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Minimalist Benefit: Save More, Spend Less

I try to live a minimalist lifestyle because it is useful for many reasons. One reason which I am going to discuss in this blog is the ways it has to help save money.

I made a small list of little habits that work well for me. Particularly, when you may not have it to spend, or you are struggling to find a way to make use of your dollar. Hopefully, some of these ideas can work for you.

I am going to concentrate on good habits to help with “fast spending” or mindless spending. I think it is something that we all struggle with, and I want to share my techniques on saving. I realize that some of these suggestions are not a realistic option for some people. It depends on your situation.

Take a photo / Leave it in your cart
I think this habit has made the most significant difference is cutting out impulse buys. Thinking about things before you buy them makes the most difference.

I used to buy maybe multiple things on impulse buys every time I went shopping, and they were never pricey things. However, they did add up. I noticed that beautiful displays in the store or an appealing ad would lure me into buying more. Now, whenever I get into a situation that I feel the impulse come on, I take a photo. If I am shopping online, I leave it in the cart. I do notice within a couple of days after doing this action. I didn’t want it, anyway.

Make the most of what you have
I like to keep everything as it is until it no longer works. I always try to use up what I have before I buy something new. I make sure I squeeze out everything I can from the item before I purchase something similar. I take great care of my stuff, and that’s why it always lasts me for a long time. I’m forever grateful for it. Trends and fast consumerism do not influence me.

Shop with intention
I also shop for specific items. I’m not randomly going out shopping for clothes or things that will not serve my family or me. Changing this habit from buying without a plan to searching for a specific item, does make shopping easier and curves my impulse buying.

Have an intentional wardrobe
I now have an intentional wardrobe. I used to spend a lot of money on clothing and accessories. It was my biggest indulgence. It wasn’t that I was buying expensive things; it just added up after a while. There was a time when I spent at least a hundred dollars on clothing each month and sometimes more.

Being intentional with my wardrobe helps me curve my spending habit. I only have about 35 hangers in my closet and two small boxes for seasonal clothing. When they are full, it means that I have to get rid of something before purchasing any new items. This helps me to think before buying something. I also ask myself the following questions like:

Do I need this new item?
Has the last item been worn out or no longer needed?
What will I do with the item once I decided it no longer serves me?

Having these three questions as part of my spending habit ritual does invite the discussion of my actual need versus wants of things. It is a mindful practice that doesn’t take very long to master or for me to get an internal response.

Use sales to save
If you want to save money, then use sales wisely and to your financial advantage. For example, there is a wallet that is 50% off, and it is now $20. If you didn’t need a wallet, but you buy it anyway, then it’s not a good deal. You’re spending $20 that could be saved for something that you actually may need in the long run.

If my wallet gets worn out, and I am looking for a new wallet. Then, buying it on sale would make sense.

You are also not saving if you are buying things that are more expensive because they’re on sale. For example, I would never buy a wallet that’s $40, even if it used to be $80. I would, however, buy a wallet that’s $20. So, if I see a wallet on sale at or below my budget, then I’m saving money.

If you want something or need something and if it can wait, then wait until you can find it on sale. I do this with a lot of my purchases.

Cancel subscriptions that no longer serve you
Canceling subscriptions and memberships that you are not using or serves a purpose in your life. I have canceled most of my subscriptions. I only have Netflix and Boxycharm. These are choices that I made because I enjoy using these services and products a lot.

If you’re spending money on something every month, then take a moment to think:
Am I getting my money’s worth?
Am I using this often enough?

Automatic monthly payments can be kind of tricky because they’re easily overlooked. However, it does add up if you do not cancel them and you are throwing money away.

To avoid spending whatever is left
It helps to save that money. However, I have to be mindful not to spend the excess on other items. I put away whatever I have at the end of each month. As you get more used to minimalism as it becomes more and more your natural lifestyle. You will buy less and fewer things and this way you can even bump up your savings incrementally. I am still new to this thought process, but I like to view it as a game. Each month, the extra is my reward. The more dollars I have, the more money I earned.

Save first and spend later
So if you know roughly how much money you need to get through the month, Then you also know how much money you will have left to save and instead of waiting until the end of the month.

These saving habits do give me a backup and do help me to share experiences with loved ones. For example, my daughter was able to go to her ideal camp for the summer. My intention was to saved to allow her to go. The ultimate prize was to see her confidence go up as she did what she enjoyed doing.

