I’ve been thinking about minimalism lately. It sparked, obviously, from constantly conjuring up ways to decrease debt, but I also believe it may positively impact many other aspects of our lives.
We live in an age where the accumulation of “stuff” somehow equals success. If you possess a lot of things you must be doing well and thus, must be extremely happy as a result. We all know this to be far from accurate yet we don’t fully live out the idea of less is more.
Colin Wright, travel and minimalist blogger says it simply: “What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life.”
Eric and I have been trying to save money and get out of debt for over a year now and have made some progress but not until recently have we made the conscious effort to experiment living with less. Here are a few things we are trying that I suggest you consider if you’re trying to get out of debt and looking for ways to cut back and add value to your life.
1. Sell your possessions. This is probably the most obvious one. We all have a ton of collected stuff laying around that we hate, don’t use or didn’t even know we had to begin with. Sell it! We’ve sold a mattress, bed frame, items our dogs have grown out of and a huge desk. We have a few other things on our list as well including stereo equipment and rims that my husband bought years ago thinking he was cool. We’re all grown up now and a stock vehicle suits us just fine.
2. Downsize your vehicle. If you have two vehicles but primarily use one, downsize the other. We have my crossover and Eric has a truck. The only time he ever uses his truck is to drive to and from work. It ‘s great for moving things but really, we rarely utilize it for its purpose.
Once we receive our tax refund we’ll be selling the truck and buying a much cheaper sedan. Doing this will allow us to pay some bills with the sale and the overall expenses for his rarely used vehicle will be much less. Cheaper insurance, gas and registration fees will help our situation tremendously.
3. Cut the cable. Since we don’t go out really our main sources of entertainment are DirecTV and our crazy dogs. Having said that, we don’t want to completely eliminate cable from our lives. If you can I say go for it!
Instead we cut our bill back about $25/month and eliminated cable in every room besides the main family room. If you have satellite cable I highly recommend you call up your company and get your bill lowered. These people are salesmen and are almost always willing to work with you. We called and canceled cable in our other rooms and said we were looking to cut back our subscription. Not wanting us to cancel anything else, they were quick to give us a discount on our current package.
These are just a few things we are trying to do to lessen our debt and stress burden as we prepare for our baby’s arrival in July. Remember to stay positive throughout the process. Debt didn’t accrue overnight and it sure isn’t disappearing that fast.
These ideas are hard to implement and if you’re like me, buying stuff is FUN! Give the minimalist idea a try though and you may discover more money in your pocket and that your happiness never really resided in material possessions anyway. What are you doing to save money and live with less?