minimalist living
Updated April 20, 2020

The Minimalist Living Guide on Keeping Your Costs Down Every Month

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The concept behind minimalism is simple: remove what adds no value to your life and keep the things that offer value. We all define value differently, and we form unreasonable relationships with objects, assigning emotions to them, and identifying our self-worth by how much we actually have. In other words, minimalism can be defined by simply understanding what matters and what doesn’t.

We put together the minimalist living guide on keeping your costs down every month to help you jump-start the process of living with less.

Keep in Mind that Minimalism:

  • Goes beyond physical possessions
  • Can be applied to relationships
  • Can be applied to activities and habits
  • Taps into new habits that need to be formed
  • Teaches us what truly matters
  • Is a lifestyle choice that generally will simplify all areas of your life

Learning how to be a smart consumer is an essential part of the minimalist lifestyle. We want to guide you to create a minimalist budget and stick to it.

Good to Know: Although not all the minimalist living tips in this article will apply to you, we are certain that the majority of our tips will help.

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is about getting in touch with ourselves, being honest with ourselves, and sometimes setting aside what other people expect from us.

This Article Will:

  • Focus mostly on the physical aspect of minimalism
  • Outline the benefits of minimalist living
  • Break down the principles of minimalism
  • Offer suggestion on how to create a minimalism budget
  • Offer Pro-tips and suggestions to help you explore this lifestyle
  • Suggest ways that you can use to make money in the transition process
  • Outline 9 essential steps to help you adopt a minimalism living lifestyle.

Pro Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t forget that the things we own end up owning us.
  • Remember that “less is more”
  • It will get worse before it gets better
  • Start now
  • If you get stuck on something, don’t linger, move on to something else
  • Visualize the outcome to keep yourself motivated

Minimalist living will allow you to have more time for the things you enjoy. You will be more relaxed, and it will help you make more money.

Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle Include

  • Mental clarity
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Increased self-confidence
  • You have more time for activities
  • You have less fear
  • More freedom and happiness
  • You will experience fewer worries and anxieties
  • You get to save and grow your money

Good to Know: This article on the 31 best things to sell for profit, might jump-start your thinking process on where to begin the cleaning. It is good to know that the biggest freedom you can achieve in life is to tame your desire for unnecessary objects, while at the same time getting multiple revenue streams working for you.

Let’s walk through some steps on how to get there.

1.  Examine Your Space and Priorities

The other day I walked into a friend’s house and it felt like a bomb dropped in the middle of her living room. She could not see it. I was shocked. Clothes, toys, food, books, and other random objects covered most surfaces. We get used to our mess and it becomes normal. Advertising and consumerism have affected our mindsets, and we feel sad when we are not able to buy the best car, the biggest house, or new clothes. And once we do get the opportunity to spend, we feel guilty right after we spent the money. This guilt is a red flag that we are not doing the right thing. Deep down we know we don’t need all these things.

Did You Know? The average American family carries $7000 of revolving credit debt, and can hardly remember what that money was spent on.

Funny Truths to Keep in Mind:

  • We collect 100 coffee mugs, as if we need them all.
  • We have 40 forks when we don’t even know 40 people!
  • The average American woman, you probably have 10 different pairs of denim jeans.
  • Even denim experts suggest a maximum of 3 pairs.

Pro Tip: We did our research and recently published the 17 places online where you can sell clothes for cash to help you in the cleaning process.

A Few Tips to Get the Mess Under Control:

  • Become a smart shopper, if you get a new item, make sure it matches a few other things in your wardrobe, so you maximize its usage.
  • If you have not worn it in the last year throw it our, sell it, or donate it.
  • Create a filing process for all the paper you bring in the house
  • Throw away anything that is broken (admit it you will never fix it)
  • Place big baskets with labels such as “toys”, “scarfs” etc. to assign a place for everything.

Bonus Point To Remember: When children live in a clean organized environment with fewer toys, they experience a higher sense of gratitude and are able to focus better. Finding ways to bring in cash from all these items will certainly make the cleaning process more fun.

DebtGenius If you are in debt check out this incredible service to see how you can save money and get out of debt with no need to file for bankruptcy.

Declttr: We mention this gem multiple times because we absolutely love it. You get to sell any items you no longer use from phones, DVDs, clothes and toys and make money.

