My challenge for May was to become a money minimalist!
Minimalism, as I understand the concept, is to pare down the number of possessions you own until to get to the bare minimum, only owning what you truly need.
To accomplish my challenge, my husband and I decluttered just about everything in our studio apartment. We donated unworn clothing and housewares, and tossed anything else that we no longer felt was beautiful, useful, or joyful.
By doing this, it helped me get clear on what is actually important to me and prevent me from buying anything extra that will clutter up my life.
And it worked.
This month, we didn’t buy anything extra that we weren’t using immediately. I had bought some clothing I intended to wear on a trip to Kenya but the items ended up being a little off, so I returned them and got my money back. At the same time, if we bought any item, such as clothing, the idea was to purge at least one old thing so that we didn’t add to the number of our overall possessions.
We ended up with a lopsided score in our favour!
Like one of our Financially Fab Females of the Month, Lucie Fink, I am a maximalist (AKA a “clutterbug”). So this was a big win for me. Lucie also recently challenged herself to go minimalist too! Check out what she discovered below:
So going minimalist seems pretty useful.
But what does all this really have to do with money?
By critically evaluating what I already owned from a financial point of view, it really helped me gain more perspective on what I actually need and what I actually actively use. It helped me see many unnecessary redundancies in my spending and in what I own.
In my search to learn how else a minimalist lifestyle can contribute to mo’ money and mo’ progress, I stumbled across this blog post on minimalist secrets to saving money. (Secret number five is seriously legit.) I wanted to learn more about how minimalism can seriously contribute to your financial success and, really, it all comes down to your values.
Clarity is key. Knowing what makes you happy, and understanding that – nine times out of ten – what makes you smile won’t be “stuff.” It’ll be the accomplishments in your life. The places you visit. The people you meet. The things you do. It’s the quality of the life you’re currently living.
Saving up and spending your money on the life you actually want is, to me, so much more tempting than buying eight more sassy t-shirts that will be out of style in a few weeks.
There are definitely more steps to take in order to become a financial minimalist while making mo’ money.
- Get rid of any extra credit cards you have that you don’t use or are tempted to use. There’s no point in wasting extra credit you have that could be put to better use like buying a house or car. Stick with one or two cards as much as possible.
- Reconsider cable and/or home internet. Downsize or renegotiate your cell phone payment plan or monthly bill. Spend some time to save some money. Really decide what you need every month. You could even challenge yourself to go without home internet or cable for a month and see what happens. How much money would you save? What would you do instead of Netflix and chill?
- Bored with your wardrobe? Organize a clothing swap, seek out deals at Value Village (with the caveat that you should donate at least one item for each new one you get), or invest in some timeless, quality pieces you would be happy to wear for years.
The #MoMoneyPosse kept me accountable for my May challenge by checking in every week for the “Mo Money Mondate” where we shared our progress and the obstacles we faced in completing our financial goals! We had a party in Toronto on the last Monday of the month to celebrate (I Skyped in, of course) and we’re going to keep this going in June! If you’d like to join in the financial fun, let us know on social or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.