Will Minimalism Save Your Finances?

Will Minimalism Save Your Finances?

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated September 30, 2015

Are you constantly researching for a place to put all your belongings? Do you find that all your stuff makes your home feel cluttered and disorganized? Has your life started to revolve around your things instead of what really matters? If you’re currently feeling like you own too many things then you’ve probably heard about or actively sought out information about minimalism, a trendy new philosophy on life.

Over the last year or two, minimalism has grown in popularity among the Canadian population. At its core, minimalism is a way to pare down your material possessions in order to live a simpler and more fulfilling life. Financially speaking it can be a great way to get back on track and potentially save your finances. Keep reading to learn about what minimalism is what it isn’t and how you can use it to achieve your financial goals.

What Is Minimalism?

In regards to your lifestyle, minimalism is the idea that you should get rid of as many of your physical or material possessions as possible while still being able to live. You’re supposed to de clutter your living space so that you can enjoy the things that you actually need and like. Minimalism is an exercise based on the removal of actual objects but the end goal for many people is to create a peaceful life. De-clutter and organize your life in order to have a de-cluttered and organized mind.

Because minimalism has skyrocketed into popularity over the last year, there is a lot on information and content online about it. People have grabbed onto the idea and taken it to all sorts of extremes, and while cutting back on material possessions is never a bad idea we don’t want you to think you need to through away everything you’ve ever bought in order to adopt a minimalist lifestyle.

If minimalism seems like something you’re interest in, we encourage you to start with the basics:

  • Slowly sort through your things (clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty products), give away or donate the items that you don’t use or need or enjoy anymore.
  • Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t thought about using something for 6 months then get rid of it.
  • Once you’ve gone through the easy things, like your shoes collection, take it to the next level by going through all your drawers and cupboards. Ask yourself if you really need every book you’ve ever bought or every coffee cup you’ve ever been given.

There is no need to go to any extremes, no one is asking you to wear the same outfit to work every day or to throughout all your books.  Once you start de-cluttering your life, you’ll start to enjoy the process and realize that keeping only the items you actually like will give you more opportunities to enjoy them. Minimalism is meant to teach you to be mindful of your material possessions, this way when you go to buy something new you’ll think about it with the new attitude you have towards life and possessions.

What Minimalism Isn’t

Minimalism isn’t about being frugal or cheap, you don’t have to give up the things you like just because they cost a lot of money. If this is how you approach minimalism, you’re missing the whole point. Minimalists aren’t afraid or against buying new things or even nice expensive things, they place emphasis on the important things in life (this can be anything, it depends on the person). For example, if having a designer handbag is important to you then you should still buy it. But buying dozens of handbags that you never use and only sit in your closet collecting dust is the opposite of minimalism. Purchasing one quality item that might cost a lot but will have a positive impact on your life is better than purchasing a cheap item that you’ll never use.

Because minimalism is all about paring back material possessions and being more mindful of the new things we purchase it has the added bonus of being a great way to save money.

How Minimalism Can Help Your Finances

So how will all this help you get your finances back on track? By making you a more mindful shopper, by helping you learn to enjoy the things you already own and by helping you change your outlook on life and money.

Adopting minimalism or even simply using it to help guide you towards a simpler life can be a great way to decrease your spending and increase your savings or debt repayment. Getting out a debt or learning to save more both require changes in attitude and lifestyle. Minimalism is simply put; a change is lifestyle and attitude. If you feel like you’re ready to get your finances back on track or pay down any debt you might have, minimalism can help guide you in the right direction.

How to Get Started

Minimalism is a journey that you can start on your own, no help required. If it’s really something you feel will help you, start by de-cluttering your home and then set a few financial goals. Just remember that you’re doing this for yourself and your life, you don’t need to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Create the lifestyle you want and then enjoy what you already have.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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