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Minimalism

15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018

Wanting more time and less stress? Check out these 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018!

We’re at the start of a new year and it is a great time to reassess out current lifestyle and make positive changes. One of the most common complaints from people are they don’t make enough time for themselves, or their families or to just do things they want to do. We find ourselves filling up our free time with mindless facebook scrolling, endless washing and cleaning, and doing things that we probably should have just said no to.

Make 2018 a year to remember, a year for you to work on how you can simplify your life. The start of saying no to things you don’t want to do and yes to things that you have wanted to do for too long. Take a step back and reassess what is important and what isn’t, what we want more and less of and what is adding unneccessary stress in our lives.

Here are 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018!

1. Declutter

There is no greater path to simplify your life in 2018 than through decluttering. When we remove the excess we can focus more on the essential. By removing things that do not add value to our life we help to simplify our lives. By reducing the clutter in our homes we open ourselves up to numerous benefits. We reduce; the anxiety caused by too much stuff, the amount of time we waste cleaning and maintaining our stuff, and can soon notice the financial benefits when we are more intentional with our spending. Check out these 101 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now to get you started!

2. Learn to say no

Don’t fill in your weeknights and weekends and leave  yourself no down time or time to reset. It’s okay to say no to people and events and put your needs first. If there is an invite to something you are really not keen to go to for whatever reason; you can’t afford it, it doesn’t sound fun to you, you really feel like if you cram one more thing into this week you are going to lost it, it’s okay to RSVP no.

3. Say yes to things you want to do

We can often get tied up doing the things we don’t want to do and the things we want to do end up falling but the wayside. Once we learn to prioritise our time better we have more time to do the things we really want to do like relax, exercise, watch a movie, learn a new instrument or read. By learning to say no more, we open up our calendar to say yes to more spontaneous things like a beach day when it’s perfect weather or hanging out with someone you just met.

4. Find joy in the small things

You don’t need to buy the latest iPhone or go on endless vacations to find joy. Don’t live for big buys and getting away when there is joy to be found in every day things. Make time to do things that bring joy in everyday and take the time to appreciate them. It could be playing a game with your kids, watching an interesting documentary, having a hot chocolate and smelling a yummy candle on a relaxing night at home in front of the TV. When we learn to find joy in the little things we can simplify our lives and learn to appreciate the small things.

5. Remove and minimise toxic relationships

Toxic relationships add drama and stress to our everyday lives. They can consume us, take our focus off our goals and hold us back. Joshua Fields Milburn from The Minimalists in his blog titled ‘Fake’ says ‘you can’t change the people around you but you can change the people around you’.  You can read it here. This really is the crux of our relationships, we can’t change people in our lives but we can change who we keep close to us.

Sometimes we need to remove or minimise contact with people in our lives, even if only temporarily, that take away from our happiness or that are toxic and detrimental to our well being. When we remove people that take our energy and bring us down we can remove an unnecessary barrier to our unhappiness and lead lives of positivity and growth. Sometimes even a simple conversation about new boundaries and expectations can redirect a toxic relationship into a more healthy one.

6. Read more

Who ever said I wish I had less time to read? Reading is a rewarding way to destress, learn new things, unwind and get lost in a book. When we make time to read, we are making time to sit down, stopping all other distractions and focus on one activity that will aid you to simplify your life in 2018.

7. Spend less time on social media

A lot of time can be freed up by spending less times on social media and on our phones. You probably don’t even realise how much time you are losing on it. Make a conscious decision to use social media less. You may consider deleting the apps on your phone for a small period of time, but if that is too scary to consider, try timing your use. Limit yourself to your tea break only or putting your phone away at a particular time each night. When you have important things to do put your phone on flight mode or hide it in a drawer so it is out of sight out of mind.

8. Simplify your wardrobe

Simplify your wardrobe and identify what you feel clothes are truly you. Be honest with yourself about what you will and won’t wear. Don’t be afraid to let go of items you no longer need, you can always replace them with more suitable and loved pieces. When we limit our overflowing wardrobes we reduce the stress we encounter with picking an outfit before running out the door. Give your morning self a break adopt a capsule wardrobe and simplify your life in 2018.

9. Eat less and be more mindful with food

I have been extremely guilty of this this past year of not watching my food consumption as much as I should have been. With You Tube, TV, Netflix, Messenger Chats and all other distractions we can sometimes find ourselves not even aware of how much we are eating. Simplify your life in 2018 by being more mindful of what food you are eating and how much of it. Take your time eating. Acknowledge whether you are full and stop eating if you are and try and take not of whether you are just eating out of boredom.