2. Time to Clean

Just like all changes, this is going to pull on some emotional strings. We briefly touched on the idea of getting rid of things, but we know it will not be easy to get started for the average reader. Besides, you spend most of your life accumulating these things.

Tips to Get You Started in the Kitchen

  • Blast your favorite music
  • Open the cabinets, step back and take a look
  • Throwing away any leftover Tupperware lids
  • Get rid of bowls that you have no idea how they came in your possession, and plastic chopsticks from all the delivery food you order.

Now assess the situation, and generally keep in mind that is best to keep 8 plates (example), 8 utensil pairs, 8 glasses and so on. Your space will begin to breathe and be more inviting.

Did You Know That:

  • Many families avoid cooking at home because of the excessive mess that has taken over their counters.
  • An extra perk to having limited kitchenware is that you will eventually get in the habit of washing up right after each meal, because you do not have spares laying around.

Tips to Get You Started in the Bedroom

  • Take every item you own, throw it on the bed and start sorting
  • Make a “keep pile”, a “donate or sell pile”, and a “throw away pile”

Questions You Can Ask Yourself During This Process

Remember to get rid of everything that no longer fits. If you have to recruit some friends or family for emotional support, do so! It might make it more fun, especially when it comes to sorting through clothes you kept from the 1980’s.

Pro Tip: You can earn up to $10,000 when you participate in weight loss challenges. They have plenty of cash prizes. Join a challenge or create your own challenge. This way you might get to save some of your clothes that don’t fit now, but will fit you after the challenge!

Tips to Get You Started in the Office Space

  • Buy a few folders and label them accordingly ( receipts, taxes, manuals etc)
  • Blast the music
  • Begin sort all the papers, placing them in the right folders
  • Get a big plastic container and place all the kid’s art in it (If you throw it away they will know)
  • Go through the cabinets and throw away anything you no longer need.
  • Organize your work area
  • Put finishing touches such as a vase with some flowers or a potted plant.

Drop: With drop you get to earn cash rewards. Check them out and become a smart shopper by using your rewards.

Ibotta: This is an extremely popular program and if you sign up now they have a $20 in rewards. Their popularity is due to the fact that they work with all the popular brands you already use. Give them a try!

3. Stop Buying for a While

There is a high probability that you already have everything you need to be happy.

Tips to Help You Put a Stop on Spending Money

  • Promise to yourself that for the next 6 months you will not spend money on shoes or clothes.
  • Avoid window shopping
  • Use your time to learn how to make money.

SurveyJunkie: You make money and earn rewards for simply sharing your thoughts on products and services.

Mistplay is a free new app that rewards you for downloading games from the App Store or Google Play Store through its own interface.

As you level up in the mobile games, you earn more points that you can redeem for gift cards at Amazon, VISA, PlayStation, Xbox, Apple, Starbucks, and more.

There are a lot of smart ways to replace your buying habits with making money habits, without the need of a college degree.

Learn about the hundreds of ways you can easily bring in cash.

So in a sense, you are reversing the situation, you put a stop on the spending and you start earning.

4. Keep Busy Learning

Experiences and knowledge will bring you more happiness than any object can. Therefore, begin using all the time you previously placed toward shopping, into learning.

Tips to Help You Stay Busy and Make Money While Learning

  • Read books
  • Join community clubs
  • Volunteer to shelters
  • Cook for the homeless
  • Take up a new hobby (Here is an incredible article that will help you cash in on your hobbies).
  • Create art
  • Learn how to make money online
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Travel

Rover: If you love animals check out Rover where you can play with puppies and make up to $1000 monthly

Airbnb: With all this clean new space, free up a bedroom in your house and explore the incredible opportunities offered by Airbnb.

This article will help you tap into creative tips that will make Airbnb a lucrative venture for you.

Get in the mindset of creating, and not consuming and your world will expand in so many positive directions.

5. Establish a Giving Routine

Generally it is easier to create new habits when you have a schedule and you abide by it. When I decided to adapt to the minimalist living I creating a schedule to keep my on track with my cleaning process. The schedule made the shift easier for me, and it will probably work for you as well.

Tips to Help You Stay Organized

  • Set 2 to 3 hours on the site every weekend ( wine allowed)
  • Use that time to go through a section of you house
  • Make a point that by the end of the weekend you will have a small “donate” box ready to go.
  • Ask yourself often ““does this add anything to my life?”, and if the answer is no, place it in the box.

