The Financial Benefits of Being Minimalist

Friday, April 22, 2016


Minimalists often spend a lot of their time talking about how their lifestyle brings peace, simplicity and order to their lives.  These are definitely benefits of a minimalist life, but sometimes we overlook the best part of minimalism:  It can be a less expensive way to live.

Intentional living makes me regularly evaluate what things I buy to bring into my home.  It also gives me a legitimate reason to stop trying to keep up with my next door neighbor (literally or figuratively).

Social media can absolutely rob you of your happiness because it promotes the comparison game. That person that you follow has a prettier, better decorated home, or nicer clothes, or they shop at the farmer's market every week, or whatever.

When I stop trying to keep up with them, and be content with what I have, I am a lot happier.  I am also less likely to drop a lot of money on random junk to make me more like someone I saw on Instagram or Pinterest.

Today I want to talk a little bit about how minimalism is a cheaper way of leaving for my family, and some specific examples of how this can work, even if you shop for more expensive items.

There are generally two scenarios for my shopping trips these days.

First Scenario:
I think about going shopping (this is more recreational shopping, not grocery shopping, or shopping for something specific). Then I realize that buying random stuff won't make me happier long term, and it will probably just clutter up my apartment. So instead, I end up at the park with Fox instead of at the mall.

Bottom line?  Choosing to skip an unnecessary shopping trip will always save you money.  Be content with what you have until you actually need something.  It might take some practice at first, but the more you find things to be grateful for, the easier it will be to be satisfied with your own life.

Or, my second scenario:

Decide to go shopping with some specific goals in mind (let's use clothes as an example here, but it could work for most items you might shop for).  For example, you might need a few new short-sleeved shirts for the summer months.

Before you go shopping (even online shopping), consider what the right short-sleeved shirts might look like for you.

Adam is currently in school, and our budget is pretty tight because of it, so I rarely impulse buy anything, even at the grocery store.  I tend to plan out what I am going to get in advance, and then purchase just those things.  Impulse control is much easier when you have a plan.

My plan would be to look for shirts that are long enough to cover my stomach and back, versatile, sleeved, and non-sheer.  Your ideal shirt might be something totally different, but figuring out what you are actually looking for will help you sort out cheap, clearance distractions before you even get to the store.

It may take longer to find the right item(s) this way, you will be happier long-term with what you have purchased. Clearance shopping usually ends up being cyclical, because those clothes were often purchased on a whim, because they were a good deal, and not because they fit well. You will stare into your closet bursting with cheap, meh-fitting clothes, and still feel like you have nothing to wear, so you will want to go shopping again.  Because of this, spending a little more money for a better piece can actually save you money.

Choosing the right stores to shop at (online or in a brick and mortar building) can also help with impulse control.  If you shop at a store that generally carries well-made items (whether they be expensive or not), you will be more likely to get an item that will fit better and last longer.

Because I like hearing myself talk, I want to walk you through one other, real-life scenario for purchasing stuff for my home, and how being a minimalist has made my life easier and cheaper.

When we first moved into our apartment a few years ago, I kept wandering through Target and other home stores trying to figure out what darling nicknacks to put on our end table and on the bookshelf.  I never really found anything that I loved, and my surfaces mostly stayed blank.  I had a few photos, but no nifty geometric metal things, or brass animals.

I felt bad whenever I would look at design blogs, with their perfectly curated bookshelves and beautiful trinkets and then see the lack of stuff on my shelves (remember that lousy social media comparison I talked about earlier? I have totally fallen for it, too).

In retrospect, that seems completely ridiculous and I am grateful that I don't have a bunch of nicknacks from 3 years ago, that don't look trendy anymore, and are covered in dust. Also, I think I saved myself a few hundred dollars by not purchasing stuff that I didn't love.

I still have books, photos and a few other necessities on shelves, but they are things that I use regularly and that bring me pleasure.  And dusting doesn't bring me pleasure.  At least it wouldn't if I actually did it.

Minimalism goes back to the heart of why you own something.  Does it bring you joy?  Does it fit well?  Is it the right fit for your home and your life?

In the last year or so, since we have been applying minimalist principles, I have tried to only purchase only things that I love. My mom always says, "If you don't love it, don't buy it."  Words to live by, people.

I have limited my shopping trips to more necessary trips, and consequently have spent less money in almost every area of my life.  Our home is easier to clean, with less stuff, feels more spacious, and our lifestyle is costing less money.

Why on earth would you fill your home with a bunch of junk that takes up valuable storage space, just because it was on clearance.  I have made this mistake too many times.  It isn't worth it.  It won't ever be.

Here's to simpler living!  Happy Friday!

3 comments

  1. You know, I know you're right. I know I have too much stuff, too many clothes, way too many shoes. I need to start thinking this way more. It just isn't easy. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. I recently started this journey, and it's been a process. It really takes a lot of resetting your thought processing, but I've really enjoyed it. I still feel like I have a ways to go, but it's happening. I definitely have to write a list anytime I go shopping to keep the impulse buying under control.

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