My Name is Jon and I am a Minimalist

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The following is a guest post from Jon the Saver, founder of Free Money Wisdom, a personal finance blog dedicated to helping the masses ignore CNBC and retire a millionaire.  Jon has recently come out with a simple 7 day e-course “Retire a Millionaire” that has helped countless people get started on the path to financial freedom.  Come join the conversation!

Minimalism.  It seems like it’s a very trendy topic these days.  More and more I’ve seen families downsizing, and even celebrities buying smaller, more space efficient condos.  To some extent, the economy has had an impact on this phenomenon, but I think it comes down to people changing their life habits.

I think people are starting to realize how much stress all their extra “stuff” adds to their life.  Take boats for example.  Yes, owning a boat seems cool but there are so many hidden costs and paperwork that suck your time!  A co-worker of mine recently purchased one and now he regrets it.  He talks about the countless headaches and maintenance on the boat’s engine.  No thanks, I’ll just make friends with people who own a boat!

I’m so thankful I don’t have excess toys, a big house, or extra cars.  I like and enjoy living the simple life.  Lately, I have been on a minimalism extravaganza.  I have seen my place clutter and I’ve seen myself lose the fundamental principle of being a minimalist.

So, what have I done?  Well, I embarked on a quest to get rid of stuff I haven’t used in a while or just flat out don’t need.

Cleaned out my closet

This was the tipping point for when I realized I was out of control.  Literally half my closet was full of clothes that I hadn’t worn in months.  Solution?  I took them all to the local clothes drive and gave them away to charity.  I had everything from work boots to old dress shirts to socks with holes in them.  The closet was past due and I did something about it.  Now, my closet is much freer and I can actually see all my clothes!  Another tip would be to sell my belongings and make some cash.  I chose to give to charity but selling for money is a good route too!

Throw away paperwork

As organized as I think I am, I have not be diligent about separating paperwork I’ve received in the mail recently.  I have this one folder that is constantly being stuffed with miscellaneous letter and notices in the mail.  Do I really need to keep these papers?  No, probably not.  I shuffled through all of these papers and boom, no more paperwork.  My desk is clear now and I don’t have any paperwork that I don’t need.  It’s amazing how little room the most important documents take up.

Reduced my number of credit cards

I sat down a couple weeks ago and my wallet was making me uncomfortable!  As it turns out, I have quite the collection of credit cards in my wallet!  I sifted through some of these cards and have decided to cancel a couple.  Since I’m a rewards addict, I’m constantly opening and closing credit cards, but I guess I wasn’t closing enough of them!  Now, I have streamlined my wallet down to two cards, a gas rewards card and my general Chase Freedom card for all other purchases.  I can sit on my wallet again! Ahh, the small things in life…

Avoiding unnecessary purchases

Part of being a minimalist is never spending money on luxuries unless you have a REALLY good reason to.  Recently, this has been with leading up to my marriage in May.  I currently live in a furnished home so I don’t own my bed or kitchen utensils.  I’ve been thinking about buying my own bed and getting my own coffee machine, but what’s the point?  I’m going to get all that stuff as wedding presents anyways.

Another item that I’ve resisted to purchase is wheel refinishing.  I love my 2004 Acura TL but the wheels are bashed from downtown street curbs!  Just the other day, I parked at my gym and I was in a hurry.  I heard a screeching sound and realized I was scraping my wheels against the curb.  Imagine if I had them refinished, I would have hated myself!  So, I will not be getting them refinished because I will probably bash them again in the future.

Are you ready to join this lifestyle?

See, it’s not so bad.  I encourage you to become a minimalist and decrease the amount of “stuff” that you own.  Reduce the clutter in your life and see your stress levels plummet.  Also, start practicing “purchase avoidance” and refuse to buy something unless you really need it.  I know all of you will only take this lifestyle so far, but every little bit helps!  And remember, why own when you can rent?!

Money

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

26 Comments

  1. Jon I am so much like that. I used to have 10credit cards. Now I have just 1. I used to have 3 cars. Now I have 1 for necessity only. I used to have 10 girlfriends. My wife made me marry her and get rid of the other 9.

