Can A Minimalist Lifestyle Help With Becoming Debt Free?

Minimalist Living to Become Debt Free

How can we adopt minimalist living and become debt free? Being a minimalist does not mean you should live in an empty house. It means living in a home that has all the essentials, but it is free of un-required items.  A minimalist simple living is one of many ways to get out of debt fast.

By adopting a minimalist way of life, you are getting rid of the need to buy all the unnecessary clutter that is out in the market and only sticking to the good stuff. 

You can use a minimalist lifestyle to become debt free quicker than you think. By using money saved from living as a minimalist, you can pay off most of your loans and live a debt free life in the long run.

So How Do You Implement a Minimalist Lifestyle to Become Debt Free?

Wanting to become debt free is a dream come true for anyone who has ever struggled with paying off a loan. People find it difficult to understand why their debts spiral out of control when they are earning well.  

They may be making a lot of money, but chances are, they are spending more than they earn.  Therefore, the first thing to do is to establish a minimalist mind-set which will eliminate the desire to constantly shop.  

The tips below will put you on the right track if you are serious about adapting a minimalist way of living to become debt free.  Minimalism is one of the easiest ways to save money because you will keep away from the temptation of shopping.

With the money you save, you can create a strategy to get out of debt quicker. Use the money to make extra payments on your loans.

Related article: 5 Frugal Living Tips to Save Money

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Meal Plan for Minimalist Living

Every money saving blogger talks about adopting a meal plan to save money.  They are right! Having a meal plan will reduce your food waste as well as your shopping bill.  Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money at home. Nowadays, there are excellent recipe ideas online which you can access at any time of the day.   

Planning your meals will save you more money than you think. Using sites like Yummly are a great resource for recipes, as well as, portion control and ingredients needed. 

When planning your meals, the trick is to find recipes that have similar ingredients so that you are not buying too many ‘one off’ ingredients.  For example if you find a good stir fry recipe requiring mushrooms, peppers and broccoli, then make sure you make another meal in the same week which also requires the same ingredients, such as lasagne or pasta.

Meal Planning to reduce cost and waste

Meal planning in this manner has 2 benefits: one, it cuts your food bill in half, and two, it will also reduce food wastage.  Food waste is one of the biggest environmental culprits. 

Not only does rotting food produce greenhouse gases in landfills, food production needs a lot of water, land, chemicals and energy to get from the farm to our home.   

 The Shopping Trip

Always set a shopping budget and make a list before you set out for your groceries. Shopping planners are an easy way of controlling your grocery bills to save money fast. Be sure to stick to your budget.  When it comes to saving money, your food shopping habits can make or break the bank. 

I created a weekly shopping planner because it visually helps me see what I am buying week by week. On the same sheet, I also track how much I spend every week so that I can reduce my overall spending by the end of the month.

Frugal Living Printable Planners
Frugal Living Printable Planners

If you visit a store without a list or a budget in mind, you are more likely to pick up unnecessary items.  This in turn increases your shopping bill.  However, by sticking to your budget and your list, you will save a lot of money which can be used towards paying your outstanding loan. 

Secondly, shop around for ingredients at local stores.  You may need to visit a couple of shops to get the best prices, but it’s worth the effort – just make sure the stores are nearby or else you will end up spending the money saved from ingredients on your petrol bill.

Related Article: 6 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money

Debt Free Hack – Start a Maintenance Budget

Instead of spending money on unnecessary items, start a home maintenance budget. Most people do not put money aside for last minute expenditures. It is often the unexpected expenses, such as breakdown of a car or home repairs that can cause us to fall back into debt. 

You do not have to keep aside £100s, simply start with a budget of as little as £25 a month. Increase this maintenance budget once you have more to spare.

In my home, for example, we call it the ‘forward maintenance plan’.  Every month I put aside a small amount in case I need to cover repairs to the home. Therefore, instead of spending the money on unwanted items, it is kept aside for those rainy days, which helps us keep away from loans; yet another benefit to minimalist living.

Minimalism Hacks To Become Debt Free

Did you know that you can save £100s if you sign up to the right cashback sites?

Signing up to apps such as Quidco will earn you money when you purchase via Quidco.

To receive your first cashback bonus from Quidco, use the referral link below to sign up to their site. Once you start using their site to make purchases, you’ll see the money quickly adding up.

If interested, click on my Quidco Referral link to sign up and earn your initial bonus.

Frugal Living Planner
Try Out a Shopping List Planner from Frugal Living Planner

Track Your Spending to become Debt Free

You will not know where your money is going unless you start to track it.  The simplest way to track your spending is by setting up a simple budget sheet. 

