Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Alex
Minimalism is more than just downsizing and creating clean, beautiful and functional spaces. It is about bringing order, discipline and intentionality to all parts of your life. Among other things, you will save money with minimalism because your financial life will become ordered and simplified along with the rest of your life.
Focus in and you will save money with minimalism as well as accelerate the process of harmonizing your entire life.
If minimalism is something you aspire to but you haven’t gotten started yet, there’s no time like the present to jump in.
Here are 5 key ways minimalism will support your finances:
1. Apply Intentionality to Purchases
At the heart of minimalism is the creation of a more intentional life—that is to say, a life governed by you rather than circumstances and unconscious forces. As with possessions and your environment, be intentional with your purchases.
Why does advertising work? Why do grocery stores put candy at the checkout? Why do gas stations sell junk food, magazines and toys?
They know how to push your buttons and drain your bank account without you giving it even a moment’s thought.
How often do you come home from the store with purchases you hadn’t planned to make?
Why is it that the majority of purchases are made at the beginning of each month?
CNBC reports that the average American makes $5400 worth of impulse purchases each year. That’s just the average—a lot of people spend much more on impulse.
While the coming recession is going to drive down spending, being forced by necessity isn’t the way to go.
Minimalism is a huge help here. For one thing, you’ve decided to depopulate your life of stuff. So already you know that adding to your collection of basically useless material possessions is a no-no.
Go to the next level and make each purchase conscious and intentional. Devise a process for yourself in which you allow time to reflect on the future purchase. Ask yourself several times if this is really something you need to buy.
Perhaps you can borrow it.
Perhaps you can do without.
Think it through. If you intend to go ahead, write out the reason and read it back to yourself.
Does it make sense? Is it fully justified?
To save money with minimalism start by making each purchase intentional.
2. Simplify Your Diet
The same study that found Americans to waste over $5000 a year on impulse buys found that 70% of those purchases had to do with food.
No big surprise there. All you have to do to know that eating has gone out of control in the Western world is to look around—people are stuffing their faces all day long, and it shows.
Sadly for the health of people and the planet, most of the excess is unhealthy processed or factory farmed food.
Bringing a minimalist mindset to your diet can be healing for both your body and your wallet.
Treat your body just like you do your home, your desk at work, or any other space that you have or intend to simplify.
Your body thrives on simple, whole foods. Everything in a package, everything with a list of ingredients—no matter how “natural”—is garbage. All of it. Whether it is vegan, paleo or organic doesn’t matter. If it’s packaged, processed food it is nasty, harms you and is a waste of money.
Be as intentional with your food purchases as you are with every other purchase. Ask yourself if this food is supports your health, fights off disease, and is free of harmful ingredients and substances.
A simple diet is an inexpensive diet. In a day I typically eat some fruit, a large salad and some combination of legumes, whole grains and cooked vegetables. Everything is made from scratch and I avoid eating out as much as possible. My diet is just plain simple although there the number of dishes I can construct from basic ingredients is nearly endless. Needless to say, a simple diet like this costs very little.
3. Downsize your living space—less stuff needs less space
Decluttering is one thing, downsizing is a whole other level of minimalism, and a key one to aim for.
Especially in America, the trend towards ever larger homes has been going on for decades. It’s been sold as part of the American Dream.
Of course those homes have to be filled with stuff. With crap. Which they are.
The trend towards larger homes is largely a function of consumerist psychology, not human needs or personal happiness. Simply put, the more stuff you own, the more space you need to store it.
And the more space you need, the more you will pay for the home and the land, utilities, insurance, repairs.
Consumption, bigger homes, bigger bills—it’s a self-perpetuating cycle of unhappiness.
Downsizing cannot happen overnight, and if you have a children you face special challenges.
Yet a simplified home with cleaner spaces is as good for kids as it is for adults, and a smaller home is more conducive to family life.
The money you save can go towards their college or even just great family vacations.
There is no down side.
As you go deeper and deeper into the declutter you may see that downsizing becomes a realistic option. Make it the goal. Start working towards it. Calculate how much you will save and work up the motivation.
4. Pause before You Buy
One of the easiest ways to save money with minimalism is to introduce a pause before you buy.
Even minimalists have to make purchases sometimes.
We have a baby. The baby outgrows clothes every few months. Ergo, buying baby clothes is a regular part of our lives.
Yet even seemingly necessary purchases are sometimes actually optional or even turn out to be impulse buys.
The baby needs new clothes—but many pajamas does he need? One pair? Two? Six?
The simplest and most effective way to weed out unnecessary purchases is to never buy anything without first taking a pause to slow-think through the purchase.
Step back, ask a few questions.
What would happen if I didn’t buy this item?
What is the alternative to buying this item? That is, can I rent it or borrow it?
Is this something I want in my life in one, two or three years?
Is there a less expensive alternative?
Pause before you buy and inevitably you will catch catch yourself from falling into the over-consumption trap sooner or later.
5. Delete Marketplace Apps from Your Phone
You know what I’m talking about. Amazon, Ali Baba, and any kinds of store apps you may have.
Save money with minimalism by applying it to your phone and get rid of them all.
Buying from your phone is too easy, too tempting. Because the phone is always with you, you can make purchases from anywhere.
It hardly even seems like you are spending money.
And it’s fun.
Well, it seems like fun in the moment. What it really is is a little hit of dopamine, just like you get from a cup of coffee or a video game or a bar of chocolate.
Almost all of us are dopamine junkies, though that is a subject for other posts.
The point is, consumption is largely impulsive, compulsive and addictive, and the apps on our phones are like having your dealer in your pocket at all times.
It’s a lot harder to institute a pause before you buy when all you have to do is pull out your phone and click a few buttons.
Get rid of the apps.
When you have to go to a computer to buy something you will already be having to pause. You can think about it for longer. You won’t be able to fool yourself as easily.
Now while you are at it, delete all the other apps you don’t need and especially the ones you don’t use. Declutter your phone.
Minimalism is a mindset more than it is anything else. It takes a stand against mindless consumerism and the slavery of having to work just to warehouse all the garbage we have purchased. A great way to enter into a financial minimalist lifestyle is to discover what is really important and what isn’t through a spending fast.
The more you get into financial minimalism, the easier it is to save money—and grow financial wealth as well as mental health.
Follow these five tips for just a month and see what happens. You won’t be disappointed.