10. Reduce Stress

Identify things that cause stress and aim to minimise or eliminate them. Is your work a toxic environment? Consider changing jobs. Is your housework overwhelming you? Consider hiring a cleaner to come out and take the load off you. Is going out all weekend not allowing you the time to reset and unwind after the work week? Limit your outings on the weekend to one or two so that you have time to catch up on things at home and to relax. Pay attention to the signs. If your heart rate elevated? Is breathing difficult? Do you feel overwhelmed and like you can’t stop worrying about things. If things are not something you can solve on your own ask for help. An outsiders point of view can help you to see the issues that might be causing you stress but aren’t so obvious to you.

11. Limit your exposure to advertising

There is nothing more meaningless than spending your time watching ad after ad. Find ways to limit this and simplify your life in 2018. Some examples I employ are arriving at the cinemas later so I skip the ads (I do enjoy watching the upcoming movie trailers though!). Sign up for Spotify membership and listen to your favourite music without the ad interruptions. Reduce watching TV or stick to ad free streaming services such as Netflix. Be more selective of magazines that you buy as a large portion of them are just advertising.

12. Unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions

Having an overflowing inbox with unopened email after unopened email can be soul destroying. Simplify your life in 2018 by eliminating unnecessary subscriptions from your inbox. Simply unsubscribe from each email as they come in if you feel that that do not add value and are cluttering up your inbox. Not only will this save you potential money when you are no longer bombarded with sale after sale notification, but will save you valueable time opening excess emails and managing them in your inbox.

13. Automate your finances 

Take the stress out of budgeting and managing your finances and simplify your life in 2018 by automating your finances. Remove any temptation to spend all your pay check by paying yourself first and saving from the get go with little thought or pain. Once you get used to your new savings transfers you will adapt to your new spending allowance and not feel like you are depriving yourself. With each pay it will get easier!

You’ll also save yourself the work of doing the transfers manually each pay and get the joy of watching your savings account grow over time! Take this a step further and set your main bills to be direct debited where possible to save you time making payments. Just confirm they were deducted and save yourself the hassle of making those monthly payment manually!

Related Article: Check out How I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism 

14. Limit your mail

With a simple phone call you can get all your bills emailed to you and skip the hassle of sorting through mail each week. This will not only eliminate having to go through your mail but also avoid that pile up of bills that is inevitable. You can also set up automatic filters based on keywords in you gmail account that will digitally file your bills for you, not need to do any physical filing at home! Simplify your life in 2018 further by limiting time wasted on collecting junk mail by sticking up a no junk mail sign on your letter box. If you really need something you can quick google it to find the best prices!

15. Pack less when travelling

As someone who travels a few times a year this has really saved my own sanity. In the past I would have packed 23kg of luggage to the brim plus carry on assuming I would need more than I really did. The next time you travel pack minimally. It will mean less frustration at the airport and commuting with your luggage weight less, less stress worrying about getting things to fit in your suitcase on travel days, or fitting things into your car, it’ll be easier to find things in your bag as you need them and you will save money on baggage fees is you are flying!

What changes have you implemented  to help you simplify your life? What do you want to do to simplify your life in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budgeting

17 Things I Did to Save More Money in 2017

Check out the 17 things I did in 2017 to Save More Money

As the 2017 year comes to a close I thought it would be a good time to reflect on financial decisions I made during the year to save more money and try and estimate the total money that I would have saved from those actions. I am more than happy to spend money on things that add value to my life or bring me joy, but I do not love spending my hard earned cash inefficiently.

We work so hard for our money, why don’t we find savings in the things that don’t take away from our enjoyment of life so that we can spend money of the things that do! When we find non value-adding way to reduce our spending we can allow ourselves to spend money where we like guilt free.

These are the 17 Things I Did to Save More Money in 2017. When I added the savings up just for this year they came to over $8000! I hope they will inspire you to find more ways to save in 2018!

  1. Shopped Around for Car Services or repairs.

When my husbands car was due for a major service within ten minutes I had retreived four quotes raging from $350 to $750. I went with the cheapest who also happened to be our regular and reliable mechanic. This can be more limited for newer cars that for extended warranty purposes need to go to the dealer service centre but for any other cars shopping around is a must if  you don’t want to pay too much for your car services!

Total Savings: $400

2. Reviewed my mobile plan frequently

I started off with a sim only plan that was $49.90 a month earlier in the year that had 10GB of data included. The 10GB never seemed to be enough for my needs so I often ended up paying for additional data on top of that. As a result the bill was often more around the $70-80 mark and certainly more than I was willing to spend on my phone plan.

I wanted to get my plan back under $50 so did my research and ended up switching to a 6 month discount offer for a sim only plan offering the same inclusions for only $24.99 a month to new customers. I figured even with extra data charges, the same deal would still fall under my $50 budget whilst saving me that additional $20-30 a month I was forking out.

