The first time I heard the word “minimalism” I thought: Ha, that’s not for me. I assumed it was an extremity — something that only a crazy person would consider. So I pushed the word away and continued adding to the cycle of consumerism. I would buy anything that was on sale, even if I didn’t need or love the item. My worst culprit? Clothes. I’d spend hours shopping in malls for clothes that I’d never wear; clothes that would live in my closet for the next few years collecting dust, never to be worn.
Comparable to my initial thoughts about minimalism, there are many people who misinterpret the meaning of minimalism. Minimalism isn’t living with practically nothing; it isn’t having seven of the same t-shirt and one pair of jeans or having one single plate in your kitchen (though it can be!). Minimalism is, in my words, living with only the things that are necessary (work or school uniform, hygienic items, food, etc.) and things that you love or that spark joy in your life.
The benefits of living a more minimalist lifestyle are immeasurable — you spend less money on things you don’t need, your home is less cluttered because you have less stuff and you start to have a better understanding of what you value. To help get you started, below are five tips for saving money and living a simpler, more minimal lifestyle:
1. Stop buying fast-fashion. Invest in high-quality clothing that will last you years. Spending $70 on a dress you love and will often wear is more efficient than spending $100 on 10 dresses that you’ll never wear.
2. Don’t use your dryer. Let your clothing dry in the sun — it saves energy, which cuts down bill costs and it also keeps your clothing from getting too worn out.
3. Spend money on experiences, not things. By spending your money on experiences, you’re creating memories and instead of further cluttering your home.
4. Take the bus/mass transit. Ditching your car and taking the bus to work or school will save you so much money on gas and parking. Chapel Hill bus transit is free, so why not take advantage of it?
5. Before buying something, ask yourself: Do I really need this item? Will I use or wear this item multiple times in the next 90 days? Would I still purchase it if it were twice the original price? Asking yourself these questions will help you decipher if you’re making a sensible purchase or not.
It’s really that simple. Live minimally and within your means and in due time your wallet will thank you. And hey — maybe you’ll save enough money to book that vacation in the Bahamas you’ve always dreamed of!