Getting started with minimalism or a minimalist lifestyle might seem challenging. Don't get overwhelmed. You don't have to sell all your furniture and live in a tiny house (unless you want to)! Here are five easy ways to get started on consuming less and having more cash on hand to travel.
1. Click Unsubscribe Pop an IPA out of the fridge or brew up a cup of coffee and settle in - this one could take up to an hour depending on how subscribe-happy you are. Open your email inbox and take a good hard look at where your emails are coming from. Unsubscribe from all online webstores (i.e. clothing companies, iTunes, eBay, Groupon). You may be asking, "But what about all the great deals they send?" If you don't need it, it isn't a deal. You'll save money if you only webshop for what you actually want to buy - and the deals will always be out there. No unsubscribe button? Mark as spam.
2. Invest in Meal Prep Containers Eating out can be pretty hard on your budget, and work-day lunch is the the worst offender. Eating a fast food lunch or picking up Starbucks in the morning just three times a week can easily cost you $100-$150 a month (annually that's a 14 day trip to Spain & Morocco). Making all your lunches over the weekend makes it easy to eat on a budget. From tacos to pasta dishes, there is a container for that. Meal Prep Haven has an excellent selection of one, two or three compartment containers. Looking for meal prep ideas? Pinterest has millions, literally.
3. Go Neutral
Whether you are a fashion fanatic or are only passionate about pajamas, neutrals can seriously boost your wardrobe flexibility. Instead of buying new pants to match a new jacket to match new shoes - you can save money and space in your closet by sticking to neutrals and a color scheme for your basic wardrobe (or your only items if you are creating a capsule wardrobe). Personally, my capsule wardrobe contains six colors: black, gray, navy, red, teal and burnt orange. Most pieces are in the neutral colors with a pop from camis, cardigans, belts and shoes.
4. The Box Challenge
This is a popular minimalist trick for getting rid of the clutter in your home. It is also great for beginners because you don't have to actually get rid of anything - at first. Grab two large storage boxes. Label one for re-sale and one for donation. Sort through old books, records, clothing, kitchen drawers and electronics. Fill the donations box with all the items that you wouldn't be able to sell, but aren't damaged. No one, I repeat no one wants your ski jacket with the giant tear in it, no matter how much it originally cost you. Throw that out. Fill the other box with the electronics, books purses and records that are still in great re-sale condition. Tape up both and leave them in storage for 30-60 days. If you can't remember what went into the boxes or didn't miss them, get selling and donating! Give your once loved items a second chance.
5. Buy Online & Pick-Up in Store
Ever stop into Target for one thing and end up spending two hours wandering the aisles? The better question would probably be, have you ever not done that? One of my favorite minimalism money saving hacks is to buy what you need online, and then pick up in-store. Most big box retailers offer this service for non-perishable items. Need dogfood? Petsmart has you covered. Need light bulbs and an automatic timer for your lamp? Walmart can have that ready and waiting for you. No browsing, no impulse buys and no overspending. The best part is, most travel and rewards credit cards offer bonus points for shopping online through retailers. I earn 3 miles per $1 with Southwest every time I need cat litter.