Once that six months discounted period was up and I was back on a $40/month 10GB plan I did my research again and have just switched to a new plan which although will be slightly  less flexible (it is a 12 month contract!) it includes 15GB of data for the same price. The great news is I will no longer have to top up my data each month and pay any extra. I was also offered a 25% promotional discount on sign up so actually only pay $30 for the $40 plan.

Total Savings: $480 (Original $70 a month vs new $30 a month plan :))

3. Requested a better rate on our mortgage

I was recently talking with a friend about his plans to get a better mortgage rate and realised that it had been a little while since I had done the same. Jumping online I saw that my bank was offering new customers a 0.61% discount on the rate I was paying. I rang up the next day and requested that we get access to the advertised rate. Within a week I had approval and had signed the paperwork. This was a huge win for our budget and for us to save more money.

Extra Tip: Come prepared when you make the call.  Research what other banks are offering in terms of rates and ask your bank to match their competitors!

Total Savings: Our new repayment was $27.23 lower a total saving of $1415 for the next twelve months alone. Based on keeping our original weekly repayment over the current life of our loan this could save us up to $13500 and allow us to own our house 8 months earlier! This is real money and life changing stuff! 

4. Stopped spending creep and saved our raises

My husband and I have had the same weekly allowance since we started budgeting six years ago after moving into our first home. We made it a fair figure to us so that we could live within it without feeling like we were too restricted day to day. With any pay raises, bonuses or anything else we receive we do not just absorb those into our lifestyles (know as bracket creep) and increase our spending. We try to be intentional with anything extra we earn so that it is not wasted. When we get extra money it goes to our savings or straight onto our mortgage. If you want to save more money don’t absorb your future raises, put them away and watch them grow 🙂

Total Saved: A wage increase of $20 per week saved and not spent can increase your savings balance by $1000 over a year.

5. Reviewed our electricity and gas plans

Once a year I like to review our electricity and gas plan and see what deals they are offering new customers. After researching online and checking our latest bill, I realised we were not receiving the full discounts we could be. With a short fifteen minute call we went from a plan with an outdated discount of 16% on our Electricity and 10% on Gas usage to a current advertised discount on Electricity of 23% and Gas 17%. A bonus was that we got a $50 credit on our next gas and electricity bill for signing onto new plans. If you are not checking your utility plans annually you are going to find that you are on an outdated offer that is probably costing you more. Check it annually to the competition and their new customer rates.

Total Savings: $30/quarter on electricity and $11/ quarter on gas plus $50 credit Total savings $214

6. Limited our electricity consumption

Don’t stop the electricity and gas savings there, there are ways to save more money on your bills to put back into your pocket! After getting a few too many $500 a quarter electricity bills we decided we needed to make more of an effort so cut down out power use. We made sure that we used only the appropriate amount of lighting e.g. turning on one down light instead of the other power point that turned on six lights when we didn’t need that much lighting. We started turning off our TV each night and turning off our PC monitors and power. I set the air conditioner at 22 degrees on hot days rather than 18 (much to my husbands disapproval :p) and only used fans at night.

I downloaded our electricity providers app and started monitoring the week to week electricity use and savings. Within the first few weeks I noticed them drop by about $7 a week. Not bad! Not to mention when you can see your impending bill estimate it is a great motivator to turn off those power points!

Total Savings: $364

7. Got smarter with our herbs and fresh produce

As a huge Basil fan, I got sick of buying new Basil bunches week to week only to have them go bad within a handful of days. I was determined to find a way to keep them fresher for longer. Since then I have been buying the Basil plants from Aldi which sit on our windowsill, and seem to last weeks with a small amount of care. I also researched the correct way to store different foods to extend their shelf life which helped us reduce our food waste and the cost of replacing spoiled food so often.

Total Savings: Let’s guesstimate on the lower side of things, a saving of $10 a week in reduced food waste at $520 a year! 

8. Switched to high interest savings accounts

After reading the Barefoot investor, I realised how silly we had been leaving any number of dollars in our bank account that was paying a whole 0.01% on balances, a.k.a. nothing! After a small amount of effort we made the switch to Scott Pape’s favourite ING’s Savings Maximser which currently gives us 2.8% on any balances in our account which is a hell of a lot more than the big fat nothing we were previously getting! Nothing to motivate you to save more money then someone paying you to do it 🙂

Total Savings – $2000 Emergency Savings Fund will now be earning $56 a year in interest. Doesn’t sound like much but the more your balance grows the more your interest will add up! 

9. We stopped buying as many clothes

After adopting a capsule wardrobe I found the need to hit the shops for new clothes greatly diminished. After all, I had a perfectly functional wardrobe ready to go day to day. The only time we bought new clothing or shoes this past year is when we needed specific items. Knowing what we had in our wardrobe and only keeping what we loved really helped us to limit any desire to go out and spend a ton of money on a new wardrobe.

