Could Minimalist Living Be the Best New Year’s Resolution for Your Budget?
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.
For many people, physical clutter translates to mental clutter and affects health and happiness. Concern about health decline sparked a movement toward minimalist living that more people are adopting as their New Year’s resolution. By doing so, people can improve their personal lives as well as their financial lives with all the benefits minimalist living has to offer.
So what is minimalist living? It’s a lifestyle that focuses on simplifying all areas of mental, physical, emotional and financial well-being to become a happier person and a more mindful consumer.
How Minimalism Benefits a Budget
In the spirit of getting more by having less, minimalism simplifies finances. Below are some budgeting benefits that come with adopting a minimalist lifestyle.
- Having Fewer Expenses
By deciding what expenses are necessary, you can make sure that nonessentials are eliminated. Routine purchases are where consumers can cut costs and save the most. For instance, instead of spending five dollars on a cup of coffee every day, you can make each cup at home and save nearly $35 a week! Instead of paying for cable, try utilizing streaming services, or choose an electronic-free source of entertainment for some evenings.
- Lowering Bills
Average energy costs for the typical household ranged from $99.50 to $126.58 in 2017 across the United States. Once all the unnecessary items are out of the house, many realize they need less space. Requiring less space means downsizing and reducing bills like electric, rent and gas.
- Getting out of Debt
One study found that the average household totals about $8,284 in credit card debt, with adults having four credit cards each. Some say one credit card is too much. It leads to people spending more than they make and adds stress on personal lives.
When you reduce your expenses and lower your bills, the saved money can go toward paying off your debts. Paying them off fast means fewer interest payments, which can relieve pressure on your bank account.
- Saving for the Future
Less money going toward bills and expenses equals more money making it into your wallet and savings. With each paycheck, strive to set some money aside for personal and emergency expenses.
By saving for the future, you can ensure that there’s more peace of mind and security for the present.
How to Live Like a Minimalist
When it comes time to change, there are many ways to start. Here are some tips on how to start living like a minimalist and simplifying your life.
- Visualize How Life Will Look
Life as a minimalist looks different for everyone. It could mean trading in the house for an apartment, getting out of debt or making a commitment to purchasing just what’s needed. No matter what minimalist living looks like to you, visualizing the end result will help you develop steps that make your vision a reality.
Write it down, then add the steps underneath to reach each goal, or create a vision board with colorful and inspiring images.
- Clean out Clutter
Organized clutter is still clutter. It’s taking up unnecessary space that could store the essential things. The average house has 300,000 items, most of which aren’t used, and that doesn’t cover consumables like food, hygiene products and personal records. Here are some examples of how to declutter items in your home:
- Photos: Scanning photos into the computer eliminates the need for photo albums. Plus, technology allows you to create digital albums with locations and dates for further organization.
- Clothes, shoes and accessories: Tackle the closet by participating in Project 333, which helps create a capsule wardrobe with fashionable items that can be mixed-and-matched for all occasions.
- Items (like mugs, trinkets, decor and more): Anything that’s collecting dust and going unused takes up unnecessary space. Send it away — far away.
When it comes letting go of items, think about how they can be reused or recycled. Sell what other’s might find value in — doing so might generate some extra cash. Donate or give away anything you think might help someone in need.
- Go Digital to Save Space
Go through records, school projects and notes kept over the years, and see which ones include necessary information. Save the art projects and awards — if desired — or take the opportunity to scan them to a computer. By digitizing important papers and documents, you can make sure there’s no risk of losing them.
- Simplify Budgets and Expenses
Budgeting is complicated only if it’s made complicated. To simplify your budgeting, try these steps and see what they can do:
- List all expenses
- Categorize each expense as essential or optional
- See which expenses can be eliminated
- Deduct those from your monthly income
- Set aside money to save for emergencies and the future
- Pay off outstanding debt with what’s left
- Take the Time and Trust the Process
It takes time to go through all the clutter and reorganize. Make it easy by taking it one day at a time. Set aside an hour or two to tackle only the closet or filing cabinet. Then, move on to the kitchen and storage shed. No rule says clutter must disappear in an afternoon or that simplifying your life should take only a month or two. It takes time to develop the minimalist mindset. Be patient with yourself, and have fun with the process.
A New Year’s Resolution That Sticks
Even if your New Year’s resolution is to find minimalist ways to improve your mental and physical health, there’s no denying that consuming less leads to more where finances are concerned. Try some of these minimalism tips for budgeting and financing, and see just how happy your bank account and well-being will be.