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One thing that I’ve noticed as I make my way down the minimalist lifestyle, is that my finances have improved month after month after month. My goal is to be fully debt free within a few years and this includes my current home that I live in. I don’t know how many times I have thought to myself am I spending my money wisely to get to the place where I want to be financially?
If you’re younger, this is the perfect time for you to start thinking about where you are spending your money. For me in my 50’s with a business that is less than a few years old, it’s a little more challenging. Let’s take a quick look at me versus my 24 year old daughter:
Me: Have numerous rental properties and currently reside in a house that has a mortgage. Numerous property taxes, homeowners insurance and maintenance for all the properties.
My Daughter: No mortgage. Rents monthly. This means no property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance.
Me: Husband has a car payment on his car and I have a car payment on my truck. Both purchased before I started my minimalist lifestyle.
My Daughter: No car payments. Owns her car.
Me: Live in the country in a very rural area BUT I work from home so transportation costs are minimal.
My Daughter: Lives in the city but works in a place she drives back and forth to on a daily basis.
Just looking at these few bullet points, you can see where my daughter is leaps and bounds ahead of me as far as being financially free. She lives well below what she earns monthly and even though she does drive to work, she moved within 10 minutes of where the company is located effectively reducing her commute by 25 minutes.
Although I am self-employed and living in the country, my finances are not nearly as clean as her finances are. She’s basically living debt free where I am paying for 2 car payments and several properties. Most of the properties are rentals so they are in the black as far as cash flow but these properties will not be paid in full for 5 to 10 more years.
Stopping there – in 10 years I will be 60 years old. I do not want to be in the place of still paying on a mortgage when I’m 60 years old and envy the position my daughter is in. She has more expendable cash flow to provide to the charities she supports along with pursuing her passion of travel. Her goal is travel to as many places as possible with just a backpack on her back.
After taking stock of where I am financially, I found that I bought into the “success lifestyle perception” of bigger house, new cars, new clothes, and on and on and on. If I just would have stayed in the original house my husband and I purchased 29 years ago, it would be paid in full. Imagine. MY HOUSE WOULD BE PAID IN FULL. The monthly mortgages that I pay now would be a figment of someone else’s imagination – or should I say nightmare?
So what have I learned since I started my journey down the minimalist lifestyle path? Those designer shoes I had to have? Don’t even know when I got rid of them. The truck payment I have to pay every month? Kicking myself in the behind because my previous truck was just fine – AND paid in full. All the mortgage payments I write out the first of the month? Should have taken the truck payment and paid double on them until all the properties were all paid in full. The car payment? Stops me from donating the amount of money I want to the charities I support.
Now my passion is to be debt free as quickly as possible. That means every single time I stop to buy ANYTHING including an apple, I ask myself am I spending my money wisely? Is it working? It absolutely is. I am now on track to have everything paid off in 5 years.
Before you purchase anything, ask yourself if it aligns with your personal philosophy and goals. If it doesn’t? Don’t buy it. This could be life changing for you. It has been for me and just look at where my 24 year old daughter is today.
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).