Bonus tip is to resist buying a new outfit for each event and to ask friends or family if they have something you could borrow for the night. Return the favour the next time they need a fresh outfit.

Total Savings: Who knows but over the long terms I am going to say lots! 🙂

10. Started having dessert at home 

I am a dessert girl at heart but spending $20-30 on dessert on our weekly date night was not really value for money in my eyes. Of course a girl needs her dessert on occasions so we started having our desserts at home. Instead of going out to Max Brenner or San Churro, or ordering dessert with dinner twice a month we started to make our own dessert at home. Desserts like home made scones, waffles with strawberries and ice cream are a fraction of the price at home. If we were not going home we were happy to grab a coffee or ice cream at the movies. Rather than spending $25 or $30 or dessert each time we were only spending $10 or less!

Total Savings: Opting in for dessert at home twice a month total saving $360 over a year

11. Found more creative ways to have fun

Saving money doesn’t mean missing out on fun. We just got a little more creative. Some nights we were more than happy to go home and watch Netflix rather than paying $40 to see a movie. When we did see movies we got discounted tickets which saved us 50% on the ticket price. We tried to go at times that the discount was valid where we could. On weekends if it was a beautiful day we would go for a walk or drive up the mountains. If the weather was crappy we’d crack out the Nintendo 64 and have Mario Kart Battles. Check out these Fun Frugal Ideas for more ideas on how you can have fun whilst you save more money.

Total Savings: Again a tough one to calculate, let’s guesstimate one night a month and $360 for the year!

12. Cut back spending on beverages

Coffee, beers, wine, hot chocolates they all add up to more than you would expect over the year. But making small sacrifices we were able to save more. Some ways we saved this year was by having hot chocolates at home. I buy Jarrah White Chocolate 10 packs which set me back less than $1 a cup! My husband chose quality over quantity and opted for drinking his favourite beers less often as a treat over cheaper beers more often. We also bought coffee for him to have at home to take with him on the go of a morning to skip the $4.50 or more morning coffee (I don’t drink coffee so that’s a big $0 for me ;)). So far we haven’t found one that stands up to his store bought versions but hopefully we’ll find a pro one in the near future! Coffee drinkers you could be throwing away $1170 on your morning coffee per person. We are working on that one 😉

We also cut back on our $8 fortnightly 24 water bottle pack and instead invested $12 in two water bottles and haven’t looked back.

Total Savings: Hot chocolate savings $150 and water savings $208

13. Started online grocery shopping

This was something that we adopted not necessarily to save money but to save time and make life a little easier. A great bonus of this decision was that we were buying less. When you are shopping online you aren’t walking past the sale ends or easy to grab, ever so tempting confectionery at the checkouts. When shopping online, the only way you will see those heavily discounted items are if you are specifically searching for them unlike in store where you’d be hard pressed to avoid making eye contact! We certainly don’t do this always, it takes some forethought but is a great way to help you reduce your impulse buying!

Total Savings: Complete random estimate let’s go with $10 a week and $520 for the whole year. Hopefully it is actually more 🙂

14. Got organised 

This one would have to be one of the biggest food saving methods in our budget for 2017. Through my decluttering journey I realised how much food we had been buying unnecessarily. At one point I found 8 cans of corn for two people, of which one of us does not like corn and the other one barely eats it. Go figure. We had kilos of flour, daily reminders that we had to find a way to use them up before they expired. All brought on from shopping on the go and not checking what we had in our pantry, fridge and freezer before we hit the shops! This was a huge realisation for our budget. We were shopping with no real plan and with little clue of what we already had to start with.

For a new aspiring minimalist the endless cans and boxes of stuff were starting to bother me, not to mention my knew found goals of reducing our household waste. We decided to get ourselves organised and got to work re-organising the pantry, fridge and freezer. Now that we could tell with a quick glance how many items of food we had we knew what we could buy and what we didn’t need within seconds. The cans were all lined up in a row on tiered shelves waiting for us to come and quickly check on shopping day. We also keep a shopping list on our fridge to write down groceries as they run out so we knew what needed to be replaced. This means that we only buy what we have used and need, anything else that sits in our pantry will end up getting eliminated from our shopping list in time.

Total Savings: This was a budget saving biggie! I am going to guess this alone has saves us $1000 over the year. 

Related Post: How an Organised Space Can Save You Money

15. We limited buying toiletries and other consumables

When I started on my minimalism journey I realised the waste that had occured in this area of our budget alone. We had about 10 bottles of shampoo and conditioner, about 8 cans of insect spray, a life time supply of air freshener, random and unfinished cleaning products, sponges galore – you get the idea! It was too much and completely unnecessary. Not only was it taking up space, cluttering our cupboards (clutter, ew!) but we were wasting money buying products that we didn’t need and couldn’t possibly use up in a timely manner.

