Minimalism and personal finance
Minimalism and personal finance go hand in hand in my opinion. Increasingly so over time, as I’ve spent more time tracking my finances and even more time in the financial space of instagram.
Minimalism but not *just* that. As I see it, it is more accurately – personal essentialism.
I just finished reading “The Year of Less” by Caitlin Flanders, and would like to share some of my own journey and thoughts as a reflection on minimalism and personal finance.
Fill the space
When I started my minimalism and personal finance journey “for real” in 2019 by tracking my networth and setting up my investment account, it was also around the same time my partner and I moved into a much bigger home. About double size of what we had previously lived in! I was so excited, finally enough space for all my things!
Fast forward a few years and we had now filled our new place with even more things and furniture – and a kid! The latter also came with a whole new level of stuff. Just appearing in our home (also thanks to gifts and hand-me-downs). It’s like the things just keep coming to fill any available space.
As life would have it, we are now facing another move. But this time we are downsizing to a smaller place.
Track – Invest – Save – Downsize
When I started tracking my numbers and investing, I wasn’t keeping track of all my things. I would regularly buy new things for the home, new books for the shelves that now needed to be filled up and more. It wasn’t all at once, so I barely realized my money leaving my account over time.
But when I started to see actual progress in my networth increasing, and my investments slowly started to pile up and pay off. Well, then suddenly I felt more attached to my money. I wanted to see those numbers grow even more.
That made me save where I might not have saved my money before. I was getting more mindful with my spending, just by tracking and thinking “I could have invested this money instead of buying x”. When lockdowns hit the country, and only internetshopping was available, I did buy quite a few things. But impulse spending really didn’t exist as much for me. That stuck with me after, as I figured I would try to have a “glow up” and limit my daily decisionmaking.
It’s been a long and winding road of a lot of different self development tools and philosophies working together. In searching for a more easy and put-together style for myself with less choices to make on a daily basis, I also needed less stuff. I started saving for specific things because I was tired of having too many choices. Specifically with my clothes and outfits.
The downsizing started sometime after, with the need for clearing out all the “old me’s”.
Downsizing to minimalism – a personal finance move
Throughout the past four years now, I’ve introduced financial talks to my partner and we’ve gotten better and better at setting our priorities and getting clear on our values. We now also know that we’re done with having excess stuff. Moving to a smaller place is the perfect excuse for throwing things out and decluttering and so here we are.
The way it ties into personal finance for me, is the same vibe I get from Cait Flanders in her book “The Year of Less”. Having less, usually means wanting for less.
- I’ve gone from buying books all the time, to borrowing e-books on my library app instead.
- We copied all our cd’s onto our computers to get rid of the physical copies.
- I decluttered my closet before getting pregnant, during pregnancy, after giving birth and then 2 more times since giving birth. We’re down to one dresser and one rod for hanging items.
- I’ve decluttered more than 2/3 of my books – books that I know I will never open (again).
- If we really need it, we can usually buy a replacement. So anything that hasn’t been used in our current home (3 years!) is out.
We’ve done a few more things, but essentially – we’re getting close to where we want to be. The more we get rid of, the less we want to fill our home with new stuff. This naturally leads to not feeling like spending money on new things for the home, like decor or kitchen appliances. We just spent so much time clearing out!
Save the best for last
Just like Cait, I have been guilty of saving things “for a special occasion”, “for another version of me” and for whatever reason. The last few years events added up, have made me realize that I am done waiting. I’ll only keep my good cutlery and plates and not have “pretty use” and “everyday use”. I’ll use my good perfume and nothing else. I’ll burn the pretty candles and wear my nicest outfits. I am done saving the best for last, so I’m saving for the best now.
It’s like a game I played a lot when I was young. Barbie Super Sports – you could upgrade your Snowboard in increments from cheap to medium range to a little more expensive and to premium and so on. I always saved my points until I could get the best equipment and skip all the other steps. It was the cheapest route overall and now I’m thinking to apply that in real life too.
The Year of Less
So, what about the book? Well, it’s a great read, although I wasn’t prepared for it to be so journal based. Cait had a lot of revelations that seemed to come naturally to her and it matches my own journey very much (except I don’t think I’ve suffered binge consumerism in the same way, and I haven’t had issues with drinking, drugs or such things).
Like Cait mentions, some of the revelations seem so basic once they occur to you – but that’s just it! It will only make sense, when it makes sense.
I really hope you too will give the concept of “less” in your life a chance, as it has really improved my quality of life already. Reading Caitlins journey only reassured me, that my path towards essentialism is leading me somewhere even better and more joyful from here.