How to Save Money Like a Minimalist Tag

I'm trying to save, to spend less on things I don't need and to live simply. Here are my answers to the How to Save Money Like a Minimalist Tag!

What are the most important frugal things you do every day to save money?

Bring a homemade lunch into work and don't buy a coffee every single morning. Instead, I make coffee at tea in the office and have a cafe coffee once a week as a treat. Every time I'm about to buy something, ask myself if I really need it. If I don't, I don't buy it.

What is your best strategy for saving on utilities?

Utilities are a total rip off in Australia, especially electricity! My usage is low but the bills are still extortionate. The few things I can do to minimise them are:

  • Restrict usage. E.g. in winter I only turn on my heater after 5:30 pm, use candles instead of lights, never use the dryer.
  • Shop around, ask your provider for a better deal. Maybe you can get an early bird payment discount. Leave if they can't help and you find a better deal.

What is your best tip to save on food and household products?

Eat at home instead of eating out - that's where you'll make the biggest saving. Or if you do go out for a treat, don't drink alcohol or have just get one drink. Try to get some supermarket vouchers from rewards programs. Check the price per unit - all supermarkets should display this. Only buy the essentials.

What is your best tip to save on clothes?

I don't really buy clothes as I already have plenty and don't need to have the latest season's. Only buy essential items you need. Try op shops. Consider a capsule wardrobe, although that's not for me as I like lots of different colours.

What is your best strategy to stay out of debt or pay it down?

Don't spend more than you earn. It's quite simple really. Save an emergency fund. Make regular payments on any debt and try to pay more than the minimum.

Share one thing you do to save money that other people don’t know.

Every time I'm rewarded with a voucher (like at work or through a health & wellness program I'm in) I convert it to a supermarket voucher rather than one for a retail store. Then I don't need to pay for groceries.

How important is it for you to save money?

I want to rely only on myself when it comes to money: not family or friends or insurance. I make sure I have at all times a lump sum saved so I can pay for emergencies, travel and enjoy a break from work. If the lump sum gets low I get a job and save until it's replenished.

Found this tag on the Dollar Dude's YouTube channel here.

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The Postcard Project

I just chucked forty-odd years of Christmas and birthday cards in the recycling. Some had lovely messages written on them. Some were written by people who have passed away or drifted out of my life. So many memories. But I haven’t read any of them since they were given to me. And they’re clutter. So they had to go.

My postcards will go the same way too, but I thought I’d digitise them. So I’m working my way through a pile of cards sent to me by family and friends in the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s. After social media I got fewer postcards.

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Minimalist Tag

Thought I’d give the Minimalist Tag a crack.

What drew you to minimalism?

The freedom of not being tied down by so much stuff, so I’m free to move about as I please, whether that’s moving to a different room, property, city or country. I wrote about this here.

How did you start the decluttering process?

I started with clothes as that was the main thing I had too much of. I did this in a series of sweeps, getting stricter each time. I’ve now moved on to other objects in my apartment, and want to look at decluttering my online stuff and my time.

Have you ever counted all your things? If so, how many things do you own?

No. I don’t think it’s the number of things you have, just that they are all being used and valued.

What are your tips for dealing with the desire for more?

Avoid shopping centres and advertising. Learn to distinguish between want and need. Don't compare yourself with others.

How do you deal with non-minimalists in your life?

Other people are free to do what they like. If they are going to give me a present, I request a voucher or something consumable such as food or drink.

Do you have any guilty pleasures where minimalism doesn't apply?

Books. As well as being a writer, I’m a big reader and prefer actual books to ebooks. If I hear a great author speak, I like to get a signed copy of their book, but I try not to buy too many these days and go to the library instead.

I believe this cool tag came from Hello Cathy on YouTube.

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The Road to Minimalism is Paved with Clutter

At some point a little over ten years ago I found myself earning a good income and two dress sizes less than I’d been the previous year. What better way to celebrate this than with some cute new clothes? Thousands of dollars worth of cute new clothes and something for every occasion.

The double wardrobe in my bedroom, hallway wardrobe and two sets of drawers were jam-packed with clothes, shoes and accessories all for me.

  • Conservative clothes for work
  • Quirky designer outfits for going out
  • Tee-shirts and jeans for lounging around
  • Dress-ups for fancy dress parties I got invited to less than once in an electric blue moon
  • Gym gear for the work-outs I didn’t do
  • Formal dresses for the balls I didn’t go to
  • Clothes for when I put on weight
  • Clothes for when I lost weight
  • Vintage clothes
  • Designer clothes
  • Fast fashion clothes made with questionable ethics

People knew I liked clothes so started giving me their hand-me-downs, which I happily added to my collection.

My apartment was so full of clothes I could never find what I was looking for, and what I was looking for was always the same two or three outfits. And still I bought more and more clothes, and plastic hangers to go with them (because I’ve feared wire hangers since watching Mommie Dearest).

And then I thought about my teenage years when Mum would announce, “I can’t breathe from all this clutter you kids leave around!” I thought about people less fortunate than me. I thought about how the clothes I wear are made in developing countries and the people who make them are paid a pittance. I felt uneasy and I felt decadent.

Then I went to Spain for six months. Not because I’d read Eat Pray Love, but possibly for the same reasons. I don’t know; I haven’t read the book. What I do know is that I spent those six months living from the contents of a suitcase and loving it. The apartment I rented was airy and easy to clean. My clothes hung in their small wardrobe with big spaces between then. A few pieces of jewellery sat in a drawer, free from their usual tangle. I appreciated, used and loved everything I had there!

When I came home I knew the clothes had to go. One person didn’t need all of them. Ninety percent weren’t getting used. They needed to be set free. But when I looked at my clothes, each article had some sort of memory attached to them. I couldn’t give away something that once belonged to a dead relative, was given to me by a dear friend, had so many memories attached to it, could I?

 

 

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