Start your budget with the money coming in, such as your salary, benefits, universal credit, tax credits etc.  Then write down the list of essential spending, followed by semi essentials and then your non-essentials.  Examples are:

  • Essential spending:  mortgage or rent, council tax, utility bills, car payments etc.
  • Semi essentials are items that you need, but you can control, such as your groceries, mobile, tv and internet packages etc.  
  • Non essential spending: a new pair of shoes, a handbag, a trip to the movies, take away etc.

Every time you pay for something, write it down.  By listing your incoming and outgoing expenses, you can start to look at where you are frivolously spending and then start to reduce them. The money you save from tracking and reducing your expenses will help you pay off your loan quicker. 

Related article: 5 Frugal Living Tips to Save Money

Earn while you Spend

If you have not already done so, apply for points cards, such as, Nectar or Tesco club card – you will earn points on your everyday grocery and fuel bill. The points you earn here can be spent towards future groceries. Although you only earn pennies at a time, if you are patient, the pennies turn into pounds.

Savings made using Quidco
Cash back savings made using Quidco

Another good way of earning pennies is doing surveys. You can make a decent amount of money by completing surveys for companies such as Swagbucks and Crowdology. These companies will pay by cash or vouchers. The vouchers can be used to buy items whilst the cash can go towards your loans.

Reminder: Did you know that you can save £100s if you sign up to the right cashback sites?

Signing up to apps such as Quidco will earn you money when you purchase via Quidco.

To receive your first cashback bonus from Quidco, use the referral link below to sign up to their site. Once you start using their site to make purchases, you’ll see the money quickly adding up.

If interested, click on my Quidco Referral link to sign up and earn your initial bonus.

Consolidate your Credit Card Loans and Minimise Expenses

Whilst the next sections are not directly related to minimalism, you should have a plan to pay off your debts. Use the money you save from a minimalist way of life to get you started. Below are tips on how to consolidate and pay loans to become debt free as quickly as possible.

With the money you save from the new minimalist way of living, you can create a debt reduction program to start paying off loans.

Balance Transfer Credit Card Loans

Consider 0% balance transfer options. If you can, move your credit card debts to a 0% balance transfer. Not only will all your small debts be paid off on one platform, you will also save a heck of a lot of money from the interest free rate. You must make sure you pay off the debt within the free 0% transfer period. 

You can read more about 0% balance transfer in 5 Frugal Living Tips to Save Money

Refrain from buying unnecessarily to ensure that all of your money is dedicated to paying your loan whilst you are in the 0% balance transfer period. 

Tightening your spending belt and being frugal for a while will get you out of debt quicker.

Adopt the Debt Snowball Method to Clear Your Debt

I was not aware of the debt snowball method until I heard about Dave Ramsey, a financial guru who has helped millions to pay off their debts.

The debt snowball effect means that you pay your smallest loans first and then pay off the bigger ones with the money saved once the smaller ones are out of the way.  Dave’s book called the Complete Guide to Money is a great read for all things financial.

For example, if you have a loan of £200, £1500 and £7000, then pay off the £200 first.  If you can pay the £200 at once, then do so.  Once it has been paid, use the money you have saved by paying off the £200 to top up the payment for the next loan on your list and so on.  Continue to work down your list until you have paid them all.

Whilst you are paying off the loans on your list, make sure that you still make the minimum payments for the other loans. The last thing you want is missed a payment that will lead to problems with lenders.  

One thing to note: you must not incur any additional debt whilst you are paying off the current loans. If you do, then you will be back to square one. This is where having a minimalist mind-set and a budget comes in handy. You can track your expenses as well as your payments and plan upcoming expenses to save and adjust your payments accordingly.

For example if you know your car insurance is due in six months, then start putting aside a certain amount every month so that you have most of the premium covered by the time it comes up for renewal. 

Finally

Adopting a minimalist way of life to become debt free is great news for your hard-earned money and also for the environment.  Instead of always being in debt and paying towards spiralling loans, you are more likely to have it in your bank.  Which means, when you want to splash on a new car, a luxury holiday or refurbish your old kitchen, you can do so without getting into more debt.

Therefore, think about sticking to a minimalist lifestyle to help you achieve a debt free life for as long as possible.

Save Money while Saving the Planet

If you want to receive last minutes offers and deals that I come across to help you save money whilst maintaining a minimalist lifestyle, please join our Save with Smart Money Green Planet Facebook Group.  It is a brand new group to help you save money whilst on your journey to natural and eco-friendly living.

*Information and prices correct at time of post publication. Please refer to Quidco‘s site for terms and conditions.