I’ve been trying out minimizing to save money for a bit over 8 months now. I started on this path because of my spending habits; minimizing my lifestyle inflation to save money I was otherwise throwing away.
Changing my spending came as a bit of a shock. I’d always assumed, that because I wasn’t up to my eyeballs in house and car debt, that I was fine, frugality-wise. I make decent money, why not enjoy some of it?
But I wasn’t really enjoying my money. I spent it just fine – but with a lot of accompanying worry and guilt. Eventually, I became seriously worried about money and had a minor freakout. I came to the conclusion that I had begun to shop emotionally, almost without realising it. I shopped when I was bored, when I was angry, when I was sad, when I was upbeat. Any excuse would do.
I discovered minimalist blogs like this one while I was diving between FIRE blogs and podcasts. I got caught up in the groundswell interest in the topic. By the time the Marie Kondo craze hit after Christmas, I’d decluttered my house three times and was down to a third of my previous closet.
Consciously decluttering, consciously living cleaner and lighter, all took a lot of physical and mental effort and real psychic deep-clean. The journey has been extremely rewarding, and as far as minimizing to save money goes:
My finances are simpler, more streamlined, more automated than before. I’ve realigned my money priorities and default to saving now, instead of spending.
I’m saving money because I don’t shop as much. I don’t even feel comfortable window-shopping or hanging around in malls for fun.
I don’t treat shopping as an emergency anymore. There’s nothing out there I have to have because I’m worried I’ll need it one day.
I’m aware of my triggers. I’m much more aware of shopping out of boredom, anxiety or sadness, and that causes me to check in properly and gauge what’s really going on and deal with it, rather than temporarily medicate the problem with a shop.
I work more easily. That one surprised me. It’s hard to have definitive data for this, but projects are definitely a lot easier to finish without the mental and visual drag of things lurking in the corner of my eye that I haven’t taken care of yet.
I view consumption very differently than I used to. I try to decide if I’m buying to fill a temporary gap versus really needing something. By trying to be happy with and use the things I’ve already got, and find function and joy in them again.
I shop slower, and smaller. Putting online items in a checkout basket and leaving them there. Walking to the shops instead of driving, so I can only buy what I can carry. Shopping in increments, one errand at a time, one week at a time. By creating lists and refining them, I manage to keep my shopping on point.
I spend money more meaningfully. I buy what I care about and I don’t allow guilt to factor. I’m not going to buy an expensive juicer again because I ‘should’ be getting more fruit and veg, only to have it sit unused for two years. I’m absolutely going to spend money on crochet yarn and printing paper tabletop roleplay minis because those are awesome hobbies I get to get a lot of enjoyment out of.
I went into minimalism to save money, but it’s affected so many other areas of my life.
Article reposted with permission from Drawing Money.
Related: The Power of the Savings Ratio