When I started my minimalist journey and wanted to get smart with money, I went back to some old financial advice I heard quite often... and that are, to this day, what most people will tell you...
Cut down on daily stuff - that latte at your neighbor coffee shop, lunch with co-workers at the pizza place... regular coffee/outing with your spouse over the week end...
This, to my knowledge is THE number one advice you will ear over and over again...
I tried it...
It failed me...
Because I ended up spending more time at the mall because I didn't know what else to do at lunch time... or over the week end... so I fed my shopping addiction for clothes instead of that of my soy chai latte at Starbucks!
Guess what? It turns out a sweater is a little more expensive then a chai! So is pretty much anything I would buy at the mall because I was saving where it mattered!
THEN... I started thinking about this... what if THAT didn't work for me? What if instead of saving money where it technically really added up I started saving money on stuff I cared less about? What if skipping my morning chai with my hubby made me miserable and wanted to compensate by shopping for that extra pair of jeans I really didn't needed?
And realized that making me miserable my saving money where I was told to do so cost me more in the end.... and I came up with my own system for saving money according to my priorities.
What matters most to me:
Living in a clean, well maintained apartment
Living in a safe neighborhood
Eating a vegan diet - but doing it on the cheap side is possible and healthier actually
My weekly splurge on soy chai latte and vanilla soy latte at Starbucks for my husband and I (twice a week)
My occasional outing at my near by sushi place (2-3 times a month)
My random meals at our local vegetarian restaurant (3-4 times a year)
Having clothes I like - but I have enough of that so no spending now
Reading - but I can do library for no cost
Incense - buy once a month good quality ones
Once a month trim for my really short hair
The rest? I really couldn't care less for it... so it slowly but surely went out the door!
I am talking: car, smart phone, cable TV, excessive shopping, dye for my hair, hair product (my hair is so short I don't need it), daily shampoo... I am talking outings for every single occasion with everyone who ask... I am talking that occasional glass of wine or martini... I am talking crazy amount of gifts for my son, husband and his kids as well as myself every birthday and Christmas... I am talking bringing over the most expensive hostess gifts every time I go somewhere (you can bake or cook something) or go moderate with the money spent... and last but not least yearly trip down south during the cold months... and I am sure I am forgetting stuff - Oh like... updating my decor at home to be trendy... hahaha
All this... saved me much more money then the sum of our lattes and occasional sushi...
Of course, I have decreased the number of times I go to those places but I still do it, because for me, this is what matters! And cutting what matters most made me miserable and spend more money on what matters less... ironically! As long as it is in your budget, as long as it makes you happy and as long as you pay cash for it... DO IT!!! Life is short!
Being a minimalist is not about living in poverty... it is about choosing what matters to YOU and spending your money on that instead of on everything and anything you couldn't care less for!