You've certainly heard about minimalism before, as it seems like a fad that comes and goes. The economy is strong, so fewer people are talking about it. If we enter a recession though, you can bet that the numerous stories and articles about minimalism all over the internet will surface again. Of course, there are benefits to living on less no matter where in the economic cycle we are in, but practicing the art form is certainly easier said than done. With all the gadgets and gizmos that we have that make our lives so much easier, it's almost impossible to give them up. Is there any real point to minimalism? There certainly is, especially when it comes to your finances.
There are many minimalists who go to the extreme by getting rid of almost all of their possessions. You don't have to do that (unless you want to!) but there are certainly things you can do to have a healthier relationship with 'stuff'. And as you learn to live with less, you'll also save a lot in the process too. So if you're ready to give this minimalist thing a try, here's four tips to help you get started:
Declutter Your House & Wardrobe
The easiest way to begin your minimalist lifestyle is to go through what you already have. Everyone has clutter in their house, so start there. Take a day to go through your things, especially your wardrobe. Keep those items that you've used in the past three months. For everything else, split it into two piles: one you will throw away and one you will donate. After going through this exercise, you'll most likely realize that the pile of items to keep is much smaller. After all, most people can live with much less than they think.
Simplify Your Routine
Next, it's time to go through your current routine and find ways to simplify everything. You might do something drastic, like selling your car and opting for public transportation instead, but you can also find ways to start small, like making your own coffee in the morning instead of going to Starbucks. You can also make an effort to challenge yourself. Instead of buying something new, try to go on a shopping-ban for a month if you can. You'll find that you will begin to appreciate the things you already have. You'll also save a lot of valuable time and money.
Spend on Experiences
As you try to spend less on material goods, this is also a good opportunity to spend more on experiences that are meaningful to you. Perhaps you've been trying to save up for a big trip or get tickets to a new play. Now is the time to finally prioritize these things. Material things only last for so long, but the memories you create last a lifetime. Spending on stuff is easy, but the emotional high is fleeting. Spending on experiences will make you much happier in the long run.
Lastly, it's important to embrace change. You're never really going to succeed at being a minimalist unless you can value the benefits and also open yourself up to a new way of living. A minimalist lifestyle can help prioritize your finances, spend less on things that don't matter and set you up for a better future. But even more so, it will change the way you look at stuff. Instead of spending all our time trying to acquire new things, you'll be able to focus more on what really matters, like family and friendships. The value you gain from a minimalist lifestyle can be quantified in much more than just money.
Written by Connie Mei for MoneyNing and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.