How Being A Minimalist Has Helped My Finances

I didn’t always have minimalist tendencies. Though I never considered myself a collector, I did have a ton of clothing and furniture while in University, and the size of my book collection growing up bordered on the absurd side. Becoming a minimalist wasn’t on my mind before. For the last few years though, accumulating large volumes…

Jordann

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Jordann

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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How Being A Minimalist Has Helped My FinancesI didn’t always have minimalist tendencies. Though I never considered myself a collector, I did have a ton of clothing and furniture while in University, and the size of my book collection growing up bordered on the absurd side. Becoming a minimalist wasn’t on my mind before.

For the last few years though, accumulating large volumes of stuff wasn’t really on my agenda anymore, it just didn’t hold the same appeal that it used to.

I didn’t know my new found feelings were called minimalism until I started trying to get out of debt, I realized what a great advantage my natural habits were, and how much they could help me if I was willing to hone them a little.

 

Minimalism Helps Me Stay On Budget

When I first started trying to get out of debt, I knew that I needed to cut my expenses and develop a budget. I also knew I needed to get a handle on my shopping habit.

Even though I was no longer into collecting many material possessions, I still had the bad habit of purchasing dumb stuff like magazines and candy, which, when added up at the end of the month, represented a huge waste of valuable cash that could go towards paying off my $38,000 debt load.

So I set a budget, and challenged myself to cut out all of the waste that I’d been paying good money for.

The effect was amazing. Over the past 17 months I’ve given up almost all of those silly little money wasting habits I used to have, and not partaking in them has cleared my mind and my home. I used to get so frustrated with all of the stuff I’d end up dragging into the house. Receipts, wrappers, magazines, flyers and the like were the bane of my existence.

Now, that stuff never makes it into the house, because I never buy it in the first place. This has freed up a ton of cash in my budget, that I’ve put towards paying off my debt.

 

Minimalism Helps Me Increase My Income

Once I’d realized how much I love simplifying my life, I started looking around at all of the other stuff in my life that could be simplified. I had a lot of furniture that, after moving from the city, no longer had a place in my new, 400 sq. ft. digs.

So I sold it. Not only did I make a little extra cash on furniture that I wasn’t even using, I cleared out a lot of storage space.

 

Minimalism Helps Me Get out of Debt

By decreasing my spending and selling off extra possessions I had no use for, I suddenly had more excess cash available. So, naturally, putting that excess cash flow towards debt was the logical thing to do. My living expenses now are lower than I ever thought they could be. Instead of spending all of my income on clothing or furniture or a large expensive rental, I spend it on debt.

Now, if I really want a book, I’ll still buy it, but I’ll get the eBook version, and I’ll appreciate it that much more because it’ll be the only thing I buy this month.

The funny thing is, even though I’ve drastically changed my consumption habits, I’m still just as happy or even happier than I was before. Having healthier finances has made a world of difference in my peace of mind, as has stepping of the consumer hamster wheel.

Have you ever reduced your consumption to help your finances?

This was another awesome post by my wonderful staff writer Jordann. Hope you enjoyed it!


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Jordann

Author: Jordann

Jordann is a part time runner, yogi, local foodie and personal finance aficionado. She’s also a full time marketing professional living and working in Atlantic Canada. She writes about her life at her blog, My Alternate Life.

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  1. Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence

    I was never a big spender, and always favored going out and traveling rather than buying stuff. Living in 200sqft as a student definitely helped limiting the stuff, then repeated moves made me get rid of clutter each time. Now it is a way of life, I would be overwhelmed with too many things to store, clean, take care of, maintain..
    My recent post Why I upgraded to a paid bank account

  2. myfijourney

    I have absolutely no doubt that spending less money is better for your finances. The math backs it up.

    But, I seriously question this statement:
    "The funny thing is, even though I’ve drastically changed my consumption habits, I’m still just as happy or even happier than I was before. Having healthier finances has made a world of difference in my peace of mind, as has stepping of the consumer hamster wheel."