I hope you got something from this blog. Please let me know what you do to save money.

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Fast Fashion – The Horror Story

So, on my decluttering journey, I realized that I owned a heck of a lot of clothes, half the items I never really wore and kept because I didn’t want to admit that I wasted many. As I continued with my journey, I wondered what happens to the clothes we donate, discard or don’t buy.

The fashion industry is putting too much product out there, millions of ton of clothes end up in landfill every year—it’s one of the fastest-growing categories of consumption in our society. Termed, “fast fashion” allows consumers to purchase extra, but consumers are wearing these fashion pieces less often and disposing of them at an abnormal rate. How can the fashion industry proceed to produce while not approaching the environmental requirement for people to purchase fewer clothes?

If you don’t believe me, here are some facts:

  • In 2015, the world produced roughly 155,000 square miles of fabric (about the size of California)
  • 80 billion items are manufactured every year
  • Globally, sorting plants like this only deal with around 25% of discarded clothes
  • On average only 20% of clothes are worn on a regular basis
  • Every year, we send about 85% of the textiles we purchase to landfill
  • The artificial fibers often preferred by fast fashion brands, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, are primarily plastic made from petroleum. This indicates that your discarded clothes could take up to a thousand years to biodegrade.
  • Fast fashion accounts for 10% of the planet’s greenhouse production
  • Each year 1.3 trillion gallons of water is used for fabric dyeing alone
  • Fast fashion is in second place as the dirtiest and most pollutant industry after oil
  • The US consumes about 1.2 million tons of clothing waste which is equal to 15 percent of the clothing sales in the country
  • On average, the global water footprint US is enough to fill over 1,200 bathtubs per household
  • The number of garments produced globally exceeded 100 billion for the first time in 2014
  • Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines. Most workers are slaves or work in sweatshops and have very little human rights
  • Approximately 300 million people who produce cotton are still living in poverty

There is so much out there the support that fast fashion is horrible for the environment, yet we pretend that it isn’t a real problem. What can we do to help lessen the burden on the environment? It’s straightforward, here is what I suggest below:

  • Recycle or repurpose your old clothing
  • Choose quality over quantity—avoid cheap garments made from synthetic fabrics
  • Participate in clothes swap events, or exchange old clothing with friends and family
  • Spread the word about Fast Fashion impact on the environment
  • Simply do not buy from brands that participate in harming the environment or human rights
  • There is nothing wrong with thrifting for clothes, and you will save money too!

I hope you found this article insightful. If you have any suggestions or facts to add, please add them to the comments below.

References and Resources:

Fast fashion: How to make clothes last longer and save the planet (https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-47292087)
Fast Fas is harming the earth, MPs say (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45745242)
What Is Fast Fashion? (https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-fast-fashion)
Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis (https://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/old-clothes-fashion-waste-crisis-494824.html)
By the Numbers: The Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of “Fast Fashion” (https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/01/numbers-economic-social-and-environmental-impacts-fast-fashion)

#ecofashion #sustainable #style #fbloggers #sustainablefashion #sustainability #ecofriendlyn #sustainablity #fashion #ethicalfashion #fastfashion

Paying Down Debt in 2019

So, my last post for 2018 was one of the hardest things to think about or comprehend constructively. It is that lovely taboo topic called money management and debt.

When I quit my job, I quickly realized how much spending I was doing on a daily basis. The two significant factors were mindlessly spending on little things and just giving my money away because it felt good to help.

Starting my own business made me much more careful about how I was spending my money. So, I am not an expert in finances, and I will never claim to be because there is SO much more I need to learn.

However, in 2018, I did accomplish some goals as I became mindful with my relationship with money. The most significant accomplishment was paying off almost $10,000 in debt. I still have $31,000 left to pay off, but it does feel good to know my debt is going down rather than up. My debt really isn’t on any significant spending but rather a big student loan and medical bills.

For 2019, I am going to try to pay off at least $12,000 in it. I want to finish paying this off because I need to start spending more time with my loved ones. I miss having the ability to take my daughter out. I miss just having time. So, being mindful of my time and spending has hopefully help me with the ability to accomplish these goals.

Here are some approaches that I used in 2018 to help me reduce my working time and also to have the ability to pay things off. I hope to use these same skills to improve my outlook for 2019.

