Ding dong. It’s time for Part 2 of my money and minimalist living series. Don’t forget you can still check out Part 1, it’s full of awesome suggestions for how to organize your money for ultimate simplicity.
But enough chit chat. Let’s get stuck in. Here are my final 6 tips.
1. Put on your financial armor
It’s time to suit up. Imagine that you just put on your financial armor. All set? Ok, now let’s get financially bullet-proof.
Start by accepting complete responsibility for your financial situation, and make a commitment to yourself to take your finances into your own hands.
You are responsible for your income and your expenses. And most importantly, you must own the gap between the two.
It’s a simple equation;
Earn more than you spend. And save the shit out of the difference.
It’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you get to keep.
And that’s real talk. So get tough on what you spend your earnings on. Think of your money as little bits of life energy you’ve accumulated. You’ve spent your time and worked skills earning that stuff, so don’t just squander it on t-shirts and cakes (I might be projecting a little on that one).
Do as much as you can to reduce your monthly outgoings so you can keep more of your hard earned cash for yourself, to invest and to save.
Avoid debt as much as possible and every 3 months, review your expenses and cut back on anything you can. This way, you’ll gradually make more of your income available to keep.
So put on that financial armour and make your money bullet proof.
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.
– Will Rogers
2. Review your expenses
This was one of the first things I did after deciding I wanted to simplify my life. And in true RMX style, I’ll use myself as the guinea pig.
So let’s talk about absolute expenses. These are simply the things I must pay to live my current lifestyle:
Mortgage. My biggest expense but only a tad more expensive than when I was renting. At least I now own the property. The market has increased in value since I bought my house, so if I ever need to sell I’ll pocket some extra cash.
Trash / Rubbish. I changed provider to get a better deal.
Gas & Electric. I switched provider to get a better rate for the next 12 months. I’ve set a reminder in my calendar to the same thing next year.
Car Insurance. We reduced this by getting rid of one car entirely. Then switched provider to get a better deal too.
Gasoline. I walk and cycle, so this is pretty low.
Food. I buy some organic and spend a little extra at my local farmers market, but I don’t scrimp on what I put into my body. Health is number one.
Loan. Got a modest loan to redo our kitchen. Currently, all our additional income is going towards clearing this in the quickest possible time (debt is bad). Then we’ll put all the extra cash into our savings account.
Health Insurance. Peace of mind, so we bit the bullet and got a policy each.
Cell Phone. Once our current contracts are up, we’ll move to SIM only deals and easily cut these in half.
Internet. Moved from a package that bundled our cable and internet. We got rid of cable tv and got a much better deal on internet at a fraction of the cost.
Expenses I eliminated
These are the expenses I used to have, but got rid of, over the last year or so.
Car insurance on one car (got rid of one car, kept one)
Car tax on one car (got rid of one car, kept one)
Petrol for one car (got rid of one car, kept one)
New clothes every month (much less frequently now)
Daily coffee (cut it in half by making it instead of buying it in a store everyday)
Eating out for lunch (make it instead)
Transport costs (I cycle to work, rain or shine)
Gym fees (I do a minimalist home workout instead)
3. Get rid of your car, or one car
This one’s no joke. Getting rid of your car (or one car if your a two car couple) is kind of a big deal. It takes some planning and some adjustment. But it’s on items like cars that you make your BIG savings. Getting rid of a car eliminates fuel costs, insurance, tax and upkeep.
So last month (I’m delighted to announce) myself and my wife took one of our cars off the road completely and have committed to using just the one.
We let the tax and insurance expire on my wife’s car. We’re keeping it parked in driveway until we’re 100% we don’t need it – but it’s been immediately obvious that we don’t. So our next move is sell it on and pocket the extra cash. Nice.
Try walking, cycling and using your limbs you lazy bastard. Ok, maybe too much tough love there, but you get the idea.
We prefer to walk and we consume less. We are, thus, environment friendly.
Using public transport or your frikkin’ legs saves you money and is way better for the planet too, don’t forget that shiz.
FREE GUIDE: MINIMALIST LIVING & THE 9 THINGS YOU CAN SIMPLIFY TODAY
Discover the 9 essential things you can simplify today. Reduce stress & start to shape your very own minimalist utopia.
4. Live the ‘less’ lifestyle (It’s actually more)
This is a shift in mindset that will actually give you so much more. It’s a pretty simple philosophy;
Guess what happens when you live the less lifestyle? You end up with more. More cash in your pocket, more savings and more peace of mind.
When you do need to buy something, you can afford to get a much higher quality as a result of living the less philosophy. These items tend to last longer, saving you more money too.
But putting money aside, the less lifestyle will give you more space to focus on what’s truly important. You’ll have new found focus and energy that you can invest into your passions, dreams and relationships.
Once we give up being attached to physical possessions, we find the time and freedom to follow bigger dreams
5. Get rid of cable TV
Wanna hear something that’s kind of a big deal for me? Today I gave my cable company the written confirmation they need in order to cancel my account and get their cable shit out of my house. They need four weeks notice so I have one more month of mindless distraction and temptation before it’s gone for good. Yay.
It mightn’t sound like a HUGE deal, but TV as been cannibalizing my evenings and weekends for a long time. Flicking mindlessly between channels and eating meals in front of the google box were becoming compulsive behaviors that myself and my wifey decided we needed to stop.
So to prepare for the absence of cable in our lives, we started a no tv rule in the evenings to see how we’d get on. And guess what? It’s been really fantastic. We have so much more time with each other than before.
But what the hell do we do instead of watching tv? Well, we;
Talk. We cook together, sit at the table together and eat together. And we talk to each other.
Get creative. We work on side projects, write blogs, work up photographs sitting side by side.
Play board games. We bought Connect 4, Draughts and Charades so far. Plus some jigsaws, coz we’re nice like.
Read. Book, articles, all that good mind fodder.
Music. Music while we cook, eat, talk and chill. An instant mood changer that puts you in your happy place.
6. Treat yourself
OK, let’s get real. All work and no play makes…well, you know how it goes. My definition of minimalist living does not equate to deprivation. You simply can’t live your life without something to look forward to. So it’s super important to treat yourself. Just treat yourself responsibly and when you’ve actually earning it. Reward yourself when you accomplish something exceptional or achieve a particular goal. It’ll motivate you and help to keep you on track with your minimalist money management.
Here’s a few of the typical ‘treats’ I shower upon myself:
- Go out with friends for some drinks. Not too often, but it’s nice to blow off some steam every now and then.
- Invite friends and family over to my home. I’ll typically cook a meal for everyone or sometimes we have a boozy night where everyone brings a different poison and we crack open the cocktail shaker.
- Date night every week with my lady. We often cook a nice meal at home and buy a bottle of wine as a treat, instead of always going to a restaurant.
- A new t-shirt or piece of clothing. My former biggest weakness, now reduced to an occasional treat.
And there you have it. Don’t forget, you can still check out Part 1 of this series if you think you can handle the awesomeness!