Written by Vicky Payeur
Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
At 21, I was drowning in debt due to my excessive spending habits. I owed over $10,000 on my line of credit as well as a $6,000 loan and had absolutely no discipline when it came to managing my finances. I was heading to a point of no return where bankruptcy would've been my only option.
Then, one day, I came across an article about minimalism. It became clear to me that this was the path I needed to follow in order to break my bad spending habits and get back to a balanced budget. I knew that living as a minimalist would benefit me in ways beyond anything I could imagine.
Today, my debts are in the past. I have since embraced better strategies when it comes to dealing with my income, expenses and savings. In a way, becoming a minimalist allowed me to save my personal finances and get a fresh start as a young adult. Here's how I managed to do it:
1- I Reduced my Expenses and Appreciated What I Have
The very first week, I streamlined my budget, removing everything that wasn't essential to my life and happiness. Instead of having roughly 30 monthly payment obligations, I now had less than 10. I also learned to appreciate the things I already had, rather than always looking for something better. I spent less, but also smarter, and started saving for the sake of my wallet.
2- I Sold Everything I No Longer Used
During the first two years of my new lifestyle, I did a lot of de-cluttering. Selling everything I was no longer using on classified ad sites helped me recoup between $5,000 and $10,000 of the cash I had spent in my previous life. For example, I sold my old computer for $800, a workstation for $100, surplus furniture, clothing, decorative items, small appliances, etc. Ultimately, these amounts added up and allowed me to make ends meet!
3- I Got Back to Basics with Simple Leisure Activities
In becoming a minimalist, I learned to reconnect with simple pastimes, such as reading a book, cooking, playing sports, walking, hiking and skating. All of which can be free! These new habits helped me enjoy the little things in everyday life and entertain myself differently.
4- Having Less Stuff Meant Fewer Expenses
After my de-cluttering spree, I spent far less work properly maintaining and caring for these possessions. Bear in mind that having generally less stuff meant that I was able to avoid renting a truck when I moved, which can be an expensive part of the moving process.
I don't need storage space and I can now live in a smaller apartment, which means lower heating, insurance and electricity costs.
Maintaining Good Habits
Four years later, I still feel the daily benefits of my minimalist lifestyle. By consuming less, I have more money left over at the end of the month. With my debts now paid off, I still maintain many of my minimalist habits, but in a balanced way. For example, I won't hesitate to pursue activities I really want to do, just as long as I plan ahead.