Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
Today, Aimee explores the relationship between minimalism and money—namely, how much of it you’ll save when not filling your house with stuff! Surf on over to her blog to read more.
All that money – G O N E …
The concept of minimalism came so easy to me and at a young age. I loved to declutter, clean and organize. I don’t know where the interest came from, but I just loved having everything in its place, neat and orderly. I’ve always preferred to ‘travel lightly’ as they say. It was a piece of cake to declutter the contents of my kitchen, bathrooms, closets, office, etc. I could easily identify the items I no longer used or needed. Decluttering was never a struggle for me. I now realize it’s because I always knew I could just replace the things I was discarding or buy cool, new stuff. Not because I am rich, but because I had a wallet full of credit cards. I always found so much to be donated. It felt great to unload things I no longer wanted, but I realized that I was never done decluttering. It’s because I never stopped bringing more stuff into my home. Then I thought about how much money I spent on all that stuff. Ouch. As someone who prides themselves on not being wasteful, it suddenly hit me how much of my hard earned money (at a job I don’t like) I wasted over the years of purging and then reaccumulating. I thought about what it would be like to have that much money in the bank, where it really belonged. Ouch again.
It had taken several years to get rid of all the debt. Getting rid of the clutter was fast and easy, but that was when it really drove home the importance of carefully considering ALL future purchases. It felt so great to pay off the last of the credit cards, student loans and car loans. I thought I was home free. In a way, I was, paying off debt is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself, financially speaking. Everyone talks about the ‘high’ they feel when they buy something new, I was the same way. It was during our last yard sale when I saw my belongings being sold for a fraction of what I had paid for them when the light bulb finally came on. Never again do I want to sacrifice my financial freedom to have a new TV or piece of furniture. Possessions have never improved my life in anyway, at any time.
I’ve vowed to take more time deciding on potential purchases. The rush felt when buying something is often followed by the let down when you realize how much money you just parted with, or when you realize that your shiny new purchase isn’t really going to do anything to make your life better. Now my shopping excursions are few and far between. First I consider whether or not I really need the item I’m thinking about buying. Next, I try to think about what the item costs in terms of how many hours I have to work to pay for it. What an eye opener that is! Are you willing to sacrifice a week’s pay on new designer items or a fancy cell phone? I’m not – not anymore. It took a long time to learn this lesson, but it was well worth the wait.
Follow me on my journey to a more meaningful life through simplicity at LiveSimpleNow.com.