minimalist budget

How Minimalism Can Give You Space and Ease Financial Stress

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Adopting a minimalist lifestyle has grown in popularity in the last several years. As a minimalist, you strive to live simply only to use what you need each day. The benefits of minimalism include improving your spending habits, having a more organized home, and being more eco-friendly. 

Taking on a minimalist lifestyle can improve your financial life by helping you save money. Let’s learn how we can use a minimalist lifestyle to learn how to spend less money. 

What Is a Minimalist Lifestyle?

Spending on who you ask, you will get a different answer about the meaning of minimalism. The common goal that all minimalists believe is focusing on what really matters. Minimalists are making an intentional choice to live with less. 

For example, this could be adjusting your social calendar to attend fewer events and having more free time to be around the people you care for the most and do things you love.

Benefits of Minimalism 

Living a minimalist lifestyle offers many different benefits. Among the biggest is time. Having less clutter means that you are spending less time organizing and cleaning. That allows you to increase your focus and increase your productivity. This idea helps you lower your stress levels.

The positive impact that minimalism has on your finances is another huge benefit. You’ll have more money in your bank account because you will make mindful spending decisions by focusing on your needs versus wants. 

Ideas to Save Money

So you’ve decided to give a minimalist lifestyle a try and know how to spend less money in your new life. Minimalism can provide you with money therapy by reducing the stress that financial issues bring about. Here are some minimalism tips to try incorporating into your new way of life. 

Don’t Buy Things to Impress Others

That saying about “Keeping up with the Jones” is an expensive attitude to have. Stop getting caught up with this thought process. We end up buying things that we don’t need, with money that we don’t have. Often, people that we are trying to impress with these purchases are those who we don’t aren’t close to or even like. 

Curb those spending habits that cause you to buy these things you don’t need or bring you happiness. You’ll end up saving money, simplifying your life, and worrying less about what other people’s perceptions of you are. 

Use Cash to Make Purchases

When on a minimalist budget, you should start using cash again to purchase your necessary items. Using credit cards will increase your chances of making impulse purchases or overspending on the things that you need. 

Mindful spending is easier when physically using money to make purchases. You’ll think more about that twenty-dollar bill leaving your wallet than swiping a credit card. Hence, when you are looking for a simple way to save money, switching to cash is a great alternative. 

Think About Needs vs. Wants Meaningfully

A minimalist mindset is focused on you living within your means and needs. To retain the part of your brain that wants to spend money on impulses and have fun all the time, you should start by understanding the difference between a need and a want.

Needs are things that are important and that you can’t live without. Needs would include things like housing, food, and insurance. Wants are things that aren’t necessary for your daily needs or might be something that’s just above what’s needed.

For example, you might need a new car to replace your old one that is constantly having problems. Choose a used car that’s reliable, gets good gas mileage, and has the main features you want. It will save you thousands of dollars versus going with a new luxury model with many features that you will never use. 

Consider Decreasing Your Housing Costs

Have you ever heard the phrase, “House rich and cash poor”? Unfortunately, many people live in homes that they can barely afford to pay for. These homes are often much bigger and fancier than we need for our housing needs. 

When looking to declutter your life, downsizing your home will help you figure out what things you truly need to have with a smaller space. The biggest expenses that we have every month are our rent or mortgage.

Do you really need a spare bedroom for guests? Or do you want to have a large basement, so you have space for all your junk? Many of the things that people on their “House List” are nice to have. People want that extra space for those “just in case” situations or impress their friends and family.

However, your home should be the right size for you and meet your day-to-day needs. For example, having an overnight guest once or twice a year or having a large dining room to use for holidays when you’re hosting shouldn’t dictate how much square footage you add to your home. 

So it makes sense to try to reduce these costs to have a positive impact on your finances. You’ll also pay less on utilities, maintenance, etc., when you have a more modest home.

Take a Pause Before Buying

Impulse buying while you’re in line at the grocery shop or when you’re window shopping with your friends will affect your wallet. If you struggle with this in particular, try to create the following process every time you want to buy something. First, do not purchase until at least 24 hours have passed since you first wanted to buy the item.

After this period has elapsed, ask yourself if you really still want the item or not and whether it adds value to your life. If you can’t answer this question or your desire for the thing has passed, don’t buy it. 

