Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

When Does Minimalism Become Unhealthy?

Minimalism is a lifestyle that has brought me so many benefits, I tell everyone I know about it. Though it is a helpful and healthy lifestyle for me, it can become an unhealthy obsession for some. So, when does minimalism become unhealthy?

Obsession Over Getting Rid of Stuff

When I first started to get rid of my stuff I didn’t need, it felt good. I am still getting rid of stuff, and minimalism is a constant learning process for me. I used to feel the shoppers high after buying a ton of stuff I didn’t need at Target; now I feel the minimalism high after getting rid of bags of old clothes or college books. I can see how getting rid of stuff could turn into an obsession.

When Minimalism Becomes Unhealthy

Getting Competitive

I talk about minimalism a lot, and though I’m probably more of a minimalist than your average person, I sometimes get called out in the minimalist community for things like wearing makeup or owning multiple pairs of shoes. This doesn’t bother me because I believe that minimalism looks different for everyone. It’s not a competition over who has less stuff, and you can still be a minimalist if you own two dresses instead of one.

Getting Rid of Things You Actually Need

Minimalism is a great way of life. My favorite thing about it is the individuality, and figuring out what you consider worthy of keeping to use on a regular basis. If I used something like a potato peeler on a regular basis, but someone else doesn’t, it might make sense for the other person to get rid of their potato peeler. Minimalism can become unhealthy when one gets rid of items they use regularly, simply to become more minimalist.

When Minimalism Becomes Unhealthy

Mindset

To me, minimalism is lifestyle that makes my day-to-day life easier and more enjoyable. I got rid of the stuff I didn’t need to make room for the things I care about in my life, like spending time with family and having freedom in my schedule. When minimalism becomes a competition or obsession, it starts to become unhealthy.

When Life Becomes Harder

It can be easy to slip into a mindset of wondering what else you can get rid of, what you haven’t used in the last few weeks, what takes up the most room in your closet. If getting rid of things and being as minimalist as possible is making your life harder than it is easier, you may have an unhealthy obsession with minimalism.

These are just a few ways in which minimalism can become unhealthy. Minimalism has brought so many benefits to my life. As with anything, it’s best practiced in a way that works best for the individual. This will look different for everyone. I really believe that everyone can benefit from adopting a few minimalist practices.

Your Turn!

  • Do you have any other reasons you think minimalism could become unhealthy?

 

5 Things I Stopped Buying to Save Money

When you’re trying to save money, it’s a good idea to track what you currently spend money on and see if there are habits that you can change. Perhaps you can do without some items, look for a cheaper alternative, or find a way of doing it yourself.

In order to free up as much money to put towards our financial goals as possible, we saw our biggest money wasters and made cuts or found cheaper alternatives. They were simple changes to make and we haven’t looked back since.

Pre-Packaged Foods and Snacks

This was one of the first things to get cut from our shopping list that has saved us a lot of money over the last three years. When I saw that I could buy a bag of chocolate chips for the same price as a box of pre-packaged cookies, I quickly realized that I could make a lot more cookies for the same price, cut down on the amount of package waste our family was producing, and save a lot of money in the long-run.

The other things we stopped buying were the pre-packed side dishes, like flavored rice and pasta. Again, a large bag of rice or pasta is much cheaper and you can season it as you wish. The other thing to go were the boxes of crackers. Instead we’ll air pop some popcorn and have that as a crunchy snack.

Bread

One road trip during the summer we found ourselves driving through Amish country. That time of year, you can find vendors set up along the side of the road selling fresh produce and baked goods. When I saw the homemade bread, I had an awakening of sorts.

Bread where I live will go on sale for $1.75 a loaf, and that is the rock-bottom price. At the time I was spending on average $2.00 a loaf and each week and would have to buy 4 loaves of bread (Yes, we’re big bread eaters…Yum). The math however on that was a little scary. $8.00 per week meant that we were spending $416 a year on bread.

