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How Minimalism Can Put Money Into Your Pocket

How Minimalism Can Put Money Into Your Pocket

Have you ever noticed the commercials were something is on sale and the person acts like they will lose money if they don’t buy it? Have you ever thought of the irony?

How can we “save” a certain amount of money when we’re actually giving our money to someone else? It makes me think of Jim Gaffigan in his “Mr. Universe” special (5:00 mark) “Some of those deals are insane. 2 Big Macs for $2? Well, I wouldn’t want to lose money on this, I’ll get 80 of them…”

But Minimalism does put money into your wallet- simply because you stop forking it out. Having found contentment with my belongings means I’m not always pining for something better, which means I’m not spending money like I used to.

It also means I can invest in higher quality items, that last longer. I’m not always replacing cheap gadgets and I’ve really narrowed what I have down to what I actually use, so it’s not as easy to pull me in to “time saving or space saving” devices.

Here are a few keys to keeping the money in your own bank account:


1. Pay off debt. Years ago, Brian and I listened to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and decided to pay off our debt. We owed on 2 cars and had Brian’s student loans. Paying off debt can be challenging, but, like anything else, if you set your mind on it, and take steps to get it done, it will get accomplished.

That was over 10 years ago, we had 3 children and made $19,000 a year. And even with a low income, we managed to pay off all $11,000 in debt in about 2 years. At that point in our lives, not having to dish out $500/mo  in loan payments made a huge difference in our lives.

2. Don’t purchase with debt. How many times have you heard “You will always have a car payment.”? Well, I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to always have a car payment. Having a nice car is often times a status symbol, so you have to ask yourself what you are comfortable with. Are you willing to let people just see you without having your value based in your belongings?

We have an old minivan- but it runs good and we’re planning to keep it until it dies. (It’s a Toyota, I hear they live forever!) In the meantime, it’s a super ugly, but it doesn’t matter, because we don’t have a car payment! That’s freedom! It’s not hard to “pretend” we have a car payment and set aside the $400/mo so we can get a new vehicle when this one dies and I’d much rather set aside that money in a mutual fund and earn interest on it until we actually need to purchase a new one.

3. Have a smaller house. We purchased a “starter home” after we paid off our debt and of course, planned to only have it for 5 years and then upgrade. But one of the many benefits of minimalism is not needing so much space. Granted, I’d love to have 2 bathrooms, but the rest of the house is fine. We’ve made it this far with what we have, if we move now, in a few years we’ll be left with a big house that’s empty. Instead of spending more money on a “bigger, better” house, stay where you are, pay it off, and go do things with your family.

When you don’t have a house payment, that again, is freedom! Buy the cheaper, smaller home, do a 15 year mortgage and then be done with it.

4. Avoid recreational shopping. Bored? What to hang out with friends? Need a “pick-me-up”? Good! Do it without shopping. If you are a shopper, then sit down and start writing out a list of all the things that you find fun, we can have fun without spending money.

Here are a few ideas to get you started: be creative: photography, painting, knitting, etc., invite friends over and cook dinner together: pizza night, taco night, even if you want to experiment with a gourmet dish, having everyone in the kitchen working together is fun. Plan a game night: learn some new card games (we recently learned how to play golf) or scrabble. We love The Settlers of Catan and have had many friends over to share a game with us. Plan a movie marathon. Go for a walk. I have a couple friends that walk with me- we go to a park and let the kids play at the playground while we walk around the park, which is a city block. The kids love it and the moms get to visit plus that exercise is good for mood balancing.

5. Spend less than you make. If you have a 2 person income, whittle the budget down to only spending one income. Save the other. It may take paying off some debt to be able to live that way, but it’s so worth it. Socking away that much money means you can do things that you’ve always wanted to, but never dreamed were possible. That trip to Hawaii? Plan, save and go!

For many, when they look at their spending habits, they are discouraged by how much money get thrown away. Daily Lattes, going out to lunch, purchasing new clothes every month (How about trying a capsule wardrobe?!), going to the movies or dining out. Just making a few changes each week can make a huge difference.


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About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire to help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.


