Table of Contents
- 1 What is financial minimalism?
- 2 Financial minimalism has many benefits
- 3 Living a financial minimalist lifestyle
- 4 Experiences are better than things
Minimalism: Have you ever wished you had more time and money to spend on the things you love? I certainly do. However, we must take steps toward those goals in order to live happier lives.
As they say, “money can’t buy happiness,” but having more wouldn’t hurt, right?
Adulting happens to many of us as we grow older: working, caring for family, and managing finances are all part of adulting.
It’s simply unhealthy to worry about money constantly.
The next time you find yourself with a wallet full of credit cards, a pile of bills to pay or can’t seem to figure out where your money has gone, let me introduce you to the concept of financial minimalism.
What is financial minimalism?
A minimalist approach to finance is simply a balanced lifestyle incorporating minimalist habits. By reducing noise in other aspects of your life, you can focus on the things that are more important to you.
Unless you think minimalism is a strict code that requires you to live with only one pair of shoes, a few outfits, and a bare room filled with the bare necessities, you’re wrong.
It is possible to live a minimalist lifestyle for anyone, and everyone will have their own way of doing it.
Financial minimalism has many benefits
1. Saving money
The most obvious benefit of practising financial minimalism is that you will spend less (on things you most likely will not need, such as impulse buys).
As you declutter your items Marie Kondo style, you’ll have fewer things to buy and perhaps some items to sell, and you’ll see a healthier bank account and be able to live within or below your means.
2. Stressing less
Spending less also means worrying less.
By reducing subscriptions, credit cards, and other financial expenses, you can focus more on budgeting for necessities.
3. Being more active
Having more money for the things you care about is one of the best things about financial minimalism. You can spend more time with your family, enjoy your hobbies, and live a better life when you have fewer financial worries.
4. Environmental protection
Furthermore, living a minimalist lifestyle reduces your carbon footprint and helps you consume less.
Living a financial minimalist lifestyle
Are you ready to start your financial minimalism journey? Let’s get started right away!
1. Describe your goals
It is important for us to identify what is most important in our lives before tackling the nitty-gritty. When we do this, we can focus on what we should invest in, rather than spending on things that do not help us achieve our goals.
For instance, I enjoy playing the electric guitar and listening to music. In the future, I hope to play in a band and produce music.
In spite of my limited resources of time and money, instead of spending them on my hobby, I find myself shopping on Shopee or going on random shopping sprees for clothes I only wear a few times.
After learning about financial minimalism and evaluating my goals, I now have more money to spend on my hobbies instead of buying random things that add up over time.
The process may seem intimidating at first, and some of us have much bigger goals, such as financial independence and early retirement (FIRE), but here are a few simple questions to get you started:
- What three things are most meaningful to you if you had to choose just three?
- Do your spending habits match what you value most in life?
2. Develop or reevaluate your budget
After identifying your goals, it’s time to create a budget.
If you are new to budgeting, you might want to check out some budget apps or use an excel sheet if you prefer the old-school approach.
You don’t have to budget like a minimalist to live under $600 a month in Thailand (although it is doable if you really want to), but you can take some inspiration from it if you’re living with your parents.
Minimalism budgeting should cover all your necessities, as well as categories related to your life and financial goals.
Use the 50-20-30 rule, where you spend 50% of your income, save 20%, and invest the rest. You may want to drop your 50 percent expenditure as low as possible and allocate more to savings and investments if it is within your means.
Check out the Seedly Money Framework for an in-depth guide to personal finance.
Keeping to your budget is the hard part. It’s not uncommon for us to overspend during sales just because something is on sale.
Furthermore, you should review your budget frequently so that you can make adjustments and eliminate unnecessary expenditures (No longer using Netflix? Don’t forget to cancel your subscription!).
I recommend checking for better deals once a month, such as SIM-only plans or subscription services.
3. Streamline your finances in Thailand
With a minimalist budget and simplified finances, you’ll be better able to manage your money.
A financial minimalist might argue that they miss out on all the juicy cash rebates from having multiple credit cards or deals and cashback from various digital payment apps.
It is better to own only what you need and use it frequently and not worry about that extra 1% cashback or points you might get from time to time.
If you have a multitude of credit cards, savings accounts, and other financial products, you may want to narrow them down to the ones you use the most.
In case you are just starting out and only have a bank account and a debit card, you can look into the various financial products available. These include savings accounts, cash management accounts, and credit cards.
Of course, we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket, so having two or three accounts is a smart start.
A general rule of thumb is to keep one account for transactions, one for savings, and one for emergencies. Some people keep their emergency funds in cash management accounts and use their bank accounts for transactions, while others keep three separate bank accounts.
In order to manage my finances, I use a variety of financial products. I keep a cash management account for emergencies, a bank account (DBS Multiplier ) for savings, a prepaid Crypto.com VISA card for transactions (2 percent cashback) and GrabPay (0.67 per cent-1 percent cashback) as a safety net for when I am not able to use VISA.
The framework can serve as a guide for a personal finance journey such as financial minimalism. It will be easier for you to manage your workload if you have fewer things to manage.
4. Adopt a minimalist lifestyle
Along the way of your financial minimalism journey, it is important to cultivate a few minimalist habits to further reduce your financial clutter. Alternatively, you could create your own habits with a minimalist mindset: Less is more.
It could be anything from:
- Making a shopping list (and only buying those items)
- Planning meals to save money
- Making smarter purchases by buying fewer but better products
- Disable shopping notifications from apps or go out less to avoid shopping temptations.
Experiences are better than things
Those of you who have read this far should know that financial minimalism takes time. Your small efforts will go a long way in improving your finances and ultimately, your life.
Furthermore, it helps you appreciate experiences rather than materialistic things and teaches you how to focus on what matters most to you.
In the end, life is about our experiences and the people we share them with.
This article was first published in Seedly.