    I make a point of saving a lot of money (over 50% of my income), but at no point has not buying something ever made me happier or more fulfilled. I'd be much happier if I spent 100% of my income, but instead I make tradeoffs between immediate gratification and long-term financial goals. I hope that in the future my decisions make me happy, but they certainly don't do as much for my present happiness as buying more stuff would.

  3. The Norwegian Girl

    I love books and dvds, which was where a lot of my money went before, but then I got to my senses after figuring out how much I was actually spending, and reduced the spending to a minimum. I allow myself ocassionally to buy a new book, if I`m going on vacation, and I buy perhaps one dvd (on sale) every third month or so.

    1. The Norwegian Girl

      I have, but there are so many restrictions on buying ebooks and using netflix in Norway… but I do stream most tv-shows, and some movies online.. but don´t tell anyone!:-P

  4. Great points, Jordann. It makes so much sense that a minimalist lifestyle would help you financially. If you are consuming less, you are spending less on those things you consume. I am not so great at the minimalist lifestyle, but I hope to curb my consumption to some degree because I know it's best for my finances.
    My recent post 5 Things to do if you are unemployed and looking for a job

  5. Trying to become a minimalist has actually helped my finances in a different way – I became incredibly organized. I had drawers so full of clutter that I could barely open them and piles of mail on my dining room table. When I decided to be a minimalist, I changed all my bills into e-bills (no more paper and clutter).

    Magazines were also one of my weaknesses and what a waste of money they were (easily $8/week). I considered online subscriptions to my favorite magazines, but I decided to do away with them altogether a year ago and I haven't looked back since.
    My recent post Bridesmaids – The Cost of Saying Yes

  6. It's amazing how hard it can be to give something up and then how little you miss it once it's gone. Or even how much of a relief it is to have it gone. There is so much consumption that I've cut out of my life, and honestly I can barely remember what those days were like. I couldn't be happier with the changes.
    My recent post The Simple, Effective Approach to Investing (Part 1): Where Do Investment Returns Come From?

  7. Brian

    I will never be a minimalist. It just won't happen. I'm not saying I like having a lot of stuff, but the minimalist lifestyle doesn't appeal to me. I do have a fairly low consumption on many things, but there are some things that I am willing to pay a bit more for since they make me happy.

    1. Matt

      I think a lot of people have a misunderstanding of minimalism. A lot of minimalists I know end up paying extra for nice things that willl last or bring joy. You are more conscious with the things you do own, rather than just owning a lot of stuff that you may never use. It often coincides with buying things for life as they say, rather than cheap and then have to keep buying more to have the same use. It is spending money more wisely to get things you don’t have to keep buying because they broke.

  8. Love reading about this stuff. We purged LOTS when we moved last year, and are looking to purge more. It feels so great to get rid of stuff!
    My recent post You’re Not Just Paying off Debt, You’re Building Wealth

  9. plantingourpennies

    Me PoP is a natural minimalist, and I've always have some anti-hoarding tendencies, so I definitely see where you are coming from. Since stepping into a less formal work environment, my clothes shopping has decreased dramatically. Instead of fancy suits and blouses and heels, light sundresses, or jeans and a simple blouse and flats or boat shoes are sufficient for work and home. I like having 1 wardrobe to maintain instead of 2!

  10. John S @ Frugal Rules

    Solid points Jordann! I had to cut back a lot when I was in debt and trying to pay it off. At first, it was a shock to the system because I was so used to spending without limit. After I balanced out a bit it has been something I have carried on for years so as to not just collect more crap.

  11. mytoughgirl

    I think for me, being a minimalist is not my natural tendency and not my first choice of lifestyle. It's an important means to get to where I want to be financially. Not that I'm miserable since I started not buying as much, but I want to get out of the mess I put myself in. I hope I'll be financially better secured that I won't have to go on a strict forced minimalist lifestyle later in life. One thing for sure is that I appreciate everything more and I put a lot more thought into buying process.
    My recent post Prom Season

  12. Jenny@FrugalGuru

    I don't spend much on "stuff," largely because I don't want to spend the time to shop for it, I don't want to spend the energy cleaning and storing it, and I don't want to have to deal with it when I'm done.
    My recent post Save On Mother’s Day Flowers

