Save Money by Simplifying – 10 Tips to Increase Discretionary Income

saving money by simplifying

“The way to build your savings is by spending less each month.”

– Suze Orman

You may have become interested in minimalism after hearing how you can save money by simplifying, but found your savings aren’t mounting up as you expected or that you’re not able to pay off debt as you planned.

Unfortunately, decluttering alone doesn’t do the trick. So, how can you save money by simplifying?

1. Declutter enough to stop renting a storage unit, move to a smaller home and/or rent out extra space in your home.

2. Make sure you update your insurance policies if you no longer have expensive items you insured separately (on a rider) or if the total value of your possessions has significantly decreased.

3. Eat and drink more simply. Eat out less, and try eating more “real food” and fewer processed foods. Drink more water and less soda, coffee, milk, juice, sports drinks, tea and alcohol.

4. When it comes to holidays and other gift-giving occasions, give of your time instead of your cash.

5. Make it yourself. Homemade cleaning solutions are cheaper and greener.

6. Exercise simply and cancel your gym membership.

7. When deciding which activities to cut back on to give yourself more free time, consider the expense. This includes not only fees, but also necessary clothes as well as the cost to get there (gas, bus fare).

8. Invite friends and family over for a potluck instead of going out.

9. If you sell items as you’re decluttering, earmark that money to pay debts or go into your savings account – do not treat it as fun money.

10. Spend less overall. Don’t just buy less stuff. If you go out to dinner with the money you saved from not buying a new book, you won’t save money by simplifying. [I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend on experiences instead of stuff; studies show that spending on experiences can make us happier. Just that if saving money is your goal, you must focus on spending less.]

If you’re interested in more structured plans for budgeting and saving money, visit your library for books by Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman and other personal-finance gurus. Skim through a few books by different authors until you find an approach that fits your lifestyle and personality.

How do you save money by simplifying?

8 thoughts on “Save Money by Simplifying – 10 Tips to Increase Discretionary Income

  1. Christy, one day a week to run errands, which involved any necessary shopping was how I was raised. We had a notepad in the kitchen where we wrote down what we needed. Now that my boys are grown and I switched to natural cleaners and growing a lot of my own food I’ve been able to reduce my spending to once a month, but I should add in the summer months I sometimes pick up more fresh produce on a weekly or bi-weekly trip from the farmers’ markets.

  2. Excellent tips here, Christy! I would add “pay in cash” to the list, because it does curb my purchases if I have to pull out bills instead of a credit card. Oh, and I’ve never understood the whole concept of storage units. If you don’t have room for it in your house, it’s time to have a yard sale! I wonder if other countries have these storage unit facilities? It seems very American to have so much stuff, you need to pay for space to house it elsewhere.

    • Great suggestion.

      I don’t understand storage units either, with few exceptions. If my husband I do live in a truck camper for a year or two we will probably have a small storage unit – but even then it would be the very smallest one. We plan to sell most of the furniture and then just buy new-to-us (used) when we get back.

  3. Christy, Great tips! And several of them have benefits above and beyond saving money. Decluttering can make you feel freer and lighter, and give you more time to spend on what’s important (rather than sucking up time caring for your stuff). Making your own food will be better for your health.Giving time rather than cash is nicer for the recipient and for you.

    Cheers, Carol

    • Thanks, Carol. I think one of the best parts about simplifying is that it’s the ultimate multipurpose tool. Done right, you will be happier and healthier, have stronger relationships and save money.

  4. Christy, these are great ideas and so simple it’s a shame more people don’t take advantage of them. I have one method that helps me save money. I only spend money one day per month. I pay my bills, get any necessary groceries or other necessities. If I come across something that I might like to have I have to wait until that one day of the next month when I do any shopping, normally I’ve forgotten about it by then. 🙂 The rest is put aside as savings. It may sound harsh but it works for me. We can enjoy life without spending money as there are plenty of free activities, such as a pot luck dinner you mentioned.

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.