10 ways you can save money with gradual minimalism . . . without even trying
Saving money living simply is easy. It’s a side effect of what you’re already doing. Depending on your situation, you may need to save money with a more structured approach as well, but as you simplify your life, you’ll be surprised to see how much you can save without even trying.
Below are 10 of the many ways gradual minimalism can save you money.
1. Buying Less.
When you stop buying so much stuff, you’re spending less money. This one rates a “duh,” right?
2. Goodbye, Storage Unit.
If you’re renting a storage unit, you won’t need it any more. I found some fascinating facts about storage facilities on the Self Storage Association website.
More than 9% of US households have a storage unit. Contrary to what you might think, most live in a house (not apartment or condo) and have a garage. Many have attics and basements. Thirty percent of renters plan to use the unit for 2 years or more.
3. Hello, Smaller Home.
You might be able to downsize to a smaller home. Not only do you save on monthly mortgage or rent payments, but you save on insurance as well as utilities. It’s much cheaper to heat and cool a smaller home.
Homeowners: think of how much less maintenance you’ll need to do, how much faster and cheaper it will be to paint the house, refinish the floors or caulk the windows.
If you normally clean your own home, you’ll save time as well as a little money on cleaning supplies. If you have a cleaning service, either it will cost you less for the smaller space, or you may decide to clean it yourself since the cleaning will go so much faster.
4. Going Digital.
By setting up auto online bill-pay, you can save not only the cost of the stamp, but also the late fees and interest that go along with forgotten payments.
Saving to PDF instead of printing receipts, articles, etc. saves the cost of paper and ink, too.
By eliminating debt (or at least debt other than your mortgage), you’ll save all that money you were spending on interest.
Canceling subscriptions for magazines and newspapers you don’t read can easily save over $100 a year.
Eliminating or cutting back your cable TV subscription will save even more.
7. Minimalist Cleaning Supplies.
Most items and surfaces can be cleaned with baking soda and/or water. These cleaners are a lot cheaper than those for sale on the cleaning aisle.
8. Eat Real Food.
By eating less processed food, you’ll save money. Don’t worry if you’re pressed for time or don’t enjoy cooking. It’s easy to cook “real food.” For example, you can make a delicious spaghetti sauce that’s as simple as cooking some butter and a halved onion with a can of crushed tomatoes.
If you switch to a more plant-based diet (whether vegetarian or, like us, flexitarian), you can save even more money, especially if you have time to cook dry beans instead of relying on canned.
Lentils don’t take long to cook and, in addition to being eaten in soup or over rice or pasta, are a great meat substitute in everything from Sloppy Joes to tacos.
Since I work outside of the home, I usually cook dried beans on the weekend. While they take some time to cook, it’s not hands-on time, so you can do household chores or spend time with your family while they simmer.
9. Drive Less and/or a Smaller Vehicle.
Some minimalists go car-free or cut back to one car for the family. That doesn’t work for many (including my family), but most of us end up driving less than we used to.
Why? No more “retail therapy.” Avoiding over-scheduling our children means no more frantic driving from one extracurricular activity to another. Using a shopping list prevents extra runs to the store for forgotten items.
Simplifying may also include working fewer days or week or finding a job nearer your home to shorten your commute.
Many minimalists also realize they don’t need as large a vehicle as they thought. Even families with lots of kids and big dogs can almost always make do with only one large vehicle.
Obviously, driving smaller vehicles and driving less save on gas. Driving less also means you’ll need to change the oil, get new tires, etc. less often.
10. Gradual is Good.
Assuming all your stuff isn’t delaying you from downsizing your home, gradually minimizing instead of clearing everything out at once saves money.
For instance, if you have 4 sets of sheets for your bed, donating 2 sets will just mean you’ll have to buy new sheets sooner, costing you money instead of saving it. Why not just set the extra 2 sets aside on a high shelf and “shop” from there when your current sheets need replacing?
Of course, you should go ahead and get rid of stuff that you just don’t like or will never use.
How are you saving money living simply?
The above list is only a sampling of the ways to save money by switching over to a minimalist lifestyle. How have you saved money by simplifying?