Life today involves so much stuff. We all have gadgets, clothing, furniture, tools, and toys everywhere, and a lot of it is rarely even used. Yet it has consumed our money and we’ll never recover the full cost of most of the items.
Frustrated with this lifestyle, many people are making a lifestyle change known as going minimalist. They eliminate the meaningless expenditures that consume large amounts of their money and focus on spending only on the things they truly need. It’s not necessarily a new approach, but these consumers do take it to a more extreme level.
But just because it involves extreme changes doesn’t mean it creates extreme inconvenience. Many people are very happy with the way their lives have changed because they have less frustration and more money. If that combination sounds good to you, you can take on some of their strategies.
Even the most aggressive minimalists have certain expenses they must meet. It’s nearly impossible to work, play, or socialize today without internet access, and even though the lights are off and the heat is turned down low, there’s still some electricity being used in the minimalist home.
So these savers work to reduce the cost of the things they use, rather than trying in vain to eliminate them. You can click here to learn how to cut your energy expenses in a deregulated electrical market. There are also lots of companies that bundle some combination of TV, the internet, and cell service into a package that costs less than individual purchases.
Working with an eye toward a lower cost is a sure way to find money-saving opportunities. The more experience you get looking for them, the better you’ll be at finding them.
Reduce Impulse Purchases
The conventional wisdom once was that you could reduce impulse purchases by carrying less cash. But now that debit and credit cards are accepted in so many places, you can quickly rack up a long line of expenditures just on your plastic.
A better option is actually to return to cash. Set a realistic daily budget for the things you’ll have to have, and then leave the cards at home. You’ll probably ditch that $5 coffee if it will leave you unable to get enough gas to get home.
As for bigger expenditures, set a snooze button. That is when you feel the urge to make a large purchase, give it some time. At a minimum, sleep on it. Waiting a month would be even better. At the end of that time, you will have lost that buyer’s fever and you’ll be thinking more rationally–and you’ll probably be happy to do without.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Setting financial goals is a great way to keep from wandering off the path. If you want to pay off student loans within five years of graduation, have a schedule and stick to it. Don’t decide to pay extra if you have money left at the end of the month. Resolve to have that money, and you will.
You will soon find that your short-term goals will make it easier to reach long-term goals, and before you know it, you’ll have a plan in place for even your most dramatic aspirations–travel, retirement, a home, or whatever you choose.
Being a minimalist isn’t being a cheapskate. Minimalists still buy the things they want and need, they just do a better job of deciding what makes the cut. They save money, reach goals, and endure a lot less frustration.
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