Just to clarify, being a minimalist does not mean that you have to stop spending your money. Rather, when applying minimalism to your personal finance, you have to be smarter on spending it.
If you ask me five years ago to leave my corporate job with a high-paying salary in Hong Kong, I would have told you that’s crazy. Why would I? With all the benefits I’m getting? No way! Anyway, let me share my experience on how managing personal finance is the first step on how to be a minimalist.
Do you believe in this phrase? Less is more. I first heard about the philosophy of minimalism through Marie Kondo. If it sparks happiness, keep it. If not, throw or donate it away.
I also saw a documentary by the Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus. They told how they quit their corporate job, basically left everything that doesn’t matter to them anymore start living fresh. They took the giant step after realizing that although they have achieved the American dream, they worked ridiculous hours, making them feel sad, resulting in spending more money.
It was an epiphany for me because that’s exactly how I felt. If my solution isn’t working, maybe theirs would. I had a very small space in Hong Kong and I used to shop relentlessly, that I accumulated so many things which I ended up not using.
My personal finances weren’t doing great either. The more I earned, the more I spent. And still, there wasn’t any kind of satisfaction. At the end of the day, I go to my bed, wake up and do the same things all over again. I didn’t have time to do the things that I love!
How to be a Minimalist? Opt-out from Consumerism
Well, first, I found a problem that needed to be solved. I realized how I rely on shopping for my happiness. Stress at work? Let’s go to the nearest bookstore and buy a book you’ll never read! Bored? Let’s go to Zara and buy a new dress. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, but I ended up accumulating things I’d never used.
If there’s one thing I learned about having too many things is that it creates an inconvenience whenever I need to move. Sure, my books feel amazing when I hold them in my hands, but I found it even more convenient to pull an ebook from my online library and read it. I now got thousands of ebooks on any subjects I can access anytime, which I bought last year. I paid a one-time amount to access them for a lifetime.
I have been so crazy about coffee that I named this blog after my love for it. But I never use cash to pay for my coffee – I use my credit card points instead. Thus, it makes me feel like I am getting the coffee for free. Nowadays, I’m having a break from caffeine for personal reasons and you can imagine how much I miss its aroma. But a woman got to do what she needs to do.
How to be a Minimalist: Save More Money
When I lost weight, I could fit into many of my sister’s clothes, that I seldom buy new ones for the past two years. It turned out that I had so many clothes which I bought years ago, and so, I have to ensure that shall I need to buy again, I’d have to dispose of another one.
I also remembered going to the office and bringing a packed lunch with me. Since I’ve been on a keto diet, eating a lot of salads and meals rich in protein turned out to be so expensive. An excellent solution? Cook my own vegetables and meat at home!
One thing led to another, making it easier for me to get out of that crazy consumer’s world.
Managing Personal Finance: Where I Spend My Money, Instead?
I still buy food! Although nowadays, because I’ve been living in the middle of nowhere, the chance to eat in a proper restaurant is low. I’ve been learning how to cook and be more self-sufficient.
Travel is still on the list. Several months back, we traveled to Turkey to get married. Even at that time, I don’t remember spending a lot of money. Compared to the memories we got, the expenses were really worth it!
And now and then, I’d reward myself with something I’d really love to buy (I would think about it first countless times), such as an online course to Masterclass. So, yes to education! And a pair of stretchable pants because I’m pregnant!
As you can see I didn’t stop spending. I simply spend money on necessary things.
The Results of Being a Minimalist
I am happy to report that after quitting my 9 – 5 job, I can now spend more time with things I am passionate about, such as my 8Letters indie publishing, where we help and empower Filipino authors. I even have time to collaborate with other businesses. I contribute my time in helping others grow their business as I grow mine.
Giving up things that you thought are giving you security and realizing that there are other ways to be happy and feel secure is very liberating. My choices are not for everyone, and I understand that we may have different situations. However, you must also not let yourself get stuck with limiting beliefs. You are in control and still responsible for your life, future, and happiness.
Freedom taste good and I learned that by following the steps on how to be a minimalist.