Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines minimalism as “a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.”
Living on the Cheap readers don’t have to scrimp to use many of the same techniques and start living within their means.
1. Be purposeful in your purchases
Although extreme couponers have taken savings to a unique level, it’s not the right choice for all of us.
I live alone, and I don’t always make use of the “buy one quart of yogurt get one free” offers.
Thinking like a minimalist does not mean we have to be cheapskates or live without the necessities.
Simplicity can mean taking only what we need and reducing the waste.
2. One might be enough
Take a look at that collection of monkey statues. Which one do you love the most?
You will probably choose the first one — the one your partner won for you at the fair, or the little chalkware chimp that belonged to your grandmother.
If the collection grew out of an emotional attachment, consider paring down to the original item. Read our article on getting rid of clutter for tips, then put the rest up for sale on eBay or place them in a consignment shop.
That leads to the next point.
3. Get rid of emotional attachments to possessions
You still have your first car under a tarp in the garage, and you keep it licensed and in original condition.
You have a jewelry box full of earrings and watches, and can tell someone the story of how you acquired each one.
Ask yourself if these possessions feed your ego or your future.
How often do you look at your watch, or wear those fancy earrings?
Purge the jewelry and use the profits to trim those credit card bills. Sell the car and save on insurance and gas costs.
4. Appreciate what you have
So often we are caught up in having the newest cellphone model or driving the classiest car. But appreciating what we have now is the first step to attaining happiness.
What a gift it is to have a cellphone at all; more importantly, to have loved ones to call and with whom to share our lives.
My television is one of the old bulky varieties, and my $10 flip cellphone doesn’t need expensive insurance. If it breaks, I can afford to buy a replacement.
Remember the “buy one yogurt get one free” offer? Perhaps the food bank could use the second one, or that elderly neighbor on a pension might appreciate that extra quart.
Share the deal with someone else and double the good feeling.
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