People who embrace the minimalist lifestyle have it easy. They have no or low rent and utilities. Minimal clothing and auto expenses. They’re satisfied with the small things in life.
Happily, you don’t have to sell all your things and go live in a cave to make real, meaningful reductions in your spending and stress levels. The minimalism movement is about reducing your commitments and your stuff — saving money, time, and hassle.
Simplify Your Utilities
Some utility charges are unavoidable, but most families spend far too much on their utility bills. Start by simplifying your usage: turn off lights and appliances you don’t use, turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, heat and cool your home only when you’re there. You can get further savings by cutting out utilities you don’t need, like cable television and your land line telephone.
Shed Your Stuff
If you’re like most families, one-third to one-half of the objects in your home are things you only think about when you’re moving them out of the way. A garage sale, followed by gifting the rest to Goodwill or a similar charity, gives you money up front and a nice discount on your taxes. A cleaner, simpler home will save you time and stress in the form of less clutter between you and your goals.
Try a Physical Media Fast
Buying new books, videos and music can be a money waster. Premier purchases are often priced at a premium, and you rarely read, listen or view enough to justify the expense. Force yourself to wait three months for the library, ebook or iTunes version to come out. You’ll soon realize that it’s no big deal to wait.
Share and Share Alike
Not every family needs a rototiller, extension ladder and wheelbarrow. If you live near family or close friends, you can each buy one occasional-use item and share it around. Some neighborhoods are doing this with power tools and garden supplies — creating a “tool library” for residents.
Learn to Say “No”
Steve Jobs famously described project management as learning to say no. When you say yes to impulse purchases and happy meals, your home fills up with needless clutter. When you say yes to projects you’re not passionate about, your time fills up with needless commitments. Both lead to very real costs in money, time, and aggravation.
Do you enjoy applying minimalist ideas to your get out of debt plan?
Photo Credit: Nick-K