If you have ever been curious about what “Minimalist living” is all about, then this article is surely going to help you in that.
Minimalism is all about living with less. That includes less clutter, less spending and as a result, less financial burden.
The term minimalism became known to me almost not too long ago.
“Why would someone be happy to have fewer things around them? It doesn’t make sense, it this a new fad or something?“, I said to myself.
It was one of the YouTube videos of Matt D’Avella’s about minimalism that I’ve watched had me see things from a different standpoint.
It was never about the number of things I have or I own, it was about the quality of the few things I have.
And to gain the ability to let go of things that no longer benefits us!
For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than owning more worldly possessions.
By removing things from our lives that don’t add value or bring joy, we can experience a lot of benefits like better financial security, reduced stress, mental clarity, etc.
You can probably see how having less stuff can also free up your life financially!
Fewer belongings, more free space, less quantity, and more quality — who wouldn’t want all of those things?
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What Exactly is Minimalism?
If I had to explain minimalism in the shortest way possible, it would be: Living Better With Less.
Living better by not being driven by materialistic objects, living better by spending less money, living better by utilizing your time well, etc.
“Better”, being the keyword here. If you’re having difficulties to live with less, that is not minimalism!
There should be a noticeable positive change in the way you operate in your life. Whether it might be financial, time management, relationships or having a tidy environment.
- You’re spending less now, more money in your pocket: Positive Change!
- You have more space in your apartment: Positive Change!
- You get to experience a tidy environment: Positive Change!
- Spending less time to organize stuff and having more time to work on stuff that really matters: Positive Change!
Changes like these are what make a minimalistic lifestyle worth pursuing.
You also may notice that the is a major overlap between “Minimalist living” and “Frugal Living” lifestyles. Both of them point to the idea of living and enjoying life on less money.
While the overlap is considerable, it’s not a complete overlap though. Minimalism is not driven by the idea of saving money, it is more concerned about owning less useless junk.
Saving money in the process is just one of the by-products of practicing minimalism.
While frugal lifestyle revolves around the idea of saving money whenever possible!
Some of The Benefits of Minimalistic Living
Despite the fact that pursuing minimalism involves a lot of sacrifices and giving up’s, the benefits that come with this lifestyle often does significant improvements.
1. Financial benefits
Developing minimalistic habits allows you to rethink every time you are in the position to make a purchase, small or big. And take better decisions after that.
Does it provide any actual value?
Do you need it?
Will there be problems in my life if I don’t buy it?
If you’re not getting clear confident answers to these questions, maybe you need to rethink about making that purchase!
And when you have your finances in control, you prioritize things that are actually important like getting out of debt, buying your dream house, etc.
Hoarding is a habit. Sometimes people who hoard things are the ones who did not have much growing up so they feel a little wrong they are told to give up stuff they already had.
To overcome this here’s what I need you to do,
Look at a possession, pick one. Have you used that item in the last 3 months? Do you think you will need it in the next 3 months? If not, then its time to let go.
The key here is to be realistic and not to hold unnecessary sentimental values towards them!
3. Less wastage of time
Whether you acknowledge it or not, minimalism allows you to utilize your time well. Directly and indirectly!
What I mean by that is,
For example: When one is living a minimalistic lifestyle, they are supposed to NOT spend on unnecessary junk.
Hadn’t they followed that rule, they would’ve spent countless hours browsing through the internet which designer jacket to buy next or spent days trying to research which piece of furniture goes with the new curtains.
Why? Because they had no restrictions to spend money! If they had “no spend” mindset in the first place maybe they would’ve saved a lot of time and money
Along with these, there are numerous benefits that also come with minimalism,
- Less stress over finances
- More quality family/friends time
- Developing eco-friendly habits
- Less wastage
- Being less materialistic & so much more!
How to live minimally – Where to Start?
Whether it is physical minimalism or digital minimalism,
Minimalism, in general, is hot right now!