Learn about various several methods to make money by getting rid of these items, or you can always donate them.

6. Donate

To build on our previous point, donating your time and things for a good cause will make the shift to a minimalistic living much easier for you. There are plenty of people in need, everywhere. We all see those videos online where people walk the streets and help strangers by giving them little survival bags filled with essentials.

Tips to Help You Donate More and More Often

  • Keep a box by your door where you will drop in unwanted items on will
  • Ask friends and family to create their own boxes
  • Start small investment plan and all the money you accumulate, use it around the holidays to make a grand gesture for a less fortunate family.

If you like this concept there are many apps available to guide you into the wonderful world of investing. Or you can look into more ways to make money online and pick a charity to donate a portion of your revenues.

Hurdlr: This amazing service will help you stay organized when it comes to your income streams, expenses and taxes. Making it easier for you to put money on the side for investing or donating.

Worthy Bonds: This is an extremely well-known platform to help you begin investing in American small businesses.

7. Change up your Eating Routine

The average American household spends close to $10,000 on food yearly.  This is excessive and yet it is very hard to get away from impulse buys and unnecessary snacking. Food has become as security blanket, and a coping mechanism, and for a lot of people an actual addiction. The best way to minimize your expenses in this area is to create a plan.

Pro Tips to Eat Better, Save and Even Make Money

Lower your energy bills, and look for smart solutions to save on daily expenses. Learn more about how to stop impulse buying and save cash that will ultimately help you stick to your minimalist budget.

Good to Know: We even found a solution to save on car insurance which is quite innovative. Take a look at this amazing article on how to minimize your insurance costs.

Dosh: With this amazing app you will make money back instantly. It is not coupons or reward, just cold hard cash back in your pocket while you shop. Probably the easier money you will ever make shopping.

Shopkick (use promo code MDR to get a $5 bonus): You will get paid simply for walking into stores (you don’t even have to buy anything).

Billshark: Can help you negotiate your bills and lower your financial stress.

Sweatcoin: You will get paid for exercising.

8. Downsize Your Home

Maintaining a large home, or larger-than-you-need home, is a waste of money and time, if not even an unethical use of space. Why do we need 5 bedrooms? (unless you have 4 kids).

We decided to include this point in the minimalist living because home ownership is a major expense for the average American family. Why does the kitchen need to be large enough to hold a conference in?

Pro Tip: Think back to when we were children, we all liked to create little nooks behind furniture and begged our parents to build us that tiny tree house! Were you ever happier than those moments? Once you understand that status doesn’t mean things, you will realize how much little space one needs to be truly happy.

Although downsizing that might not be a good solution for everyone, especially if you have children, it is worth considering if your circumstances allow it. A large house comes with large bills and usually a large mortgage.

DebtGenius: If you own a house and you are still in debt, check DebtGenius out and let them guide you on getting a handle on your debt.

Airbnb: If you decide that downsizing is not got you, join hundreds of thousand of homeowners who are using Airbnb to make money with the unoccupied space in their homes.

9. Shift Your Mindset

We are now at the most important part of the minimalist living guide. We only truly change our lives for the best when we shift our mindset.

Don’t Forget That

  • You are cutting out all the junk to find the true treasures in life.
  • You will most likely need to begin to say “no” more often to yourself and to your children, and even to friends.
  • You will become more frugal which is a great thing.
  • You will be happier when you make the transition

Bonus Trivia

  • Take for example Warren Buffett who is considered one of the most successful investors in the entire world. He still lives in a humble small home, maintaining a modest lifestyle although his net worth surpasses $85 billion.
  • Yes, investing can generate you incredible income, and regardless of what your career path might be, we recommend you educate yourself in investing.

Wrapping It All Up

We hope this article helped you shift your thought process, and gave you some steps to take in order to define your minimalist budget. And with all the savings you will accumulate you might want to start exploring the world. We recently published the ultimate guide on how to save money on traveling.

Bonus Tip:  If you have a 401k in place try Blooom. It offers some of the best online tools for retirement earning while making a complex process comprehensible.

We want to wish you much patience while you embark on this beautiful journey of the minimalist living, and remember that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Will Rogers said it best: “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”

When you start implementing these minimalist living tips we are sure you will discover your own little hacks. Make sure you comment below and share them with us!

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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