lower quality, cheaper item.
When I completed the 100 Day Dress Challenge, the initial investment of the dress was a lot. But having worn the dress well over 100 times now, it was clearly worth the investment!
So when thinking “This ONE high quality item costs so much more than TEN of the lower quality ones”, just remember that you aren’t buying a replacement for that item any time soon! Meaning you don’t have to keep “backups” of this item on hand because it’ll inevitably break.
6) Happiness can be found in what you already have.
One of the biggest ways that minimalism saves money is by helping you find contentment with what you already have. Gratitude, if you will.
When you slow down and really pause before you buy anything new, you may find that you’re quite happy with the things that you already own. You may also find that things other than spending money bring you happiness – think activities like reading, hiking, going to the library, walking your dog, playing in the backyard with your kids, brewing a nice cup of coffee, or making the best frozen margarita.
You’ll discover that the best things in life cost little money!
7) You focus your money goals on things that are actually important.
When you focus your mind on not buying the latest and greatest, you will probably find that money “magically” appears in your bank account each month. It’s because you’re simply buying less. Hooray! You can (and should) put this money towards something that is important to you.
Here are a few areas to start:
- Paying off debt
- Saving for retirement
- Saving for education (kids)
- Starting a sinking fund for:
- Vet bills
- Medical bills
- Back to school shopping
- Home renovations
Because your spending is dialed back you have more funds to spend in other areas of your life – which includes paying yourself in the form of savings! The ideas above are only a small sample. There are so many reasons to save money.
Don’t know where your money is going? Start with a Spending Audit.
Minimalism saves money in so many ways that let you live a freer, simpler life.