We inherited a bread maker that sat in my pantry for years, never being used until we returned home from that summer trip. I found a great recipe and have been enjoying homemade bread ever since. I can easily make a loaf for under $1.00, saving my family $200 a year.

Gym Memberships

When making cuts to our budget to save money, this was also one of the first things to go. I enjoy exercise and know how important it is to our overall health, but I also know that exercise doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Rather than spending $30 a month on a gym membership (that honestly wasn’t being used enough to justify the cost), I spent $30 on a pair of hand-held weights, a weighted medicine ball, and a yoga mat. Getting outside and going for a walk or run is free and, thanks to the internet, there is an endless supply of exercise videos and tutorials available online that I can stream on my television.

Books and Magazine Subscriptions

I used to love getting the mail and finding my magazine subscription come in. When I added up what I was spending each year, I realized that it was money that I could just as easily put towards our financial goals. I quickly cancelled my magazine subscription and started enjoying the same magazine loaned from the library for free.

As a literacy teacher, I also love books. One of my favorite things to do would be to head over to my local bookstore and browse the shelves looking for the next great read. I treasured my growing collection of novels. What I didn’t treasure was the ever increasing price. Again, back to the library to pick up the same books and enjoy them for free. 

Take-Out Coffee and Disposable K-Cups

Coffee. I love coffee. It’s the first thing that I look forward too each and every morning. It was also a constant leak in our budget. When I saw what six months worth of take out coffee cost, I was shocked. It never seems that much when you’re spending only two or three dollars at a time. For what I was spending in one week, I was able to pick up a travel coffee mug and now bring my own from home.

The other expense we gave up were the individual, single-use K-cups for our coffee machine. I traded in my single-use cups and bought some reusable cups that we fill with our own coffee for pennies a cup. Not only is it better for our wallet, but also better for the environment.

Your Turn!

  • What have you stopped buying in order to save money?

How To Quit Impulse Shopping

When I became a minimalist, one of the first things I had to do was learn how to stop impulse shopping. Learning to quit impulse purchases was hard at first, but I had a few tricks that helped me quit for good. This is how I quit impulse shopping.

Get Clear on Why You Want to Stop

If you don’t have a reason to stop impulse shopping, you won’t quit. I had been buying random clothes on impulse for years, and wanted to be more responsible, but my only reason to stop thus far was simply to save money. This reason was so vague that it didn’t help me at all. Eventually, I created a bigger “why” that did help – a lot.

How to Quit Impulse Shopping

Create Short And Long Term Goals

By creating goals, I had a reason to quit shopping on impulse. I wanted to travel, so my short term goal was to save a certain amount of money per month. My long term goal was to be able to save enough to travel for one year (and I did it!). When I made a stop at Target, I kept these goals in my mind, and knew that impulse purchases would prevent me from hitting my goal deadlines.

Take Notes

When you have the urge to buy something on impulse, stop for a second and acknowledge that feeling. Why do you want to buy that candy/top/whatever? I noticed that I craved impulse purchases when I was upset or craving something else in my life. When I took a look at what was causing these cravings, I was able to really quit impulse shopping.

Kick Off with A Strong Start

To get motivated and determined (and stick to my goals), I would go on a spending freeze for one week out of the month, every month. A spending freeze for me meant no money spent on social activities (try hiking with a friend or meeting for a date in the park), no coffees out, no clothes or extras at all purchased during this week. I would set a grocery budget and stick to it, use the least amount of gas in my car, and spend my afternoons hiking outside and prepping meals at home. Once the week was up, I would feel so accomplished and proud that I’d often be more motivated to keep saving.

How to Quit Impulse Shopping

Don’t Go To Stores that You Have Trouble With

The places that would always suck me in to buy things on impulse were Target and Forever 21. If I knew that I felt weak, but I needed laundry detergent, I would go to CVS or Walgreens instead of Target. Though laundry detergent is less expensive at Target, I knew that if I went there, I would probably end up buying way more than just laundry soap, so this was a savings overall. After time, I was able to go in to a Target without feeling the urge to buy everything.