Understand Your Spending Triggers

What makes you spend money in the first place? It’s not money therapy to go out and shop with your stress out. It’s a way that you’re dealing with your stress that isn’t constructive to your life. 

Figure out what your spending triggers are that cause you to want to shop. Then once you have identified what they are, you can start working on a plan to reduce these behaviors. 

Make Investments in Experiences, Not Things

Another one of the best ideas to save money on a minimalist budget is to prioritize experiences. Buying the latest gadget or clothing will not bring you as much joy as the value that creating memories will bring. 

Become more critical about spending on other things in your “wants” budget. For example, instead of the money you’re spending on a cup of coffee every day at the local coffee shop, brew your own coffee. Then, take that money you have saved and use it towards a fun family day trip to the local museum. 

You’ll get a lot more (and lasting!) enjoyment out of an experience like that than you did sipping on a pricey brew on your way to work. 

Buy Durable Items That Have Multiple Uses

This is not a counter-intuitive approach to minimalism. On the contrary, purchasing long-lasting and versatile things are important functions of living a minimalist lifestyle. 

For example, consider how many coats you own. You might have a light jacket, rain jacket, winter coat, dressier coat, and maybe even another winter coat. However, you probably only use one out of these five coats regularly, while the others may go unused for a year.

Instead, you could probably get along with having two coats. One coat that’s made for every season and weather situation, and you can use the other jacket for warmer days. Thinking about the right items to spend your money on will help curb spending on similar items and last a long time. 

Cut Down On Subscription Services 

If you haven’t “cut the cord” yet, then it’s time to take some action. A cable tv package is an expensive monthly expense. Instead, opt for a cable streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, etc. You can get a subscription to ESPN if the sports addict in your home is concerned about missing their football games. 

Canceling your cable package is just a start, however. Look at all the other subscription services that you’re paying for. For example, do you have a Spotify premium account and use it a few times a month to listen to when walking the dog? You’re probably not making full use of the service and could get by just fine by using their free service or an alternative. 

How often do you take advantage of your gym membership? If you have equipment at home or have access to workout videos through your streaming services, you could use those alternatives instead. 

When you take a hard look at your finances, it’s important to look at those recurring expenses and evaluate them regularly. Make a change if you’re not getting the return on your investment anymore. 

Appreciate What You Have

Practicing gratitude will allow you to focus more on the positives in life. It will not only affect your financial health but increase your mood and happiness. Write a list of a few things that you are grateful for. 

Do this every day in the morning to supercharge your day (and attitude). Doing this could even help you overcome the urge to spend on things you don’t need. 

Plan Your Meals

Going to the grocery store without a plan ends up being a big mess. You can end up with things you already have at home or miss items that you need to make the meal you thought of at the market.

Instead, plan your meals out each week so that you know exactly what you need for every meal, every day. You can go through your kitchen to figure out what you need so that you don’t end up overspending when you get to the store.

Plan your grocery list and use it as your guide when you get to the grocery store. Planning your meals will also encourage you to make healthier meals for yourself and your family. 

Also, never go to the grocery store hungry, either. You’ll make more impulse purchases.

Try Money Saving Challenges

Here is one of the best minimalism tips that you should try with your new lifestyle: Try out a “No Spend” challenge. Here are a few money saving challenges that you can try below:

No New Clothes Challenge

Buying clothes is a real problem for some of us. We all like fashionable goods because it makes us feel good about ourselves too. But going out and buying new clothes every month isn’t necessary to make us feel this way.

Plus, we end up with a closet full of things that we may put on a few times a year even though we happen to love how it looks on us. To do the no new clothes challenge, write down a piece of clothing that you think you need to buy.

At the end of the month, decide if that item is really necessary. Chances are, you’ll find something that you already own that is equally as good. 

No Extras

We often don’t notice how much money we’re spending on things that we barely use. This challenge is a great way to kickstart your goal of reducing your subscription services. 

Look at all the things you are paying a subscription for, including:

  • Music subscription
  • Streaming TV
  • Gym memberships
  • App subscriptions

Now cancel the things that are possible for you to schedule before you start this No Extras Challenge. Shutting down a few of these services during this challenge could save you more than $100. 

Other things that you could put in this category are extras like buying bottled water to drink at home and snacks at vending machines.

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