“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
The other day I got a note from one of my favorite minimalist bloggers out there – J. Becker from Becoming Minimalist. I was hoping it was a request to grab lunch or a beer, but it turned out to be the next best thing – an intro to a reporter looking for local minimalists to do a story on :)
Now upon reading this my impostor syndrome immediately kicked in as I very much still consider myself a minimalist “in training” (my first thought of meeting with this reporter was actually “OMG, don’t come into my house!”) but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how far I’d come since first blogging about this movement some 7 – long -years ago.
In fact, this doodle I created back then ended up becoming my new mantra for how I now think of things:
In the years since I’ve unloaded more than 75% of my things (including our house), become much more engaged with those around me (by putting away my phone and ignoring the news/media), steered my spending towards that which is important vs that which is not, and probably most important of all – figured out what I actually *want* out of life more: more life :)
I also realized that minimalism is much more of a mindset than anything else, and can be easily applied towards all aspects of living. Particularly, with our finances. Which is actually the whole point of this article that’s now taken me 6 paragraphs to get to! (Turns out I still need to work on my minimalist writing, d’oh.)
If you’re looking to simplify your finances more, here are 8 ways to do so:
- Keep one main checking account (to pay all your bills with)
- Keep one main savings account (to be used for goals/emergency funds/shortages)
- Use one main credit card (sorry travel hackers!)
- Choose one main institution for investments (not always possible with employer-tied accounts)
- Track one main number to gauge your financial success (I use the net worth model)
- Cancel all subscriptions to store emails/coupons/etc
- Harness the power of automation (for savings/investments/debt payoff)
- And lastly, remember what the point of it all is: freedom!
Freedom from stress, freedom from using up unneeded bandwidth, freedom from over complication, and the ultimate level of all freedomness: financial freedom!
Some of these come with their own sets of trade offs (fewer credit card rewards, fewer coupons, less separation of savings goals) but in the handful of years I’ve set my own system up like this, I can’t tell you how much easier – and quicker! – it’s been in managing my money. Everything’s condensed into one main section outside of a few experiments going on (Acorns, Digit, Challenge Everything), and it’s amazing how much clearer it is knowing where all your money is at any given point in time.
This is what minimalism gets you when applied to money: clarity!
And it’s a beautiful thing.
So if you’re tired of always being scatterbrained or feel like your money’s gotten way too complicated over the years, try giving a few of these a shot and see if it makes a difference. It’s always an evolution!
And if you’re looking for more inspiration, here are a few of my favorite blogs on minimalism. They rarely talk about money directly, but again it’s amazing how many aspects it infiltrates when you really stop to apply things. Less is usually more!
Hope this helps!
PS: If you’re wondering if the reporter ever made it into my home, the answer is no :) Though I did share my financial house with her! (Bah dum ching)
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|