Minimalist Living

Minimalist Living

We’re glad you are here to learn about minimalist living. We both have this goal in common. I am here to provide you with information (tips, applications, resources) that will help you with this life changing endeavor; it is something that I started with about 9 months ago and I remember how hard it can be in the beginning.
Minimalist living, in simplest terms, is to live with as less as possible, mentally and physically until you achieve peace of mind. The concept is simple but achieving it is hard. Just look at the desk you are sitting on: how many items does it contain? Is your desk surrounded by papers, notebooks, books, pens and pencils?

What about your closets, living rooms and bedrooms? How much joy does all this clutter bring you? What clutters you physically also disables you mentally.

While I am no expert at living minimally, it is something that I practice. I know how it is when I started so I realize where you are coming from. Please understand that minimalist living is a process that will free you of the excess baggage that nothing else can bring.

What should be your first step? Get rid of excess. Go through your closets and pick out all the things that you don’t need any more. Donate all clothes to a charity of choice. I promise you, this might seem tiring but at the end of it all, you will feel ecstatic for not only helping yourself, but helping others. I will be writing about how to make this process a bit easier.

What was once considered ‘cheap’ (with a negative connotation) is now expressed as ‘minimal’ and ‘smart’ thanks to this economy. If you are curious about what minimalist living is all about, welcome to this website and I hope you’ll stick around!

With that said…

Minimalist Living Isn’t For Everyone!

This lifestyle isn’t for everyone so if this isn’t you, then don’t feel bad. Many people try to be something they’re not–this is never a healthy thing for your mind so do what is true for you and what will benefit you.

However, if you’re here then obviously you were searching for this topic. Have a look around!

You Don’t Need Books to Enjoy a Minimalist Living
It’s true. I think most people know the concept of this lifestyle is easy and most people should be able to achieve it.

But here’s the problem: most people lack motivation. Usually it’s when they get inspired that they take action. This kind of action can seem mentally taxing and the pay-off seems too far away.

It’s for those reasons giving things away was a struggle the first four months. Confession: I still have small moments but I’m enjoying my life immensely and love the freedom it grants me.

Accelerated Debt Snowball for the Minimalist Lifestyle

Debt Free.  It sounds great, doesn’t it?

Being part of minimalist living is recognizing that debt really cramps your style – minimalism style.  You need to be debt-free.  Get rid of debt!

One way to get out of debt and a distinct variation that I personally used is what is known as an accelerated debt snowball.

Your accelerated debt snowball is a type of self managed debt relief,  a method to finally get rid of your financial troubles.  Yes, it’s possible and you can almost certainly do it, however much your debt.

The first thing to do is accept that your debt is not going to disappear overnight.  It probably took several years to mount up and it’ll certainly take months, perhaps years, to operate it off.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Forget about winning the lottery.  If you want to get out of debt you have to develop patience and determination.  You also have to prevent using your credit cards.

Next,  figure out just how much you have to spend.  Take a look at methods to decrease your expenses as much as possible, which in turn, increases your income allowing you to have enough to live on,  pay your essential bills and make the minimum monthly payments due.  Cut out any repeat billings that aren’t strictly necessary,  like gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, daily $4 Starbucks coffee and any additional “luxuries” that you realistically can live without.   Make it a point to lower ALL of your expenses.  Get your monthly “nut to crack” down as minimal as possible!

Figure out how much you saved by lowering your expenses and use this as your accelerator margin.  For example, if you were able to cut down an extra $100 a month (c’mon – it is only $25 a week), then your accelerator margin is $100.

Then, with your new accelerator margin and if you can find anything else extra, start to save.  Before you can operate the accelerated debt snowball you should have minimum savings of $500 for a single person or $1000 for a couple or family.  This cash is for emergencies – not food or rent, you have to cover those from your income,  but for example to repair your car if it breaks down.  Like most, you definitely need your car for work to earn income.

The main reason you need this sum of savings is so when an urgent situation occurs,  you won’t borrow or use of the money that you’ll require for your monthly obligations.

After this,  you can start the accelerated debt snowball.  Make a list of ALL of the debts to your name, large and small.  Include everything, even $5 that you simply borrowed from a friend they never expected you to repay.  Arrange the list so as to how much you owe, lowest first (the total debt for each one, not the monthly payment).   Make sure to list it in this order.  You should finish up having a list that starts maybe with the absolute lowest amount first  and then ending with your home mortgage or whatever is your biggest loan/debt.

Now you will require the accelerator margin and ALL of the spare money you have each month, also known as discretionary income.  This is the money that you simply were putting toward your savings before started the snowball and begin to repay those debts, beginning with the absolute smallest on the list.  Again, start with the smallest amount of debt FIRST.

Many people will try to start with the highest interest rate debt first.  In theory, this makes sense, but it does not work in practice because, as a general rule, people are not motivated by merely saving a little bit in interest charges.  We are more motivated by a sense of achievement.  This is exactly what we get that whenever we can cross one debt off our list and move to the next.

