The life of a minimalist is a life with fewer possessions and distractions. But while it might be tough to cut out some of those impulse buys or only get what you really need, there’s something to be said for living a minimalist lifestyle. Not only can you reduce clutter, but you can also cut down on how much money you spend. This can have a direct impact on your ability to save money as well.
Whether you’re thinking about becoming a minimalist yourself, or you’re inspired by those who do live this way, you’re in the right place. There are several key things those who champion the minimalist lifestyle never — or very rarely — buy that you might want to start cutting from your life as well.
Holiday or Seasonal Decor
For some minimalists, purchasing any type of decor can feel unnecessary. For others, certain decorative pieces — like those with a specific theme — might be worth purchasing every now and again, but only after careful consideration.
“I would never buy additional items that need to be stored 11 months out of the year,” said Veronica Hanson, owner of Nomad Veronica LLC. “We have our sentimental Christmas ornaments, but decorations to fill flat spaces in our house are a no-go. Our decorations consist of dollar store window clings that are disposed of at the end of any holiday.”
Part of what makes the holidays so stressful for some people is the cost of purchasing all of the decorations that go along with them. By cutting out most of these decorations, it’s possible to save more money, minimize that stress, and spend more time focusing on the people who matter.
“There is a lot of pressure these days to make things appear a certain way,” added Hanson. “Holidays are just as much about the perfect social media picture as they are about spending time with your loved ones, and that’s a shame.”
“Preparing holiday decorations can be exciting and enjoyable, but figuring out what to do with the leftovers can be exhausting,” added Sophia Phillips, a minimalist and lifestyle expert at CouponBirds. Instead of purchasing new things, Phillips suggested making holiday decorations or using those inherited from family members.
Clothing is essential, but that doesn’t mean you have to go for the most expensive brands or on-trend styles. Minimalists tend to avoid what’s known as “fast fashion.” This is essentially clothing that’s made quickly and in large quantities with the intention of keeping up with the latest trends. These clothing items are often cheaply made, but they can still put a dent in your wallet.
“Some people may say that fast fashion brands provide a wide range of selections with low prices, yet they also come with less durability. According to a report, most clothing (over 60%) from those fast fashion brands is predominantly made of synthetics, which makes them lightweight, stretchy, and easy to care for,” said Phillips. “However, they are not as durable or breathable as 100% cotton. In fact, cheap as they are, buying multiple fast fashion clothes may eventually cost more than buying a few higher-priced ones that last longer.”
Items That Can Be Borrowed
For green living and money coach Laura Oldanie, the founder of Rich and Resilient Living and a self-proclaimed minimalist, the goal isn’t to avoid specific purchases. It’s to avoid buying things she could instead borrow.
“Instead of ruling out buying anything in particular, I always try first to procure what I need by borrowing it either from a neighbor, someone in my local Buy Nothing Group, or a member of my local time bank (St. Pete Time Bank),” said Oldanie.
“This is especially true if it’s something I only want to use once or twice,” continued Oldanie. “That way, not only is that one less item I have to own, store, and maintain, it also saves me the money I would have had to spend if I had to buy the item. And often, it leads to a very enjoyable interaction with the person I borrowed it from.”
As anyone who loves to travel can attest to, it’s often hard to say no to getting a few souvenirs. But if you’re a frequent traveler or love to shop, it’s all too easy to overspend on these little mementos. Plus, the more you buy, the more you have to store and the more clutter you’ll have to deal with.
“I completely understand the desire to keep something as a memento from the destinations you visit. But the fact is that those souvenirs are costly and eventually create clutter in your home,” said Phillips.
“It becomes difficult when trying to strike a balance between keeping meaningful mementos and maintaining a tidy living space,” Phillips continued. “Everything becomes hard to give up when you have attached emotions to them. The best solution would be to refrain from buying these souvenirs in the first place.”
If you do end up buying souvenirs, consider getting ones that do not take up a lot of space, such as postcards or magnets.
It makes sense to buy a new laptop if yours has died, or to pick up a spare phone charger if you’ve left yours behind and you need your phone in working order. But if you’re trying to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle or save money, you’ll want to be careful not to purchase things just because they’ve caught your eye.
“I avoid constantly upgrading to the latest gadgets or electronics, as they can be expensive and quickly become outdated,” said Cristina Solis, an environmental engineer and sustainability consultant at Green Hive. “I prioritize functionality and durability over trends.”
When you go to the store and pick up something that you don’t really need or that wasn’t on your list, you’re engaging in what’s known as impulse buying. This is something that minimalists avoid and that you can too, especially if you’re trying to save money.
“I refrain from buying items on impulse, as they often end up as clutter and wasted money,” said Solis. “Instead, I take time to consider if a purchase truly adds value to my life.”
You don’t have to be a true minimalist to reduce clutter and stress or save money. But avoiding some of these items can definitely help if that’s your goal.
“I would definitely recommend those who are trying to save money to avoid buying these things above, too,” said Phillips. “When you live minimally, you are more likely to be able to save money because you are not spending money on unnecessary things. It also benefits your mental health because by decluttering your home, you also release your stress and anxiety.”
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