It took over a year to use up our excess supply of deodorants, hand creams, body washes, soap you name it. It seemed never ending and really opened my eyes to the fact that you don’t need to buy so much of that stuff in bulk. We now only buy things as they need replacing and if something is on sale we will just get a spare 1 or 2 max, rather than buying 10 bottles. We also just stuck to the brands we loved. By only buying what we needed, we were able to spend on quality products and things that added value to our lives. Remember that saying quality over quality, we definitely found that to be the case.

Total Savings: My sanity!

16. Cut back on buying make up 

Now I have given this one it’s one section as this tip alone has the potential to be a huge budget saver! The old me would buy eyeshadow pallet after eyeshadow pallet, have 4-5 foundation bottles and 15 odd lipsticks. I would browse my local Price Line walking out with what I thought was the nicest shade of purple nail polish only to find I already had three similar shades at home. Not to mention that I never even paint my nails. Wrong! At one point I have four bottles of foundation open which was pretty ridiculous for a girl that only wore it to work or the odd outing.

Once I did my research I realised how wasteful this habit was. I was buying too much, more than I could possibly use up before the expiry dates. And yes make up expires! Most last 12-18 months which was truly eye opening experience! As with my groceries I now only replace my make up products as they run out. It is very rare that I will buy anything new that I don’t need as I no longer look at make up stores or aisles unless I am there to buy something I need to replace.

Total Savings: Not shopping for make up multiple times a month has saved me at least $240 a year!

17. I sold my stuff on eBay

My first eBay listing was a 4 pack of hair dye that I have bought and realised I was never going to use. I listed it for $10 as an experiment (I paid $20 for them so would have been chuffed to claw back half). They ended  up selling for $27 and from that moment I was hooked on finding things to sell around my home. I continued to chuck items up on eBay items for the next one and a half years making $965 back alone in 2017 for selling items around my home that I no longer needed! If you haven’t tried selling your unwanted stuff on EBay, CraigsList, Gumtree etc you might be missing out on some serious cash and serious motivation to declutter 😉

Total Savings: $965

Total estimated minimum savings in 2017 $8252

What tips do you have to save more money that you have tried in 2017? Please share them in the comments below 🙂

Minimalism

10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to Add Value to Your Life, Not Stuff!

With the gift-giving season fast approaching it’s the perfect time to rethink our normal gift-giving practices and adopt new ones. Gifts can help us to show how much we care for a loved one but they don’t have to be things in order to add value to their lives! Even with the best intentions, buying stuff can cause friends and family long-term clutter problems.

There is the guilt associated with receiving an unwanted gift that we have no use for. The worry of where to store or display another gift, that may have been extremely thoughtful but you know that space is severely lacking in your home. There is also the stress associated with buying a large amount of gifts with a limited budget. Not to mention the inner struggle of trying to guess what someone else might need or like when most people probably have everything that they need.

Sometimes the best gifts are not things at all and are just as valuable and useful to us. A donation of time to a family member in need, covering an expense that adds value to our lives or gifting an experience can provide a truly memorable gift that will be remembered long after that new set of tea towels you didn’t even need are forgotten.

If you are looking to simplify your life and holiday gift preparation consider giving a minimalist inspired gift. Here are 10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to add Value to your Life, Not Stuff for your loved one that will hopefully bring a smile to their faces and add value and joy, not more clutter to their lives.

1.  A Gift Card for a consumable
Is there something they need or love? Consider a gift card for a consumable such as a subscription service they love. Examples are Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Netflix, Spotify etc. They can read or listen to their favourite book or have a month of movies and TV shows on you!

2.  A movie gift box.
Let them enjoy a night in or out on you. Include a Netflix gift card or tickets to their local cinema, popcorn, drinks and snacks. Check out this movie gift box for some inspiration.

3.  An experience gift.
Such as ticket to the zoo, aquarium or the observatory. Other options are tickets to a show, game, or to see their favourite band.

4. Offer your time or skills.
Does someone you love need a babysitter, help with doing jobs around the house, someone to teach them to cook? Or simply offer to take them someone special. Sometimes donated time can be the greatest and most helpful gift.

5. Get artsy or crafty.
Put your creative talents to good use. If you are a sewer, writer, singer, painter, photographer, give a personal creative gift to someone special.

6. DIY beauty products.
Unleash your inner beautician with some Pinterest recipes of beauty products for lip balm, bath bombs, facial or hair masks. Some great ones are Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub and DIY Home Made Soap Jellies.

