Something had to change…
I had no money and was spending way more than I earned as a newly single mother. I was still reeling from the separation and was still adjusting to my major change in circumstances.
Quickly I had to work out how to live on less than half of what I was used to and once I started studying as well, I had make some drastic changes if I wasn’t going to drown in debt.
It wasn’t easy that’s for sure and now with my student loans to pay off I’m still not out of the woods however, during that time I’ve learnt how to live on 50% of my income (and it’s tiny to start with!) and not be deprived either.
How do you do that when living is expensive? In these times it’s hard to make a decent income let alone actually save any of it.
It’s not easy but it’s worth it
Well I’m not going to lie to you. It’s going to hurt initially.
When I discovered the idea of minimalist living all those years ago, I was initially intrigued. I had no idea it would end up becoming the driving force behind my entire life.
If you’re in a desperate position like I was 7 years ago and you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed and frighted about the future. You’re ready to try anything if it will help.
This way of thinking really changed my life and has calmed my anxiety about the future because I know I can live on so little money now and still be happy.
I really want this for you too.
Please know that these changes didn’t happen overnight. Small shifts and gradually are what worked for me, otherwise it would’ve been too big a shock and they wouldn’t have stuck.
Minimalism Living Principles
What Exactly is Minimalism?
Minimalism is many things but here is a list of what it means to me:
- Is deciding to be happy with owning less stuff
- Decluttering your mind and environment
- Not letting your accumulation of things define your self-worth
- Pursuing activities over accumulation
- Intentional living
While there are many bloggers out there who write on the topic, I credit Joshua Becker with opening my eyes to the world of minimalist living and I can’t thank him enough. It’s really changed my life.
It’s not living frugally as such, although that is certainly part of it. More being selective and conscious about where you direct your resources, both time and money.
Being Happy With Less
The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living your life on your own terms. – Chris Brogan
You know this was one of the key shifts for me in amping up my money game.
While I was younger I craved the fancy cars, nice house and clothes but really is that what I want to get out of life? Is that what truly defines being ‘successful’ to me?
I guess becoming a mother and realising the opportunity cost of that rich life was lost time spent with my daughter, changed everything for me.
Was I really prepared to trade her childhood for the latest Mercedes? No, I’m just not.
Being happy with less, enables me to live well on a low income and redefine my values.
Now I choose to spend time with my girl, without the pressures of a high powered corporate job as I know I can earn enough from my blog, bookkeeping and teaching to easily support us both.
What would you choose to do with your time if you could live well on less? Would you still go to work in your current job? Hmm?
How Exactly Do You Live a Minimalistic Life?
Great question! Let’s talk details. It doesn’t have to be a big change all at once. Thinking about some of these decisions you make almost automatically is a great place to start.
Review Your Housing Situation.
Do you really need a big house with lots of bedrooms or would a smaller home still be adequate? Big houses need heating, cleaning and furnishing. All are expensive.
Your phone when the plan expires, your car when your lease is over, your lifestyle when you get a pay rise. Keep your current standard of living and put the money you would’ve spent into savings and watch them take off!
One In One Out
Do you really need 5 black dresses? If you purchase something because you really need to upgrade be sure to sell, donate or bin the original item. Keeping old things around doesn’t make space for the new and only adds to the clutter and chaos.
Only Own Items That Are Useful or You Love
Sell the rest. Go through your wardrobe and if it doesn’t fit properly, you haven’t worn it in a year or you don’t absolutely love it. Move it on.
Same with kitchen appliances! Do you really use the rice cooker, bread maker, ninja juicer every day? Is there one appliance that will be able to multitask and pick up the slack?
Are some of your things broken or missing parts? We all have good intentions, but are you really honestly going to repair it? Give yourself a short deadline to fix it, otherwise bin it.
Reframe Your Idea of Fun.
Friday night dinner and drinks can become a habit.
Why not try something different and invite some friends for a picnic and a hit of tennis, cricket, frisbee whatever! Loser buys the wine for next week 🙂
While I don’t suggest you cut it out entirely, I’m merely suggesting you don’t make spending money on these things the norm.
Quite often it’s not about the money spent, but on the experiences we have and the memories we create.
Try to think of free or low cost alternatives and divert the savings into paying off debt or building your emergency fund.
Build a Cash Stash
Calculate what you actually need to pay all your bills and build up to having a year’s worth of expenses saved so you can weather any financial storms that come your way.
This stops you from using your credit card or needing to get a payday loan which only compounds your problems. Trust me!
Forget the Jones’s
Don’t keep up with the Jones’s. Quite often the Jones’s have built their beautiful Instagram lives on debt. Debt that will need to be paid back and generally at a high interest rate too!
Redefine your standards of what ‘wealthy’ looks like and you will discover that you can live a life of freedom and be happier for it.
Think about how much a high paying job actually costs to run (lunches, travel, childcare, takeaway, tired factor etc) are you really that far ahead for all that stress and pressure? With being happy with less you can find yourself miles ahead and working less too.
I guess the point of what I’m saying is craft a life instead of just getting on the corporate hamster wheel because you think it’s your only option.
My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from – Rob Hill Sr
Make sure every decision is a conscious one and not a reaction to what you think you ‘should’ be doing, buying or even the way you are living.
So the ways you can use Minimalism to create more wealth and happiness are:
- Review your housing. It’s the people who live there that make a home.
- One in and one out. Be mindful about what you bring into your house
- Only own things that are useful or you love. Make what you already own work hard for you.
- Reframe your idea of fun. Great memories are created by people, not the cost of the outing.
- Don’t upgrade and save the difference
- Build a cash stash to weather financial storms
- Don’t be the Jones’s. It’s ok to be you 🙂
You are the one in control of your life and you only get one go at it. Make it count gorgeous.
Have you tried minimalism before? Do you have any tips to add to the list? We’d love to hear them.
Leave a comment and let us know below.