Minimalism, The Frugal Fad That Can Help You Save Thousands

If the rise in popularity of books like The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up and movies like Minimalist are any indicator, minimalism as a trend has finally swept the nation. But has it been taking a hold? Have Canadians changed their spending and accumulating habits?

I don’t think so. In fact, I think that most Canadians, if their debt load is any indication, are buying more now than ever before.

It’s unfortunate that minimalism may be just a fad because they’re missing out on the secret benefit of minimalism and living with less: it saves you a lot of money.

That’s right, being a minimalist is an amazing way to save thousands of dollars on consumption every year. Here’s how:

Decluttering Shows You What You Own

The act of decluttering your home is the first and most important step towards embracing the minimalist lifestyle. By decluttering your home you’re getting rid of the things that you don’t use or enjoy, but you also get to take an inventory of what you do own.

For example, let’s say you declutter your kitchen and you realize you have three can openers, but none of them were in a place that was easily accessible, which is why you bought additional ones. Once you get rid of two and keep the best one, you will make sure to put it in a place that is easily accessible. Then, the next time you need a can opener, you’ll know:

  1. that you already have one, and
  2. exactly where it is.

There won’t be a need to buy an additional can opener, and your life just got simpler and less expensive.

You can extrapolate this out to many other household items that never seem to be on hand when we need them, and then we end up owning five or six. Things like:

  • Extension cords
  • Ethernet cables
  • Bottle openers
  • Umbrellas
  • Mittens
  • Light bulbs

When you only have one of everything, and everything is in its place, you’ll spend less time and money hunting down those items and replacing them.

Decluttering Allows You to Buy Less

Once you declutter your home, it will no doubt feel more spacious and calming. There won’t be as many nicknacks covering every surface, and your closets won’t be bursting with extra clothing. Once your home is decluttered, embracing the minimalist mindset is much easier. It’s easier to look around your home and feel content. You’ll find that you don’t need to bring anything else into the space to complete it.

Learning to be comfortable with less and to stop buying stuff is the essence of minimalism. When your home contains less stuff, you’ll get in the habit of considering whether you need an item before you bring it into your home. Often the answer will be no, which will help you save money.

For example, it’s common to go to a big box store like Walmart, Target or Costco, with a strict list, yet inevitably you’ll end up buying much more than you need, and you’ll bring home a shopping cart full of stuff? That’s what embracing the minimalist mindset allows you to avoid. By being a minimalist you’ll be able to understand that you don’t need to buy those things. Sure they may be nice, but they aren’t worth the time to acquire, the money to acquire, or the space in your home. Which brings me to my next point:

Minimalist Lets You Live in a Smaller Space

Pairing down your belongings allows you to take stock of what you own and to understand that buying more won’t necessarily make you happier. But it also allows you to live in a smaller space, which will save you hundreds of dollars per month.

For example, I recently purchased a house. It’s old and charming, it’s in a great location, but it is tiny by modern-day standards. I’m talking 1,000 square feet including the attic and basement. Buying a small home didn’t scare me because I’m comfortable living in small spaces, and my husband and I don’t have that much stuff. We don’t mind small bedrooms with no closets because we don’t have that many clothes. We don’t mind small kitchens because we don’t have that much stuff to go in the cupboards.

Being able to tolerate a small house has allowed us to buy a home in our desired neighbourhood while keeping our costs low. Buying a less expensive home will save us ten’s of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the mortgage.

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