7. Give the gift of food!
Everyone loves dessert, you can’t go wrong with this one! Some ideas are an ice cream box with different ice cream toppings and sauces, a waffle box, home made-brownies or cookies.

8. Their favourite beverage.
Let’s not forget the drink lovers. Cater to your loved ones preference whether that be wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, tea, coffee or hot chocolate!

9. Contribute to their upcoming holiday.
If your friend or family member has plans to go on a holidays in the not to distant future consider giving them money towards their trip to help them saving up for it. Alternatively ask them if there is a tour or attraction they wanted to do on their trip that you could gift them.

10. The gift of no gift giving obligation
Sometimes the best gift of all is simply saying to your family or friends not to worry about a gift. Gifts involve, planning, shopping, wrapping, carting them around on the day not to mention the cost of buying them. Save your loved one the stress associated with hitting the shops, finding a parking spot and managing the chaotic crowds at this busy enough time of year and give them the gift of freedom. Freedom from any obligation to buy you a gift so they can invest their time and money in something more valuable to them. Agree to forgo gifts and just enjoy each others company!

What are your minimalist gift ideas? Have you made any new family traditions around gift giving? Do you and your friends say no to gifts or have you found more creative ways to give at Christmas and other special occasions. Please share your ideas to simplify in the comments below!

 >>Heading off this Christmas season? Check out these 16 Easy Tips To Pack Minimally for Your Next Trip!
Minimalism

The True Cost of Our Stuff

Often when we shop our main decision basis is one of price. We review the price tags as well as asking ourselves questions like; is it on special? Does it come with something free? Can I get two for one or buy one get one half price? We assume that we are frugal or budget savvy by considering these price points before purchasing. The issue is that this often means that the true cost of a purchase is not considered.

When we only consider these price points in the decision making process for new purchases we forget the most important costs. One of the prime and irreplaceable costs being – our time. One of my favourite quotes is from Minimalist blogger Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist. He says “We don’t buy things with money. We buy them with hours from our lives.” A thought I try to be conscious of this each day.

Before we head out to the shops, or to buy something online – or anywhere, we need to consider a few things. Not just the money spent to make that purchase, but the investment of time involved in owning something. This assessment allows us to truly make wiser purchasing decisions and to consider the true cost of our stuff.

There is much more that needs to be considered than just price alone. Here are 7 other things you should consider when making purchasing decisions to assess the true cost:

  1. Lack of mobility

When you consume excessively your rob yourself of future opportunities. What if a new position came up interstate that would be perfect for you but because you have a huge home filled with stuff you can’t move. What if you find the perfect rental property and you need to be out in a week but miss out because you can’t physically pack up all of your stuff that quickly. What if you need to sell your house whilst the market is booming but you take three months to declutter and pack your stuff and during that period the market drops suddenly and you lose thousands in the lost market price? Having too much stuff can hold you back from decisions that make you happy and add to your life and stop you from being mobile when you need to be.

  1. Environmental Cost of Excessive Consumption

When we consume in excess we increase our impact on the environment. Everything you buy comes with packaging – boxes, plastic, tape, tissue paper, foam and other stuff that will quite possibly end up in landfill. Not to mention the cost on our natural resources. Clothing manufacturing uses vast amounts of water and chemicals. The more we buy, the more our valuable resources are depleted and the more waste we create.

This impact is often not seen by the consumers but born by the wildlife and locals who live in the areas of manufacturing. Check out True Cost on Netflix for a great documentary on the environmental and human cost of our fast fashion industry. 

  1. Opportunity Cost

This is the cost of what you could have done with that money had you not spent it on a new outfit or tech gadget. Instead of buying more stuff you could have invested that cash in yourself such as; by starting your own business, signing up for an educational course, contributing to your retirement, going on a holiday, paying off your mortgage or other debt. All these things have the potential to greatly improve your circumstances.

When people reach the end of their lives the common regret is not wishing they bought more things over there life times, but wishing they would have spent more time with family and friends and traveled more. There would be more time to do in our younger years if we stopped working more and more to buy things we don’t need. Rather than spending our hard earned cash on more stuff, we should consider the true cost – the opportunity costs of spending that money on stuff which could have been redirected to save for our future and retire earlier and have more time to spend with the people we love, doing things we truly enjoy!

  1. Less time for your important relationships.

Whilst you are spending all Saturday morning cleaning your large home you’ve missed out on brunch with a friend, going out with the kids on a road trip, a morning walk with your wife.

The more stuff we have the more time we invest in cleaning it, maintaining, repairing not to mention the other stuff we don’t think of – the time we spend unpacking and setting it up, the time we spend reconciling our accounts each month, filing our receipts, finding a place for the item, washing it, moving it to dust or vacuum. The list goes on.

