Minimalism seems to be something we're hearing about more and more these days, and it's worth taking a look into the benefits it has to offer. Sure, if you've got the money to spend on the trappings of a more luxurious lifestyle and you're able to enjoy and afford the good life, then great! But those who fall into debt to keep up with the Joneses will eventually need rehabilitation, in the form of downsizing and cutting back.
Downsizing need not entail arduous sacrifices though. Let's take a look at what's in store for you if you're ready to take the leap towards the simpler lifestyle.
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1. Let's state the obvious.... a simpler life requires less money. Keeping up with modern society can be a challenge. You only need to look at the wide range of gadgets and new technology that are around today to know that there is always something enticing out there to tempt us into opening our wallets.
Falling for the temptation of desiring all the latest things can be an expensive habit to deal with. You will always want the latest things so you have to find the cash to get them.
But can you really shift your mindset? It's certainly a challenge for some people to try to exert a bit more control over their shopping habits. But try prioritizing your purchases and focusing on other matters beyond the material a little bit at a time. Change can occur when you make a commitment, have a plan and focus on enjoyable things and events that cost you less. If you consciously decide to live a minimalist lifestyle, you will think differently. You will focus on other things in life and your expenses will diminish.
A simpler life can give you more leeway with your budget and the ability to focus on future savings and investment goals rather than on fighting your debt. Wouldn't you prefer to focus on buying mutual funds rather than on worrying about paying your bills?
2. You'll have less stress. Buying things you don't need and that you end up paying for over time can turn into a debt problem that is both overwhelming and stressful. One way to convince yourself to spend less is to think about what it is you're really trading for each item you buy. Ask yourself if the things you buy are truly worth your hard-earned money and the time spent working for that money. Just imagine not having to worry about money so much. One way to get to this point is to train your mind to want less, so that you can get by on less.
3. Less clutter can lead to a clearer, calmer mind. This is another benefit to downsizing that not everyone realizes. When your home is full of possessions, it is automatically going to sport clutter. Do you have a lot of stuff? If so, you'll have to keep organized or you'll be constantly misplacing items, wasting time seeking out lost things and fretting over not having enough space.
If you've ever cleared out your place, you will know how refreshing and liberating it feels. So just imagine doing that to your entire home! You may be pleasantly surprised at how liberating it can be to try a more minimalist approach to living. You won't require as much money to sustain yourself and you'll probably find yourself living more efficiently. Why? Less stuff usually equates to less maintenance and therefore, less things to worry about.
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As mentioned, if you're going to downsize, you can start with small changes, such as doing away with that platinum credit card and simply replacing it with a prepaid Visa card. It could mean buying fewer books and magazines and opting for visits to the library for your reading fix. Or it could mean eating out once every two weeks instead of every week. Ultimately, you may find yourself ever gradually chipping away at your debt that once weighed over your head. You may even be pleasantly surprised that shifting your behavior and making minor adjustments to your lifestyle don't take that much effort!
Can you see how all of these factors are tied in together to make you feel less stressed, more relaxed and happier with a smaller amount of money? Of course, this is all easier said than done. But you can always start somewhere and make small changes over time.
Silicon Valley Blogger is a full time blogger and online entrepreneur who writes for The Digerati Life and The Smarter Wallet sites that cover general topics ranging from investing and saving to credit and debt management.