“Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from few wants.” – Epictetus
Lately, I’ve been exploring and practicing minimalism, and I realized how much it goes hand in hand with improving personal finances.
What is minimalism?
Here’s how The Minimalists define it:
Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. – The Minimalists
Of course, minimalism can be different things to different people. To me, it’s making more room for what’s important by removing the things that aren’t.
When I got married in 2012, my wife and I combined all our possessions. Before that, I had 3 roommates and somehow came into possession of some of their stuff too. We had so much stuff that we filled 2 truckloads when we moved in 2014. I felt so bad for our friends that helped us move. Never again.
Since then, I’ve been trying my best to remove clutter from our lives by:
- selling stuff on craigslist, half.com, Amazon, and decluttr
- donating to Salvation Army, donation drop boxes, and people on craigslist
- throwing it away or recycling it
- giving it to a friend
As I’ve been decluttering, I noticed that my home feels cleaner and more organized. My desire for stuff has decreased even more, although it wasn’t very big to begin with. Selling stuff has also supplemented our household income and has helped me to be more intentional about purchases. With less clutter on my desk, I’ve been able to focus better and work more efficiently at home.
Practicing minimalism and decluttering has positively impacted our finances by increasing our income (through selling stuff we don’t need) and reducing our expenses (by buying only what we need, mostly). It’s given me more time to do things I’ve always wanted to try, like starting this blog and driving for Uber. It’s also helping me with my long-term goal of early retirement / financial independence by 2025.
Give it a try. Let me know how it goes.