When buying something new ask yourself what is the true cost of this item? Are you prepared to spend the extra time to look after this item, dust it regularly, iron it weekly, pay for maintenance costs, take it for repairs when necessary and so on.

This goes for buying a house. A house is one of the biggest drains on your time. Consider whether you really need a two story mansion for you family of three or if you would rather spend the time you would have spent cleaning each weekend with your family not to mention the extra work hours needed to cover the larger mortgage.

 

If you like this article you may also be interested in reading “10 Benefits of a Minimalist Inspired Life“.

 

  1. The Cost to Our Health.

The more we spend, the more money we need to bring in to stay ahead and on top of our debt. Maybe you are working 80 hours a week to bring in the big bucks to keep up with your spending. As a result of overworking you get home too tired to spend time with your family or do anything for yourself like exercise or read a book. You begin to live for the weekend with Monday to Friday just being a blur of alarm clocks and falling asleep on the couch.

Not only is your health suffering from lack of time to exercise, cook a nutritional meal and relax after work but you will be carrying around a lot more stress if you are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque. This can soon escalate if you are constantly worrying how you will meet your bills and debt repayments each month. Many people are reaching retirement age saddled with large consumer and mortgage debts without considering the consequences if they suddenly have to retire due to health concerns.

  1. Anxiety and Stress Caused by Excess Clutter

Having lots of stuff adds stress and anxiety into our lives even if we are not aware of it. Clutter makes it difficult to relax physically and mentally and can make it an embarrassing time if unexpected guests rock up. Not to mention the added stress of not being able to find things, having to step over things constantly, pick up things endlessly to tidy up, or seeing cluttered spaces every time you open your drawers or wardrobe. The clutter is always there to remind us. This stress can be reduced by minimising your possessions and limiting what new items you bring into your home. Having space in your home, a sanctuary that you love can do wonders to alleviate stress and anxiety.

  1. Missing Out On Valuable Experiences

When we become so obsessed with buying more and more stuff we often miss out on the important things in life like experiences. How many people do you know that have never been on a holiday but easily spend money on other things without much thought – their nails, a daily coffee, an expensive car, new jewellery or outfit for a party. They constantly say I can’t afford to travel and yet don’t realise that if they were just a bit more intentional with their spending that they too could go on an occasional holiday. Whether it be a local one, interstate or overseas.

It doesn’t even have to be a holiday. Maybe they want to go to a fancy restaurant for their anniversary but can’t afford it. Sometimes we place more value in things that we can see and hold and keep and hold onto for years and years and we forget the importance of creating memories with loved ones. If you just saved $20 a week – just 2.5% of a $50000 annual after tax salary, you would have over $1000 saved with interest to invest in an experience that is important to you. It could be a weekend away, spa day and nice dinner and only takes a very small sacrifice each week.

Have you identified the true cost of stuff in your life? What changes have you made since to your purchasing choices? Share you comments below 🙂

Check out How I Discovered Financial Freedom Through Minimalism for more benefits on focusing less on our stuff and more on what is truly important to us.

Organising

How An Organised Space Can Save You Money

I’ve always been a bit of a frugal-er, trying to limit waste and unnecessary spending where I could and had a desire to get more organised. After living out of home for five years, I realised we’d developed some bad habits.

We were binning massive amounts of spoiled food each week. Most of it fresh food we’d bought with good intentions but just hadn’t gotten around to eating. Finding stuff in the pantry was a difficult process with random cans thrown in sporadically and no real organisation system. We’d go shopping list-less and come home with five cans of corn only to realise we already had eight in the pantry.

We were constantly leaving things to the last minute. Often realising we’d forgotten to buy a birthday present, we’d rush around hoping we could find something the day of the party in sheer craziness. Cleaning was an ordeal having to try and vacuum around whatever clothes and furniture items we had on the floor.

I was sick of the disorganisation and having unnecessary stress in our lives. After being overwhelmed by clutter, and the anxiety and stress it caused me I set out to change my home environment. I wanted to have a more calming space – I didn’t want to see mess everywhere and trip over things.

Once starting the decluttering process of my home I realised there was an added benefit to having an organised space. It was aiding our budgeting and helping us to save more money. Here is How an Organised Space Can Save You Money and how it has benefited us.

1. Save on groceries and buying duplicates.

Since organising our home we can now see what we have at a glance. In the pantry, all cans are lined up, long-life milk, snacks are in the one place which makes creating our shopping list that much easier. Our fridge is no longer filled to capacity as we only buy what we will need for the week ahead. This means we can reduce the food we are wasting each week and save on our grocery bill. Having an organised space allows us to avoid bringing home multiples of an item we already have, whether that be groceries or things we misplace or have just forgotten we have.

