Lifestyle

My best Minimalist Money Saving Hacks

One of the beautiful side effects of being a minimalist is that you can save a lot of money even if you‘re not trying too hard. There are certain mindset shifts that happen over time that just make you automatically  spend less. If you are interested in a short cut, here are my ultimate minimalist money saving hacks.

1. Buy the best Quality you can afford

It may sound counterintuitive at first but if you would like to save money long-term you have to consider longevity. How long will an item take to deteriorate? How long will it last until you have to replace it? If you buy a sweater for 80€ and it will last for four years it will be cheaper than a 30€ sweater that lasts only one season.

So I would suggest to make a budget and buy the best quality – which will not be the most expensive item you can find! – you can afford and enjoy the item as long as you possibly can. I personally also consider for how long I would like a particular style. If it is an experimental piece I always buy something cheap (second hand) and see if it would be worth spending more money on that style. If it is a staple in my wardrobe I am okay with spending more on that.

2. Buy Second Hand

Depending on your access you can buy almost everything second hand: clothing, accessories, jewellery, books, house plants, kitchen gadgets and furniture. And sometimes you can get the things for free. Check out your local second hand shops, ebay, facebook and second hand apps. I buy as much second hand as possible and I have saved hundreds of Euros just on clothes. A recent example: I just bought a beautiful down coat that would retail for 200€ for only 30€. It was in excellent condition and just needed a dry clean an some water repellent. Not bad, right?

3. Don‘t buy what you don‘t really need right now

Probably every minimalist had that experience: The less you own, the less you feel the need to buy things. Because most of the things we buy we don‘t really need. We just feel a kind of emotional hunger or fomo. We try to prepare for sometimes later in the future when we might need a particular thing. And then the thing sits around in some corner of the house and we even forget that it exists.

Marketing also does it‘s best to sell things to us that we don‘t need by making us feel as if we would miss out on something. If you get used to resist that urge after a while you don‘t even feel the need to visit particular shops. You just feel fine with letting their products be in their space and not in yours. Of course you should buy what you need right now but don‘t waste your money on some fantasy future. I try to not buy things that I don’t need within the next three months.

4. Sell what you don‘t need

When I went through my first and biggest decluttering phase I made up to 800€ a month only by selling stuff that I didn‘t need anyway. I sold furniture and household items on ebay and clothing, accessories and books on various apps. It was pretty wild. Of course you will never get the money back that you have already spent on all the stuff. Sometimes you are able so get 10%, sometimes 60% depending on the current demand for that specific product. But if you don‘t use something and it just collects dust in your home, you lose 100% of your money.

5. Move to a smaller Place

I know, I know… moving houses is stressful, painful and it can be quite expensive. But hear me out. When I started my minimalist journey, I had an apartment so full of stuff that it was quite a challenge to vacuum the floor because I had to move that stuff around to reach all the dusty corners. Two years later you probably would not have recognized the space. It was airy and had more than enough room for all the things I really needed. By the time my apartment had emptied I decided to move houses. I rented a truck and asked exactly one friend for help. And it took us maybe an hour to load and then unload the truck.

But how do I apply that to my situation, you may ask? Good question. Maybe you live in a very big apartment and could move to a smaller place to save on rent. If it‘s 100€ less, you save 1200€ a year on rent. Or you got to a point in your relationship where you and your partner want to live together. Maybe it would be possible for one of you to move into the other‘s place with a little bit of decluttering on both sides.

6. Don‘t deprive yourself

While it can be very effective to be strict with your spending for a short period of time to reach an important financial short-term goal, it doesn‘t work long-term to deny yourself actual needs. (Please note that I am talking about actual needs here, not wants or nice to haves.)

What it does on a psychological level is it puts you into a starving mode. And – like on an actual diet – as soon as you lose your will power, you will binge and possibly spend a lot more than you would have if you just bought what you needed in the first place. Also these spendings would only be postponed. So you would still buy these essentials but you would buy them all at once and spend the money in one week instead of maybe three months.

7. Borrow instead of buying

If you don‘t really need to own something, see if you can borrow it. You need to drill a hole in your wall but don‘t have the equipment? Ask friends, family and neighbors first before you go out and spend your money. You were invited to a very fancy event that you usually don‘t attend? Asks your friends if one of them could lend you a fancy dress or visit one of those cool rent the runway kind of websites if they are available in your country. You would like to try photography as a hobby and don‘t have a camera? Ask your friends if one of them has a spare camera that you could use for a while to decide if that is for you or not.

8. Do it yourself

Of course it is nice to go to dinner from time to time but it is not very nice if you depend on restaurants and take-out to survive. There are so many very simple and healthy recipes that you can learn online. If you are going to a salon to get your nails done, see if you can do them by yourself at home. A bit more extreme but also effective if you really need to cut your spending is cutting your own hair. You would need to invest in hair scissors, a good comb and maybe some clips first. But it is really not as complicated for longer hair. For some people it works quite well. But of course it depends on your hair style and patience.

9. Look for Activities that don‘t require Spending or are low Cost

Some museums don‘t require you to pay an entrance fee, going for a walk is always for free and when you watch a movie you don‘t have to buy additional snacks for 25 bucks. Learning certain skills on YouTube is also a good idea as well as a library card. A picknick in the park can be way more fun than a restaurant if you have good company. There are so many free options out there, be creative to find them.  

10. Unsubscribe, stay away from Shops and Social Media

Because window shopping is not fun at all. It is frustrating and tempting. The same goes for newsletters from your favorite shops. If you don‘t see what‘s new, you cannot be tempted to spend money you want to hold on to. Now social media is a bit tricky. Because there are not only good old ads that you immediately recognize as such but also influencer marketing. There is nothing wrong with an influencer selling a product to their audience to make a living. We all have to pay rent and groceries. Also only we are responsible for our spending decisions. But if you notice that your own spending got out of control or you just need to save more money for your financial goals, I would strongly advice you to take a break. Unfollow and unsubscribe at least for a while to cool down that urge to buy stuff.

Bonus Tipp:

11. Get your Priorities straight

One of the best tips that I ever got came from Ramit Sethi. Now I don‘t agree with a lot of things he says but that one was helpful: Spend according to your values. What is really important to you? What makes your life more enjoyable? If you are able to save 60% of your income but feel miserable in the process, then for God‘s sake stop doing it! If something makes your life worth living, you really need to budged for it. For me personally it is live music. I am happy to spend money for concerts because my favorite musicians enrich my life with their art. Going out on the other hand, like going to bars, clubs or restaurants is not very important to me right now. Therefore it is not a big deal to cut that out most of the time.

And if you would like to learn more about getting your finances together in general, check out The Financial Diet.