As you pay off one debt, take the accelerator margin, along with what the minimum payment of that debt was – and add the whole thing to the next debt.  So, if one card you had a minimum payment of $100 plus your $100 accelerator margin, you were paying a total of $200 to that card each month.  Once it is paid off, move to the next credit card’s minimum payment PLUS that other $200 that you were paying on the other card.  This is where it becomes a SNOWBALL.

Paying off the smaller debts first and working your way through the subsequent debts shows that you can do this.  Paying off your friend that loaned you a small amount that you keep putting off repaying is rewarding too because they will appreciate the repayment.  Heck, they probably never thought they would see the money again.  What a surprise.  The result of the accelerated debt snowball is to keep you consistently motivated to maintain paying off your debts one by one and having you receive the great feeling of achievement.

To maximize the sensation,  make sure to “treat yourself”  if you pay off a debt.  Don’t allow this treat to be too costly of course, but do something that you will really enjoy.  Maybe this is going to the new movie you have been wanting to see or something similar.  If you are married and/or have a family, the treat should be for all of you.  Make eliminating debt an entire family experience.   You all need to be in this together for it to work.

Once you experience the positive feeling of what it is like paying down the initial few debts, you really will never wish to return to having more debt.  As they say, “once you pay off the debt, you will never regret!” (Actually, I just made this up – LoL).  That’s the reason it’s known as the accelerated debt snowball – you successfully start it  and it takes off rolling under its momentum.

Use the accelerated debt snowball to get yourself the very best kind of debt relief.  Be debt-free the minimalist way.  Become debt free to ensure a minimalist lifestyle.

Less is Positively MORE!™

Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalist Lifestyle.  What is it?

A great question that has many different answers in the Minimalist world.  As a general rule, it is scaling down and minimizing your life.  This can be MANY different things to a number of different people.

Minimalist Living, as some may call it, can be anything from the visual appearance of a streamlined living space with an arrangement of minimal furniture, no clutter and/or merely a simple approach with your lifestyle.

The minimalist lifestyle to me is a way of life that doesn’t require the big fancy house, shiny sports cars and “keeping up with the Joneses”.  In fact, I could care less about what Mr. and Mrs Jones have anyway.  I bet they are riddled with debt.  No thanks.

A big part of my simpler life was getting rid of the mindset that I need to have the BMW (although I love the 80’s models of the 6-series), big house and designer clothes to impress my friends.  As a matter of fact, along with the Joneses, almost everyone that I know that looks like a million bucks owns virtually nothing to their names (financed to the max) and have minimum credit card payments that they can barely make (high interest).  Some even personally lease their cars to have a low payment.  Leasing a car is worse than renting one – they are still responsible for all repairs and more than likely when the lease is up, they will have to pay more for the mileage overage to even be able to just give it back and walk away with nothing.  How financially smart is that?

Now, don’t get me wrong…I dress nice (not name brand) and drive a decent car (10 years old but near perfect).  I wear Italian suits ($40 – $120 each – I will share sources) for my profession, but I do not “break the bank” to live this way.  As a matter of fact, when I lost my job in 2009 (11 years with the company), I continued living very well!  Everyone was yelling about how bad the economy was (and still is).  How bad the job market was…along with everything else.

What it came down to is that although THE economy was horrible, MY economy was excellent!  Even after losing my 6-figure job.

Most people live paycheck to paycheck.  Most are two paychecks away from complete financial disaster!  I was once at that point and was so overwhelmed with debt that I was not only swimming, I was drowning in it.

When I grew up in upper middle class America in a well-to-do suburb, I felt that I needed to perpetuate this lifestyle and keep the image of success.  My parents originally moved to this area because the school district was excellent.  It was and still is the #1 public school district in Ohio.  Yes, it was “public”, but you had to pay the outrageously high property taxes there to be part of this “public” school district.  Even though we were situated in the middle of a somewhat larger metropolitan city, our village had it’s own police, fire and sanitation departments.  We had our own village council and even our own public dump site.  Others within the larger city could not use any of these unless if you were a taxpayer of the village that was within the city limits of the larger area.  I know, sounds weird, but that was the way it was.

My battle came in my late 20s when I moved to Chicago.  My credit cards were maxed out and I couldn’t even keep up with the minimum payments.  My debt, due to the 25.7% interest rate, accumulated to about $40,000.  The job that I took in Chicago paid me exactly that as my yearly salary.  Living in Chicago certainly isn’t cheap.  Basically, I was screwed.  I even considered bankruptcy.  Luckily, within a few years, I was able to completely get out of it.  I did not do this by keeping up with the Joneses.  In future posts, I will go through everything that I did to do this.

The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with the minimalist lifestyle to help others get out of debt, eliminate the depressing clutter, along with anything else that I can share that may possibly improve the lives of others.

Please come back often and allow me to share this with you.  I consider myself to be a “Go-Giver” and my approach with a lot of things in my life is to help those around me, in turn helps me help myself.

Less is Positively MORE!™