Mind On Your Money
Minimalism is about more than stuff. Today we’ll look at how it relates to money. By only spending money on things you need and things that get you closer to your goals, you’ll end up with more of it.
While minimalism means not buying stuff you don’t need, it’s also about never buying stuff you can’t afford. Take every credit card you own and freeze it. You can go so far as to cut them up. Or just put them someplace that’s really hard to get to. Give them to a family member to safeguard for you. Make it so when you reach for a credit card you have to reach pretty far.
Now that you’re not adding to your balances, you can start paying them off and working towards getting closer to debt-free.
Even the most minimal minimalist has to shop sometimes. A pair of pants only lasts so long. A pair of shoes that can’t be repaired must be replaced. Also we all must eat. The trick is to avoid over-buying. And especially avoid impulse or casual buying.
When you go to the store, have a list in your hand (or at least in your mind) detailing exactly what you need. If you see something that is not on the list that you think you may need. Wait. Take note of whatever it is. If, when you go shopping next, you find you still need it, you can probably go ahead and buy it.
Remember that a LOT of money goes into making us think we need things. That things will make us happier, smarter, more productive. As anyone who has gone minimalist (or is thinking of doing so) knows is that these statements aren’t true. What usually happens after a glut of spending is people feel worse, not better.
If the allure of new stuff ever sings its siren song to you, grab hold of your plans. Of the ideal way you want your life to look. Chances are, that new thing has no place in a life lived with intention.
Log into your accounts and go through your statements. Take a look at everything you pay for regularly. Every recurring bill. Are there services you no longer need? Subscriptions you don’t really use?
Take time right now to cancel them. Be prepared. Some services don’t want to be cancelled. Some will make you call a number and talk to a person before you can cancel. And it will be that person’s job to get you to not cancel.
Just keep your plans in your head. Remind yourself what fits into your new minimal lifestyle and what doesn’t. Stay strong.
Some minimalists don’t own their own car. That may seem like an extreme step but consider all the options that are out there. With Lyft and Uber, busses and bikes, trains and just good old fashioned walking, people are able to get around fairly well. Also consider that cars cost most people a significant amount of money — from car payments to insurance to gas.
While ditching your car might not be something you’re ready for, you might be interested in biking or taking the train to use your car less. You could even set up a challenge for yourself: see if you can go without using your car for one week.
If you’re a 2-car family, see if it would be possible to get by with just one car for the week. You might find it’s easier than you thought. And one day you might be one of those “extreme minimalists” who doesn’t have a car — and doesn’t miss it at all.
If you thought the transportation section was a radical notion, get ready for super radical. What if you lived in a smaller house? What if you lived closer to parks you enjoy visiting, closer to work, closer to the movie theater? While (obviously) you’re not going to move today, it’s worth considering whether or not the place you live is helping you realize your home plans and your goal plans. If not, there’s no rule that says you must live in the same place forever.
Know Where It Goes
Keeping tabs on your money, getting rid of automatic spending, only buying what you need will go a long way towards simplifying your life, your finances and your mind. Instead of seeing shopping as “fun” the minimalist sees it as a means to an end. And that end is a happier life. Which actually is fun.