Quick Tips

A few quick and simple tricks that helped me overcome impulse shopping were: carry only the amount cash you’ll need when going to the store, (no credit or debit cards), freeze your credit cards if you feel it’s necessary, and try to get all of your shopping done once a week, and make lists for the things that you need to buy – and don’t stray from the list.

These tips all helped me to quit impulse shopping and stop impulse buying. When I quit impulse purchases and went minimalist, I was able to save money to travel the world full time.

Your Turn!

  • Which tip is your favorite?
  • What would help you quit impulse shopping?

 

Money Habits of People Who are Debt Free

Whether your goal is to become debt free, run a marathon, or simply declutter your home and live a more minimalist lifestyle, we often turn to those who have had success and do what they do. It’s called studying best practice.

If you want to learn how to run a marathon, you would talk to other runners and follow a training plan. If you want to enjoy a more minimalist lifestyle, you would read up on minimalism and talk to other minimalists. If you want to become debt free, you adopt the money habits of people who are debt free.

Organize and Pay Attention to Your Bills

Rather than just piling up the bills and walking away from them, people who are debt free open their bills as soon as they come in. They check to make sure that the statement is accurate and organize them in a way to ensure that the bill is paid on time.

Live Within Your Means

People who are debt free do not spend beyond what they earn. It seems obvious, I know. But in these days where credit is easy to come by, and most aren’t spending intentionally, it’s easy to spend more money than what comes in every month.

People who are debt free follow the principle that if you don’t have the cash, you can’t afford it. So part of living within your means also requires you to strengthen your savings muscle and set aside money each month for larger purchases like vacations, home improvements, or a new-to-them vehicle.

Don’t Try to Keep Up With the Joneses

People who are debt free have learned to practice the art of contentment and are grateful and happy with what they have. They don’t worry that their neighbors just purchased a shiny new vehicle or just upgraded to a 75-inch flat screen television.

They also avoid the trap of emotional spending and buying items to make them feel better. They know that these unplanned purchases only have a temporary effect on one’s feelings, and if anything may lead to feelings of stress later on in the month.

Demonstrate Self-Control

In order to live within your means, it’s important to be intentional with your money and develop a spending plan. Debt-free people create a budget before the month begins which gives each dollar coming in a job, helping to eliminate money that disappears or gets wasted.

Part of living on a budget also means avoiding impulse purchases. These impulse purchases can quickly destroy a budget. Instead try avoiding the stores that you know cause you the most temptation when it comes to buying impulsively. You know that trip to Target that you made to purchase one item and ended up walking out with $100 worth. Trust me, been there, done that!

Be Proactive

It’s no surprise that being proactive is the first habit discussed in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. People who gain control of their finances and live debt free have learned to be proactive. This means that they have looked at ways to cut their budgets and their spending to free up extra income to pay off their debt and then start saving. They will also look for ways to earn an extra income if it’s necessary to reach their financial goals.

Your Turn!

  • What’s one money habit that you would like to improve?

Announcing 2018 Tiny House Conference

We are officially launching the 2018 Tiny House Conference website!  I want to invite you to join us in Charlotte, NC to celebrate our 5th Conference!  The Conference will take place on March 17th-18th in south Charlotte for two full days of amazing speakers and connecting with others who are just as passionate about living tiny (or small).

This year I’ve decided to focus the conference on the core things people need to know in order to build and live in a tiny house so we can really dig deep into these topics.  As a result I’m limiting the number of seats to just 100 people so we can have better conversations in a focused format. This means we are definitely going to sell out early.

We have Early Bird special right now that will take $100 off your ticket, but the early bird special ends October 31st!

Find All The Details At
TinyHouseConference.com

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