  1. Fiona on 02/26/2015 at 1:58 AM

    A great post and a good reminder – sometimes it’s tempting to think that debt is ok, instead of trying to pay it off. We paid off our house a few years ago, thanks largely to some gifts and a redendancy payout, but then we extended our house 3 years ago and are still paying that off, in fact have added to it with some more recent expenses, a second car necessary for work, etc.. These years with teenagers seem to be the expensive ones! My husband thinks too much of our income goes toward insurance, which is a hard one to figure out, whether to insure or not … I’m always scared that something will happen the moment we cut down our insurance! You and your husband have done well to manage your debts. Thanks for your great posts.

    • eaufraiche on 02/28/2015 at 7:00 PM

      goodness, don’t skip insurance! get some comparison quotes and check out different companies for reliability (consumer reports)…

  2. Jessica on 02/28/2015 at 1:02 PM

    Not to be a nag, but all of the hobbies you mentioned are actually quite expensive. I’m a knitter and if I want to make something that diesn’t look like something my grandma would have made I the ’70s, it is quite a bit of money. $30 for a baby sweater. $100 or more for an adult sweater. 🙁 I’ve also been getting back into art lately and it has costume almost $200 just for some basic supplies! Nothing’s cheap anymore. 🙁

    • Rachel on 03/05/2015 at 3:17 PM

      That’s true, nice quality supplies do cost. I think that most hobbies can cost a lot, but many don’t have to. Once you have a good camera, digital photography is only expensive if you print or upgrade supplies, painting can be done on reclaimed wood, most hobbies are an investment at first, but on average, I still think it’s cheaper than “bargain” shopping every weekend.

  3. Jennifer Hahn on 03/01/2015 at 1:25 AM

    Thanks for the encouragement to stay the course. I love The Settlers of Catan! Many a night we’ve spent with friends playing that game. Jessica, check out ” knitpicks” they sell nice yarn for inexpensive prices. It does cost a bunch to make bigger projects. I tend to stick to small ones like hats, booties, socks, or hand warmers.

  4. Jill on 03/03/2015 at 5:45 PM

    I complete agree with you about the smaller house. We have what most of our friends consider a very small house. It is stuffed full of junk currently, but we have been slowly simplifying, and are making some progress. I recently took stock of what we have and made a pledge to get rid of 80% of it. I don’t want all that stuff any more, and once it’s gone, our house will be spacious! And small enough to clean in a few minutes.

    We also have one car – a paid-off Toyota. Again, my friends are astounded – “How do you get by with only one car?” I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who declared that “it was impossible in this day and age to have only one car if you have kids.” Um, no. We have kids, have only one car, and have for 12 years, and if we lived closer to work, I doubt we would even have that.

    I used to think I “needed” a bigger house, or two cars, or this and that, and then I realized that I absolutely did not. What I need is LESS stuff.

  5. M on 03/10/2015 at 12:27 PM

    I understand your point of how having less can save money, but that hasn’t been true for us. We have always done the 5 things you mentioned. So when I started decluttering, I starting buying more. We have lived with hand-me-downs and thrift store purchases for many years and when I had a lot of it, I didn’t feel the need to buy things. But if I am going to get rid of all the excess, then I want the small amount what I keep to be nice. For example, get rid of all the miscellaneous drinking glasses I’ve collected over the years and buy a nice matching set. Have others had this same experience?

    • Ellen Scott Grable on 01/12/2017 at 1:26 PM

      I understand your thoughts here and my advise is use your mix and match glasses without adding more Thrift store ones and slowly set aside money to replace with a nice set as they break. I prefer to use up my things versus just toss to donations. I am not buying anything except actual replacements of worn out items as of now. for now

  6. KM on 07/10/2017 at 2:18 AM

    We have quite a lot of insurance but I reckon it is worth it. I have just started on this path and today tackled one of the 3 children’s room. What a feeling!!!!! I am going to use the snowball effect for debt, I know it’s not the best way but it makes it seem as though I will get there eventually, tackling the lowest debt first and moving to the next one. I love your site and thank you everyone for sharing ideas.

  7. KM on 07/10/2017 at 2:21 AM

    Speaking of glasses, the kitchen is going to be a major.

  8. KM on 07/10/2017 at 2:23 AM

    On a roll but I was feeling hard done by on Sunday, you know when you really want to escape and go for a fancy breakfast but the bank account balance doesn’t agree, I made my hubby a coffee (fancy one) and whisked up left overs to create an omelette for the 2 boys, hubby and myself and it was fab!

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