2. Reduce your clothing budget.

Organising your wardrobe is a huge game changer in terms of spending. Before I discovered the amazement of being organised I used to have my wardrobe and drawers overflowing with clothes. Each wash day I’d shove a new pile in, on top of the stuff that had just become accustomed to staying at the bottom of the drawer. I remember the first time I decided to declutter my wardrobe, I found three pairs of black shorts. I’m not sure how many pairs of black shorts anyone needs, but the fact that I had three that I had not only not worn in years, but didn’t even know I had them was quite eye-opening to me.

From that moment I realised how important it is to keep what you have organised and to regularly assess what you have so you know what items you own. In the past I would just buy new clothes, chuck them in a drawer or in my wardrobe with the intention of wearing them and often completely forgot I had ever bought them. I’d never really taken stock of what clothing I owned. Now when I go shopping I know at least 99% of my wardrobe off the top of my head. I know what shoes I have to mix and match with outfits and can better select what I am bringing into my wardrobe.

3. You’re more content living in a smaller home.

Since organising our home the feeling of claustrophobia has diminished. I no longer feel like our house is too small and that we need more space. I’m rarely tempted to look at larger homes to buy. Even if it springs to mind when I see a nice photo of a home, I remember how much I love cleaning a smaller home and how I would never want the additional hours of work to pay for one and lost hours keeping up with the maintenance that comes with a bigger home. After decluttering all areas of our home we’ve actually managed to free up some storage space and are in no rush to fill them back up.

4. Planning ahead is easier and you can avoid impulse purchases.  

About two years ago I started using a diary to get more organised. After about a year I switched to a Bullet Journal and was instantly impressed by the simplicity it brought to my life. By being more organised and writing in my bullet journal I am able to save money in numerous ways. Whether it be planning ahead for dinner so I can avoid buying take out that night. Making a note to buy a gift for someone a month ahead instead of running around the day before in a rush and blowing the gift budget. Or making a note to compare prices on a new purchase in order to get the best price and save money.  

5. You’ll become more intentional with purchases.

Now that we have decluttered our home we are very keen to keep it from getting out of hand again. This impacts my day-to-day activities and spending. I no longer walk into shops aimlessly to pass time or find some kind of satisfaction from buying something new.

Before I buy anything now, it has to hold up to a range of requirements. I will ask myself questions such as do I really need this? Do I have a place for it? Is it something I will be willing to dust from now until when I get rid of it? Most of the time the answer is no and I walk away from it.

When you start making more conscious decisions with what you are purchasing on a daily basis you develop new habits and soon enough the desire to buy lessens and your desire for a calm, organised space keeps you from reverting back to old habits.

6. Save money not having to replace lost items.

Have you ever gone to look for something and not been able to locate it? I am pretty sure we have all been here. You think to yourself, maybe I never had it or gave it away? You go out to replace the items. Sometimes the original turns up and you feel a little silly but even after turning the house upside down at the time you couldn’t find it! This is another way an organised space can save you money. By having organisational systems in place you can avoid losing things in your home and replacing them. Even more importantly this wastes another important resource, your time. Imagine all the more important things you could be doing with the time wasted looking for lost items.

7. You can sell your unwanted stuff online. 

Another way an organised space can save you money is as you organise you will truly realise how much excess you have in your home. After a while we begin to grow used to seeing our stuff and don’t realise how much of it there is.

Have you ever walked into someones house and felt claustrophobic from all the stuff?! You’ve probably not even noticed your house might be heading in the same direction. It’s not until you start questioning what you do and don’t use that you realise you could live without some of the stuff cluttering up your home.

The great thing about decluttering is that your unwanted items can be useful to other people and that can help you claw back some of the money spent on excess items you have in your home. You will never get all of your money back, and sometimes you won’t get any of it but it is possible to sell your clutter and add to your savings account.

It is truly amazing how much you can get for old electronics, gaming consoles, clothes, camera gear, books or whatever other junk you might have in your to go pile. If you’re reluctant to give something away because you spent a lot of money on it, sometimes knowing that you can get a little bit back from it by selling it makes the letting go process a little easier.

Alternatively, if you don’t need the money or don’t have the time, donate unwanted items to a local charity. Think of all the times you’ve found something you love in an op-shop for a few dollars because someone was generous enough to donate it. Pay it forward! 

8. Being organised saves you time and stress.

When you plan ahead and get organised you can save one of your most precious resources – time! Imagine all the things you could do with your spare time if it wasn’t spent doing mountains of laundry each week! No looking for lost items or spending half an hour clearing out food in your fridge that has gone bad. As they say, time is money and an organised space can save you both! When you no longer have to live with the consequences of an unorganised space, you’ll have more time to spend on more enjoyable things.

How have you found an organised space has saved you money? Comment below with your experience!