What are your things doing for you? If that seems like an odd question, hear us out. Many of the things you own serve a purpose in your life, from making toast to getting you to and from work. But, what about everything else claiming space in your home? Are those things getting you closer to where you ultimately want to be?
Although the concept of minimalism has existed for quite some time, it has emerged as a strong movement amongst people of all ages and backgrounds in recent years. This lifestyle is not just appealing in terms of simplifying our daily lives and surroundings, it can also have a positive impact on our finances and the way we manage them.
What is minimalism?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all definition of minimalism, it can be summed up with the notion of owning only what adds value to your life. A common misconception of minimalism is that it means owning as little as possible. While there are “extreme minimalists” with less than 100 items to their name, making moves towards minimalism looks a little different for everyone. Ultimately, it means hanging on to the items that align with your primary focus in life, and saying goodbye to things that don’t.
How do minimalism and money go together?
Whether you have debt to pay down, you’re working toward career goals, or you want to travel the world, the ultimate goal is always the same — achieving financial freedom. Here are a few ways minimalism can help you save money and get you on the path to that freedom.
Turn your clutter into cash.
How many things do you own? Most of us don’t know that number, we couldn’t even give an estimate. According to the LA Times, 300,000 items fill the average American home. If that sounds unbelievable, picture your garage, your hallway closet or your laundry room. Does that figure seem more realistic now? Fortunately, there’s a silver lining to our growing clutter problem. Decluttering your life by turning your unwanted or unnecessary items into cash has never been easier, with countless apps and services like OfferUp and Poshmark making selling gently-used items as easy as a tap and a swipe. You could have thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture, clothing, appliances and more just waiting to be sold.
Buy less, buy better.
At the core of minimalism, is the conscious decision to cut down or eliminate unnecessary purchases. The keyword here is unnecessary. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you’ll never buy a single item again. It simply changes the way you approach the buying process. Do you really need another pair of trendy jeans that you won’t wear past the end of the season? Why not invest in a classic pair from a quality brand that you’ll wear and love for years to come? Buying less means you’ll be able to focus on quality over quantity. Investing in pieces that will stand the test of time and save you money in the long run.
Be more intentional with your spending.
Something happens when you become mindful of how and where you’re spending your money. Adopting a more minimalistic lifestyle can help you recognize the difference between the things you need and the items you don’t. Before you know it, you’ll apply that way of thinking to other parts of your life, too. If health and wellness are important to you, choose to create a budget that makes room for your gym membership or organic groceries. Using that same principle, you might find items or services you’re spending money on now that don’t add value to your life. Being more intentional with your spending means eliminating expenses that don’t deliver what you need.
Reduce your debt.
Logically, you’ll accumulate less debt when you spend less. But that’s just one way minimalism can help your cash flow. Reducing your spending can also help you put more money towards paying down student loans, credit card debt, mortgages or auto loans. Reducing your debt is a critical step toward achieving financial freedom. By applying the principles of minimalism to your lifestyle, you’ll be working toward that goal.
Whether you fully subscribe to less is more philosophy or you’re curious about financial benefits of simplifying, exploring minimalism can help you optimize your finances and reduce your spending.