There are many ways that being a minimalist family can save you money. Saving money isn’t really the main reason for becoming a minimalist, but it is a nice side effect. I’m sure you’ll come up with more ways that minimalism saves you money, but this is a list of ideas to get you started.
1) Plan menus. Taking the time to plan menus has the benefit of avoiding impulse buying at the store and encouraging you to eat healthier.
2) Give experience gifts. Put some real thought into the next gifts you give and consider an experience gift like tickets to an attraction or the cost of enrollment to a cooking class.
3) Research the free activities in your area. Finding affordable family fun is often challenging. Instead of dropping some serious cash at the movies, check out the local area attractions that often come with a low or non-existent price tag.
4) Cut off cable/get rid of TV. Getting rid of your television is one obvious way to shrink your bills. You can also utilize free options available online.
5) Cancel magazines and other subscriptions. Keeping magazines around the house can tempt you to buy things in the same way TV commercials do. Any kind of subscription can add to your clutter. It systematically brings items into your home that you didn’t have to make a deliberate choice to purchase.
6) Avoid mindless gift giving. Don’t feel the need to buy someone a present just to cross their name off a list. Avoid mindless gift giving throughout the year. Any time you give someone a gift, make sure you put some real thought into it.
7) Make your own cleaning supplies. You can save a ton of money making you own cleaning supplies. Most of the specialty cleaners available today are unnecessary. Many cleaning jobs can be accomplished with some basic vinegar and baking soda.
8) Wash fewer clothes. Less Clothes = Less Laundry = Lower Costs. My kids manage to get all their clothes dirty every week no matter how many clothes are in their wardrobe. By shrinking their wardrobe, and mine as well, we all survive just fine on a smaller amount of clothing, and we also save time and money with less laundry.
9) Wash clothes in cold water. To put in perspective how wasteful hot water is, washing your clothes in hot instead of cold for a year, wastes more electricity than leaving the refrigerator door open 24 hours a day for a year. Even washing your clothes in warm instead of cold wastes that much energy. (Source)
10) Avoid storage costs. Don’t make the same mistake we made and pay to store your excess junk for years at a time. If you don’t have room for it and can survive without it for more than 30 days, then you don’t need it and you probably won’t miss it. Period.
11) Go car-free or car-lite. Getting rid of your car completely saves money on gas, insurance, and maintenance. Even if you aren’t able to give up your car completely, consider cutting back on how often you use it.
12) Consider moving closer to work. Similar to going car-lite, cutting down your commute will increase your savings as well. When we moved in with my family, it cut my husband’s commute in half.
13) Downsize your home. Homes keep getting larger and larger despite the fact that average family size hasn’t changed much and people are out of the house more than ever. It might be time to seriously consider downsizing your home and freeing up the money and time spent paying for it.
14) Cook with fresh foods and from scratch. Cooking with fresh food is definitely better for your health, and it’s also much cheaper to cook from scratch. I believe the enormous fast food industry is a byproduct of everyone staying so busy constantly running around town. Make time in your life to stay home, cook healthy food, and connect with your family.
15) Use leftovers for your lunches. Don’t let your food go to waste. Pack a lunch with the leftovers from dinner. It’s healthier than eating out and the savings really add up. We date our leftovers with small round removable stickers so no one has to wonder what something is and when it was cooked.
16) Don’t spend more than you make. This is a pretty basic money saving tip, but it often gets overlooked. Sticking with a budget and avoiding impulse buying is so important. Once you get in control of your finances, you’ll find you are a lot less stressed.
17) Use coupons but don’t over buy. Coupons only save you money if you use them on items you would already be buying. Don’t buy something you don’t really use or need simply because you have a coupon.
18) Plan cheaper vacations or try staycations. Family vacations do not have to be about spending lots of money going on fancy trips. Keeping the focus on family time makes the destination less important.
19) Plant a garden. Growing food at home can be a fun way to spend some family time together and enjoy reaping the benefits.
20) Use Freecycle and Paperbook Swap. These are a couple of great free ways to share unused items and books. You share with others and they share with you as well. They are also great for declutting your house if you run out of friends and family to give your things to. Just be careful of being attracted to free items you don’t really need.
The truth is, many of the items on this list may have already occurred to you. There are lots of ways that minimalism can save you money. The important thing to remember is that every little way you save will begin to add up.
What are some ways that you’ve discovered you can save money by being a minimalist family?
Please check out my book, Family-Sized Minimalism, if you’re interested in reading more about minimalist living for families. If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for updates or follow me on Google+ orTwitter. Thanks so much for reading!
Article originally published on 10/02/2011