The biggest habit that I acquired in 2018 is making more intentional choices on how I spend my money. I also realized that I have people that I can ask for help whether that was with actual money or with time. I didn’t understand how closed off I had made myself until I needed help on the one thing I prided myself in doing.

The first thing I realized is that easy shopping was not my friend. These small purchases were too often and collectively impacting my life. There was a lot of mindless spending on a daily basis that indeed was inhibiting me from paying off my debt. I took for granted my “fixed” income and my “fixed” payments and used the rest of my money without overthinking on its impact.

I would tell myself that I wanted to save $200 at the end of the month, but when the month ended, I had zero money in my bank account. It didn’t take long for me to see that that was not a sustainable way of living. I wasn’t reaching any of my goals. I wasn’t happy with my spending habits.

I started embracing my reality and intention that I still was avoiding. It was easy for me to donate or sell my belongings, but it was harder not to replace them. I started to do small shopping bans like staying off of Amazon or only spending what I had in my wallet for a day, week or month. These little gestures really helped to have enough money to pay my bills.

For 2019, I really want to align my finance actions with my real value. This starts with having a conversation and writing about my intentions. My husband knows my plans and having someone who is understanding to your needs is excellent. I have no problem asking questions about money and researching about how to save. I thank him for that gift.

After realizing how I was spending and being comfortable with the idea of money. I started to take stock of the big money picture. I think that’s one of the scariest parts of personal finance and it has taken me a while to comprehend. I still continue to struggle with acknowledging the state of my money flow without judgment. I just know you have to start and I do see that I am getting better with paying attention to my spending and income. It only takes time and understanding that it’s not going to be perfect and it will never be perfect.

For me taking stock means logging into all of my accounts and writing down what the balances, both the positive or negative. The big picture is not about feeling good or bad about your situation. It’s especially hard if it’s a negative experience to log in and seeing all the negatives and zero numbers, but it’s not about just looking at the numbers. It’s looking at all the different accounts that you have and making peace with your current situation.

You just have to review it. When I took stock of all the accounts that I have, the next thing I thought of is what can I get rid of to save money. It’s not just about paying off debt right away, but how many accounts or subscriptions do you have that you don’t even use.

I try to have as few accounts as possible. I’m all for whatever works for you, but I think it’s easier to have fewer accounts. It makes my life more straightforward in my budgeting process. It’s just fewer things to track or to manage. It makes sense for me and my time and to not get overwhelmed by so much information that I am just trying to comprehend for the first time.

One of the biggest mistakes I make and guilty of so many times this year is mindlessly spending without keeping track of where my dollars are going. I know that this isn’t the most fun topic or the most fun task to think about but tracking my spending is essential. Not only does it open my eyes to my behavior with money but it gives me a small moment to check in to see if it aligns with my intention.

I do weekly check-ins. I look at all of the numbers and ask myself does it align with my goals and my value. If not, I ask what I can do for next week and really understand why I didn’t meet these goals. Keep things simple when doing this type of check-in and have it fit your daily flow. I do it Monday morning. I make coffee, I sit down, and I log into all of my accounts. I track my spending and then I double check all the balances on my accounts.

There are things you can do if you’re unhappy with what is happening to your accounts and cash flow. It helps me stay focus by taking small steps and trying to figure out what my goal is for the following week. I find I am slowly changing my mindset from I am “ok” to know precisely what I need to know about my finance and it feels good to see the progress that aligns with what I really want.

One of my favorite things about personal finance is that it’s personalized to you, so everyone’s numbers and decisions are going to look different. There is no judgment in that it’s just figuring out what makes you happiest what you’re okay with spending money on and then getting rid of everything else.

The things I spend money on I try to make sure those expenditures align with my values. The biggest question I ask myself and my final tip is before you make a purchase or pay off a bill, ask when or not it is worth your time to invest. After my basic needs are met, time is the most valuable resource.

I keep this question as a fundamental practice when making any decisions of spending. “Do I actually want to spend money on this item and it is worth my time to pay it off? “

I hope this makes some kind of sense to you. Again, I am new to understanding money, so if you have any advice, please share. I would love for all of us to pay down debt and live a more fruitful life in 2019.

Happy New Years!

#budget #debt #debtfreecommunity #finance #financialfreedom #help #livingsimple #minimalism #Money #moneyhacks #money savings #moneytips #personalfinance