✔ Minimalism is a lifestyle focused on only buying products that serve a purpose.
✔ Minimalism could be the cure to emotional spending and impulse purchases.
✔ Decluttering your space and forming good spending habits to limit purchases of unnecessary stuff is the first step towards a frugal minimalist lifestyle.
As homes in Canada's big cities become smaller and our buying habits begin to change, more Canadians are embracing the art and discipline of minimalism. Plus, there's a secret benefit of living with less...it saves you a lot of money.
Have you ever noticed how good it feels to clear your closet of clothes you don't wear anymore? Do you ever notice that it suddenly feels easier to take a deep breath in a room after you've decluttered? Do you look around at your possessions and see treasures—or are you just surrounded by stuff? Minimalism might be for you.
For Minimalists, Less Is More
Minimalism is a lifestyle that is centered around only owning things that you need and use, and letting go of things that simply take up space. Think: Tidying Up by Marie Kondo; every item you own should either serve a purpose in your home or bring you joy when you hold it. If an item doesn’t fulfill one of those two criteria, it’s time to say goodbye.
The hardest part about embracing the minimalist lifestyle is unlearning what we need. As a society, we’re trained to consume. Retail therapy, bulk shopping, and lots of single-use disposables are the hallmarks of North American consumer culture. Learning to appreciate what you have and to stop the impulse to buy stuff is the essence of minimalism.
The minimalist’s frugal mindset is an amazing way to save thousands of dollars on consumption every year. If you’re ready to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, here’s how to get started:
Simplifying your Spending
As a minimalist, the only thing you should hoard is your savings. It’s a simple equation: the less you buy, the less you spend. Making smarter choices as a consumer—or abstaining completely—can save you a ton of money in the long run.
Try this exercise: Monitor your spending for a month. Record every purchase you make, from your $2 coffee in the morning to your $2,000 rent payment. At the end of the month, remove all fixed expenses from your list, and take a look—how much did you spend on things that weren’t necessities?
It takes discipline and hard work to eliminate the impulse we all have to spend more on things we think we need; putting back that chocolate bar at the cash register, or unloading that 4-pack of tumblers that you only picked up because they were on sale is no easy task. But small purchases add up quick and they slowly chip away at your income.
Think to yourself; in a month from now, will my life be better or will I be happier because I made this purchase? If the answer is no, it does not pass the “needs” test. Before you buy something new, put your purchase through the minimalist test to help you make your decision.
Clear Your Living Space And Your Mind
Once you declutter your home, it will no doubt feel more spacious and calming.
it’s common to go to a big box store like Walmart, Target or Costco, with a strict list, yet inevitably you’ll end up buying much more than you need, and you’ll bring home a shopping cart full of stuff. That’s what embracing the minimalist mindset helps you to avoid. By being a minimalist you’ll be able to understand that you don’t need to buy those things.
When you create your budget, plan ahead to avoid impulse purchases and buyer’s remorse later on. If you see a product you really want that’s not on your list, pause for a minute and make a mental list of all the reasons you think you need that item, and if you can get it any other way than by purchasing it brand new. Only purchase it if you see yourself getting long term satisfaction and lots of use out of it!
Because the first step to becoming a minimalist is to consider all the items you already have, this lifestyle tends to show you how fortunate you really are. The act of decluttering your home is the first and most important step towards embracing the minimalist lifestyle. By decluttering your home you’re getting rid of the things that you don’t use or enjoy, but you also get to take an inventory of what you do own. Then, plan your spending and be conscious about all your purchases so you don’t accumulate more. Soon, you’ll have more space in your home, more money in your bank, and everything in your home will serve a function—other than just collecting dust!