It way seem a little weird that I am writing about how to spend money. After all, no one needs to be told how to spend. You just go out, find something you want or need and buy it. But when you live a minimalist lifestyle, your excess consumption of “stuff” goes down and you may find that the money you aren’t spending any more is burning a hole in your pocket. So how do you spend this “new-found wealth”?
- Save it: One of the best ways to help yourself out with becoming a minimalist is by saving your money. Instead of spending it, put it into assets that keep value and can be useful later on. I wouldn’t actually advise putting any of it in a savings account because the interest rates are so low today that you would have to wait years and years to see any substantial interest accumulation. Instead, put the money into things that don’t lose value such as gold and silver. Or if you can afford to wait a little longer, try and find a 5-10 year CD with a high interest rate.
- Budget: another way to use your money is to budget it for specific things you want. Every month take some money from your paycheck and put it into a safe place (account, envelope, sock drawer, etc). dedicate that money towards a certain item or thing that you want or need. Some examples would be a vacation, a new computer/tv, new tires for the car, Christmas gifts, jewelry for your significant other, etc. This way you will be removing the temptation to immediately spend your money and will be planning ahead for purchases you know you will need.
- Give: There are many ways to give of your resources. Money is easy to give as you simply have to write a check or drop a bill into a box. Consider making giving of your money a habit. We all know people who are worse off than us. Why not buy dinner for the widow down the street? Or donate supplies to a community project? Organizations like your church, soup kitchens, summer camps, etc all need money to function. By supporting these institutions you are helping build a stronger community. If you wanted to take a bit of a risk (although not that much more) you could consider using a website like Kiva to loan small sums of money to entrepreneurs in other countries.
- Spending Responsibly: When you do spend money on things you need or want consider where that money is going. Is what your buying made in China? Is it of a high quality? Does your patronage of certain stores support policies or beliefs that you don’t agree with. By researching a little bit into what you buy you can make better choices. Consider buying food from local co-ops and farmers markets when you can. Patronize small or locally owned businesses rather than big box stores. You may end up paying a little bit more, but you will find that it pays to support local business.
As you can see, there are ways to spend your money while still following a minimalist train of thought. The main point is to avoid excess consumerism and unneeded purchases and instead put your money where your mouth, mind, and heart are.