You already know all the benefits to minimalism. Health, a cleaner home, less time spent reorganizing, less stress, etc. Sometimes it seems like you have to be rich to be minimalist. You really don’t, though. Not if you do it right. In fact, you can even save money. Here’s how.
Right now, this very moment, is a fantastic time to live in if you are interested in minimalism. Data storage is tiny and cheap, multi-function electronic devices are common, and almost every book, magazine or song is available for download. What once could only be stored in stacks and stacks of boxes or on shelves, can now be fit into a small pocket. That’s a real benefit for someone who is trying to be more minimalist.
I have been able to fit nearly my entire library into one SD card, and my music collection consists of four or five CDs plus several hundred songs in an 8 GB Mp3 player that cost $5 including shipping. My eReader cost $50. My computer maybe $300 and I’ve had it for about four years so far.
What has this done for me? Simplicity, even the basic level that I practice, allows me to support two adults in fair style on one income, even though I barely make over minimum wage. (Of course, I own my car, allowing low insurance rates, I don’t pay for cable, I found an apartment that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and my phones are $25 a line. That helps a lot. Even so, the principle is sound.)
My point here is that minimalism is easier to achieve with some of this modern technology and it can save you a bundle, in time, in storage space, and in money. It can be a great feeling when you walk into a neighbor’s house and think “wow, they have something on EVERY wall, and things stacked on EVERY surface. I couldn’t live like that!” Then you think “wait, I did live like that. I love my new life.”
I see it as freedom. Freedom from this:
You don’t have to turn your home into a monk’s cell to embrace minimalism.
Also, I won’t advocate getting rid of certain spare items. Sometimes stuff breaks, and you will be better off if you don’t have to buy a replacement right away. That’s what poor folk often do, poor folk like me, because we don’t have a spare wad of cash lying around. When you do keep spares, though, keep them in good order and keep them out of the way, such as in a labeled box. Know what you have, why you have it, and where it is. I have a few extra cooking knives in my drawer, and also my trusty (and old) eeePC in my desk in case the main PC has something happen to it. It doesn’t take up much space.
I took a hard look at my appliances and got rid of my food dehydrator, my juicer, and my printer. Print jobs are ten cents a page at the library on a high quality full color printer. My printer takes thirty or forty dollars to fill with ink, and then it expires before I even use it halfway. With the juices I drink, it would cost more to buy the fruit than just buy the juice. The food dehydrator was poor quality.
That brings me to another good guideline – if you buy something, buy the best quality you can afford. Ultimately, it costs less to buy better quality then to have something break. That saves money too, as well as headaches.
With these tips, and modified ideas from the innumerable other minimalism articles out there, you can save money and have a better life. The key is not to go ultraminimalist but simply be mindful in what you buy and why you buy it.
By contrast to the clutter I left behind, each bit of minimalism I find feels like this: