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Last Updated on November 28, 2017

How to Save Money Effectively By Having a Minimalist Lifestyle

How to Save Money Effectively By Having a Minimalist Lifestyle

It seems that these days, everyone is talking about a minimalist lifestyle. From tiny homes, to possessing less stuff, to even minimizing the dependency on money, a minimalist lifestyle is very attractive to folks looking for a change. But how about saving money? It seems many assume that if you go minimalist, you automatically save tons of money. The reality is, the savings and budgeting changes. Today, I want to share with you how to save money as a minimalist![1]

Budgeting Until You Cannot Budget Anymore

Budgeting is key to saving money, no matter what kind of lifestyle you wish to have! Planning out your needs and having a clear picture in your mind about the road to savings is going to be your best friend. It’s a typical budget, just like anyone else. A focus on meeting your needs:

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  • travel expenses (gas, cab, bus)
  • rent/mortgage
  • utilities
  • food
  • clothing
  • healthcare
  • Toiletries & body care
  • Entertainment
  • Savings

Minimalist attitude is that you don’t use more than what you need. This budget can also help you figure out how to minimize your spending and making your savings bigger.

If you decide to ride a bike for transportation then you avoid spending on anything other than bicycle and bicycle maintenance. If your rent or mortgage is a big chunk of your money, look to a tiny house! Which means getting rid of a lot of “stuff” since you will have limited room (hello yard sale!). Even food can be minimized by growing your herbs and vegetables, rather than purchasing them in store.

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This is also where you can see if your goals for savings are realistic. If not, adjust them. You can change how you spend in other categories or adjust your savings to make it match what your real spending picture is.

Stick To Your Budget, or It’s Pointless!

How many of us have created a budget and then not looked at it again? Pretty much everyone! It’s not-so-easy to create the budget and if we are feeling overwhelmed by it, its easy to not look at it again. The reality is, follow it! Set aside 15 min each week to look at it and make sure you are on target. Yes, occasionally you will make a mistake. We are human! But the more we look at it, the less likely you will continue to do that. It can be very empowering after a bit to know you are in control of your money situation!

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Buy What Lasts!

Some items are a short term good (food, some clothing, etc) and that is okay. But other things are meant to last a long time. Focus on making sure you are purchasing items that will last you a long time! Sometimes this means you spend a little more than what you would expect. The idea is not to avoid spending money and being frugal, but rather looking at the larger picture. If you decide to fill your living room with plastic lawn furniture just because the price tag is cheaper, you will spend more replacing it over the years. Investing in solid furniture, that fits your space, and you will spend less because you won’t have to replace it. Quality vs price tag!

Buy What You Need, Not What You Desire

It’s easy to get caught up in fulfilling your desires for the latest phone or latest car. While a car is a need for some of us, and a phone is a necessity for everyone, it doesn’t have to be the highest priced and newest gadget. Marketers prey on folks desires, even leading us down the path of what they want us to desire. But the minimalist attitude is to focus on need rather than what we want.

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Let’s also acknowledge that what we own does not define who we are! While a style of clothing can reflect parts of our self, it is us who defines ourselves and not the style of clothing.

Savings for the minimalist, and just about everyone else, is an attainable goal. So many of us are accustomed to not saving and living hand to mouth that it can be an overwhelming endeavor. If you are living the minimalist lifestyle and are already struggling with savings, review that budget. Find the problem areas and figure out how to manage it.

Reference

[1]Simplicity Relished: 5 Minimalist Secrets to Saving Money

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Angela Kunschmann

Freelance Writer

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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