    The only thing I have more of than I bargained for is the kids. 🙂

    • Jai, I just laughed so hard about the wives comment lol. 10 gfs would be insane! When I did online dating, I think I was talking to three and I was always stressed!

  2. I have been making the a slow but steady transition to live a more minimal lifestyle.There really a freedom in getting rid of things.

    • It’s amazing what happens when you just let go. I encourage people to let go of something just as an exercise. Stuff should not own your life!

  3. I am a minimalist, and it drives my mother (a child of the depression) crazy.

    • Haha I bet! My fiancee thinks I’m crazy! She still cannot believe that all my belongings still fit inside of my Acura TL lol.

  4. I’ve recently had the urge to do this in a major way. Especially with paperwork. My office at works always seems to be neat and tidy and organized, but my home office is a total wreck! Working hard to make this more consistent and make my home life more minimalistic.

    • Keep it up. Yah, I hate messy paperwork, the less there is the easier it is to organize! My place was starting to look like the show Hoarders, it was bad…

  5. I just posted on my last experience with credit cards. Good riddance! Jon, you are spot on here! Remember, stop buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like!

    • Will Smith is the man! Such wisdom from such a rich dude 🙂

  6. I would never refer to myself as a minimalist, but I do live a low profile lifestyle. My townhouse is hardly small (1850 sq. ft.), but I bought it when it was inexpensive (14 yrs ago). I own 2 old cars (17 & 15 yrs. old.), but I plan on replacing them soon. I hope to go to one when I retire.

    • Hey low-profile is the way to go man. You’re doing great a minimalist, maybe downgrade to just one car?

  7. Seems simple, and I agree. We recently bought a foreclosure house after a job change and move – a house that cost a little more than half of our last one! We now should be able to pay it off in 3 to 4 more years!
    The difficulty comes when you do have a large family (5 kids)and attempt to remove the clutter of toys :).

    • I can only imagine the amount of toys you guys have!

  8. Every time I read about minimalism I cheer for the author (and mentally hear Steve Martin saying that all he needs is this paddle ball game”

    • Lol! That’s pretty funny. I could occupy myself with a paddle game for a while… 😉

    • Lol, I just spit my water out.

  9. I was living a true minimalist lifestyle 9 years ago when I lived in the UK for 15 months for work. For 15 months I lived in a tiny hotel room. All I had with me was my clothes and laptop, and you know what, I didn’t miss any of my stuff back here at home. I felt stress free the whole time I was there.

    • That actually sounds pretty awsome! I bet you experienced some great things too!

    • That’s awesome! That’s what I first felt when I moved to San Diego with literally nothing. I lived out of a hotel, it was a liberating experience.

  10. After college, my wife and I lived in France for almost a year on an extremely minimalist style budget. We had a few thousand dollars in our pockets, an unlimited pass to ride the TGV, heavy ass back bags on our shoulder, and no place to go.

    It was freaking awesome.

    • That is awesome! It actually makes me kind of jealous.

  11. My retired husband and myself totally live a minimalist lifestyle and LOVE it! We live in a 1400 sq ft condo and are now spending a month in a 28 ft motorhome with no slides. It’s mostly decorated with thrift store finds. We are parked next to lots of “big rigs” but ours is payed for. We travel with no smart phone or iPad. I call the number on the side of the road for updated traffic and road reports and use old books and an atlas to find campgrounds etc. McDonalds senior coffee and a table work great for free wi-fi to catch up on emails on my used laptop. Couldn’t be happier!

    • That’s awesome Marcia! 1400 is minimalism at its finest! That is a whole nother level with grabbing wifi for free. I’m liking that idea for when I retire. Very creative tips Marcia!

  12. I think it is the best way to be and as I tend to travel around it is exactly how I live. I still don’t think I am a true minimalist though! A true minimalist wouldn’t have an iPhone or even a computer :). Still I am happy with where I am at.

    • You’re doing better than most Forest! My Android sis something I can’t live without now, especially with running a blog. Besides that, I’m a true minimalist!


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