Being a minimalist is great for keeping your house clean it is also great for helping you save and invest. In this article I’ll share how minimalism can help you and your finances.
Only Keep What You Really Need and Love
If you look at a lot of social media, commercials, or other advertisements there is always someone telling you why their product is so important. We are raised believing that the more you buy the happier you will be. Whether it is a nice Channel purse, a nice new car, or trendy jackets we believe that buying things will make us happy.
I used to think that way and it’s hard not to given much of our society acts this way. I’ve found it is important control any desires to purchase unnecessary items. Not only do unnecessary items cost money they also take up space. Living in San Francisco is wonderful but it also means that we don’t have the space to buy unnecessary items.
At least once a year I’ll try to go through my living space and de-clutter by throwing away items that I no longer use. If items are still in good condition I’ll take them to the local goodwill or salvation army.
After I’ve donated items I feel better because my house is cleaner and it’s also nice to give back. It’s great to strive to only keep items that you use regularly. It’s human nature to accumulate items and to have multiple versions of the same items.
The only exception to only keeping items that you use regularly is if the item brings a fond memory or is one of my kid’s artwork or school work. I want my kids to be able to look back and see what they created when they were young so for that reason I do keep the best of my kids artwork and schoolwork.
Only Buy and Keep Clothes that You Love
Even though there are advertisements everywhere asking us to purchase the newest and trendiest clothes or tech item, it is even better to be able to control the desire to buy the newest item and instead save and invest the money instead. I’d much rather have the security of knowing that my investments and savings are growing vs. staying up to date with the most expensive trends.
Likely most of us, myself included, tend to wear a handful of the same outfits. As such there is no real need to have a lot of new clothes, having a few great pieces that can be alternated with different outfits is perfect.
There are a few jackets, jeans, and outfits that I do love and I’ll gladly keep these items. I especially love warm puffy jackets as it can get cold living in San Francisco. Yes I know San Francisco is a lot warmer than other parts of the country, but this comes from someone who grew up in Southern California in the valley where it was even warmer.
As for work, I have nice work pants, suits, sweaters, and shirts that can be alternated once I start going back into the office to work. Currently I’m still working from home but I expect to go back within the month and I am pretty excited to see my coworkers in person again!
Buying Fewer Groceries and Stuff Saves Money
Planning out your grocery trip in advance can reduce the likelihood that you’ll impulse purchase items and buy only what you really need. As fun as it is to buy anything that looks good, the costs and stuff add up quickly. I’ll my best to limit my groceries to items that I know I’ll use. Then if I run out, I can always go back to the store later in the week (which rarely happens!).
Go back to the store is much better than throwing out a ton of food that has expired. There is also the added benefit of having less clutter by buying less at the grocery store.
It is easier than ever to buy just about anything with Amazon, and other deliver services. I try to exercise self control and discipline and only buy items I really need.
Minimalism teaches Your Family the Importance of Experiences over Material Things
By limiting your spending you are also setting a great example for your kids that there are more important things in life than material things. For example going on a nice family walk or some other adventure can be much more rewarding than buying a new outfit.
Your family has a large influence in what your habits are so why not start your family off right by setting a great example.
Fewer Things Can Reduce Clutter and Anxiety Saving Time
Buying fewer material possessions means there is less stuff you have to organize. Having fewer things reduces clutter which can also reduce anxiety. If you have less stuff then you’ll spend less time organizing and cleaning.
Even Elon Musk understands the benefits to being a minimalist as he set out to “own no house” and to “sell almost all physical possessions”. This is on the extreme end and certainly there is no need to go that far, but there are benefits to having less material possessions.
A lot of us are spending more time at home as hybrid work has become more of a norm. This makes having a clean house with less clutter even more important. Having more stuff especially unorganized stuff can increase anxiety, so often it is even better to not buy items in the first place.
If You Have Multiple Items You Only Need to Keep One
We all tend to accumulate things. Especially when going out to eat it’s easy to accumulate multiple reusable food containers for example. You only really need to keep one item of each type, or at the most a couple food containers. The rest just leads to extra clutter. So don’t be afraid to throw the items away, or better yet recycle them!
Practice Having a Minimalist Lifestyle
As with most things in life, it takes a while to build habits. In fact it can take anywhere between 18 to 254 days according to 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology to form a new habit. So the next time you have a desire to purchase the trendiest clothes or gadgets, try to control the desire. As you do this time and again it’ll get easier the next time.
Before you know it you’ll be an expert in being thoughtful with purchases and saving money. Both your wallet and your de-cluttered house will thank you. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you made wise decisions.
Minimalism Prepares You for Retirement and Allows You to Control Your Expenses
Being a minimalist will help prepare you for what retirement may be and allows you to live diligently within a budget. Even the average person can accumulate wealth if they live within their means and save and invest wisely. This starts with being comfortable with a minimalist lifestyle.
Even those that appear to have the most trendy fashions, nicest house, and fancy car, may not necessarily be rich. They may be spending their income making it appear as though they are. True confidence comes with being comfortable with you are regardless of your material possessions.
Sure you will always have a friend or colleague who may have a nicer car or house, but that is okay. As long as you are saving and investing wisely in the long run you’ll be in a great position.
Prioritize Experiences Over Possessions
We only live once and either we can spend our resources on possessions or we can make the most of our time and prioritize experiences. I try to make an effort in prioritizing experiences over possessions. So this means it is okay to spend money on travels.
In fact we recently booked a trip to Yosemite. I’ve never been to Yosemite and I really can’t wait to go. I’m excited as we’ll be traveling but we’ll be doing so within our budget. This means I carefully looked for a place to stay that was cheaper than other places. It worked out perfectly as after living in San Francisco for many years it’ll be nice to go somewhere a little slower paced to enjoy nature and the quiet.
Spending time outdoors in nature can really help improve your mental health.
From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation.https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
The more we can place importance on experiences over possessions the better. Additionally, the more we can prioritize enjoying the outdoors even if only for 30 min. a day there can be benefits to our health.
In summary minimalism can help you and your finances. Below are tips on how minimalism can help you:
- Only keep what you really need and love
- Only buy and keep clothes that you love
- Buying fewer groceries and stuff saves money
- Minimalism teaches your family the importance of experiences over material things
- Fewer things can reduce clutter and anxiety saving time
- If you have multiple items you only need to keep one
- Practice having a minimalist lifestyle
- Minimalism prepares you for retirement and allows you to control your expenses
- Prioritize experiences over possessions