  13. mycanuckbuck

    I am a minimalist by nature – I hate stuff and clutter, and I'd rather borrow something (library, friends, family) than buy it! Now- if only I could convince my husband to be the same way. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My recent post Top 10 tips on wow to save money and live green – part 1

  14. Great article Jordann. I first started to realize that I wanted to be more of a minimalist when I moved to my new house. We put a bunch of stuff in storage for around 6 months and I don't think in that entire time while I was building my house I really ever thought about any of it, which lead me to the conclusion that we buy way to much stuff that we just don't need.
    My recent post How To Make A Budget That Works In 4 Simple Steps

  15. LivingDFRocks!

    With all the moving I've done in the past few years it has caused me to pare down my furniture and not want to live with clutter and things that don't bring me any real joy. I also don't spend as much since I rarely go into the office or deal with a regular commute being that I work remotely.

  16. Smart Money Junction

    I have to admit I'm addicted to this blog now! I have always been aware of the benefits of saving & investing, which is the reason I try to save more than 50% of my post tax income every month. Though sometimes I become too stingy, leading a minimalistic lifestyle has its advantages. My corpus is already building and if I continue the same way, I'll achieve my goal of retiring early for sure!

  17. BrokeMillennial

    Great mentality! Cutting out needless purchases does wonders for the wallet! My roommate used to buy bottled water and Starbucks almost daily. She asked me for some money saving tips, so I told her to write down those expenses for just one week to see how much she spent. It was about $40 (per week)! Those are "treat yo self" moments for me instead of daily indulgences.

    I'm all about minimalism. My apartment decor is "Recently-Robbed-Chic." We have a nice sized apartment with only one couch, a chair and a small table with two stools in our living room/sun room/dining room area. When my roommate and/or I entertain, people sit on pillows on the floor or we pull our desk chairs from our rooms. In your early 20s floor sitting is acceptable (or so we make ourselves believe)!

    My recent post #Broke Millennial’s Guide to New York City for Cheap(ish)

  18. I wrote a post about this once. Frugality is seen as hoarding by some, whilst minimalism is seen as spending huge amounts of a few choice pieces by others. I think they can both interact in the ways you have mentioned, where stopping spending on junk leads to both a frugal and minimalist lifestyle. Nice one!
    My recent post How to grow vegetables WITHOUT a garden!

  19. kylebschmitt

    My girlfriend and I reduced our consumption in order to help our finances too! Mostly with food, we used to go out to eat all the time! Now we try to limit it to once or twice a month. While we typically eat at nicer places than we used to, the spending overall is much less and makes the occasions feel more special.
    My recent post Dream Grocery Shopping vs Current Reality

  20. Nick @ AYoungPro.com

    Similar to you, I have become increasingly minimalist as I have gotten older. I have noticed all of the same benefits that you mention as well.
    My recent post The Biggest Financial Mistakes I’ve Made in My Career (So Far)

  21. Pretired Nick

    I've had several points in my life where I've returned to minimalism either by a psychological need to simplify or to save money. The amazing thing is how quickly the money gets accumulated. Even when I know it's going to happen because I've done the math, it's still surprising every time!

  22. morgaine80

    Being on a shopping ban this year has brought an interesting perspective on my stuff. I've been trying quite hard to rid myself of stuff I don't use and/or no longer want and its been quite freeing ๐Ÿ™‚
    My recent post I’m Back A$$wards … Part 1

  23. I have cut way back on everything that I buy. Now I only buy what I absolutely need. It has saved me so much money, and now I am able to pay down debt faster. I really don't miss the extras!

  24. There are some people who over-think everything. Thus, their problems get more complicated. Just like you, I've always thought that the simpler, the better.

    My recent post Students, Get Ahead by Getting a Job This Summer

  25. Funda

    Being a minimalist is a cool idea. Going all in even if you don’t know what’s in it for you would be very risky. But one thing you should do is to minimize your debts in order for you to be financially free. A very good advice for those who have been also struggling and making ways in how to pay and limit their debts. The way to financial freedom is to first pay your business loans, personal loans, or any other loans you may have.