In my opinion, I consider minimalism less as a generational trend, and more of a mindset.
A mindset that is not complicated, not cluttered with stuff. A simplistic mindset where everything just fits perfectly. You need to have a set of clear rules you commit to fully, and make clear decisions on a daily basis.
You might have to adopt a clear decision-making mindset.
As simple as that!
Although introducing minimalism into one’s life can seem like a little overwhelming. And a lot of questions might cross your mind like,
“How can I get rid of this? What if I need this later?”
Trust me if you didn’t need it in the last few months, and if you’re not sure if you will use it anytime soon, you don’t need it anymore! Don’t just hang in the thought of “What if”.
1. Say No More Often
Saying no to things that no longer provide value might not be a cakewalk, but keeping them cluttered in your house slowly robs you from the ability to distinguish between the stuff that is actually valuable.
Say no to each and everything that might stand in your way-
- Say no to buying a huge house just to impress your friends,
- say no to filling your closet with more articles of clothing,
- say no to buying newly released devices (phones & laptops) what your current one is working perfectly fine.
The more you say no to things that do not provide additional value to your life, the easier it gets to recognize and declutter things that fall into the same category.
2. Budget For Less So That You Spend Less
As you make and follow a budget every month, if you continually tend to give a lot of room to enjoy on leisure, miscellaneous, eating out, clothing or “fun” budget categories,
You’ll gradually feel less guilty about spending money that you really didn’t need to spend, and will end up with more stuff in your home than you need.
By creating a budget that’ll be designed to make you spend less and providing as little room in these “fun” categories as possible (and working on actively downsizing the amount month after month),
You’ll find yourself having much more cash available to do better things with, such as to invest for retirement, bulk up your emergency fund, or even put towards your next big purchase to avoid taking on more debts.
3. Declutter Ruthlessly
The whole point of minimalism is to live better with less. In order to do that, you actually have to decide the stuff you no longer have to keep in your house.
Which is easier said than done!
Whether it is an old futon, a 2005 desktop or a piece of furniture you inherited, if there is something in your house that does not have a significant utility and is gaining an extra layer of dust every year, get rid of it!
Keep emotions aside, and think for the long term.
You can hold garage sales, sell it, or hand them to nearby flea markets. You can also sign up for Decluttr to get rid of old books, video games and old devices like computers
4. Get Control Over Your Finances
If you got any debt (5% or above) to your name your first priority should be getting rid of debt. Managing and controlling your finances is the way to do so, even for households where the income is not that great.
This is why it’s so important to learn to live a more frugal lifestyle, pay off your debts, and work hard towards financial freedom, no matter your situation, so you can start to save your money.
Consider opening a high yield savings account such as CIT bank and keep our money there. Also, plan ahead and save for your retirements with top-notch platforms like Betterment.
Track your savings progress with something like a simple budget spreadsheet or a budgeting program like Personal Capital.
5. Avoid Lifestyle Inflation at Any Cost
First of all, “What is lifestyle inflation?“
Lifestyle inflation is when you have a significant increase in income (a promotion, a bonus, etc), your spendings to skyrocket along with your income, resulting in buying more junk and fewer savings.
“What? I make more money now, I might as well treat myself for the hard work I put in.”
Sure! go ahead, treat yourself! But only in moderation! Try not to include this in your regular routine.
Otherwise, it will defy the whole point of “minimalistic living” that we are trying to achieve here!
I honestly feel that practicing minimalism brings quality in one’s life.
It is okay if you cannot go all the way in at once and get rid of everything you own in favor of living a minimalist life, given your current lifestyle situations.
That is one of the great things about living a minimalistic lifestyle– you get to pick and choose what’s right for you!
I personally have dived into this quite slowly, and it has helped me by preventing some impulse purchases thus saving quite some cash.
Now every time I’m in a position where I wanted to buy something, I ask myself, “does this bring value and meaning in my life?” and most of the time the answer turned out to be a clear “No!”.