Fifteen years ago, I found my life changed through one conversation with my neighbor. I had spent most of my Saturday morning cleaning the garage, sorting, and organizing things I had accumulated over the years.
After a short session of complaining to my neighbor, she casually said, “Maybe you don’t need to own so much stuff.”
This comment changed my life forever.
Since then, my family and I have let go of 60-70% of our possessions, and I’ve dedicated my life to spreading the word about the life-giving benefits of owning less.
And one of these most appreciated benefits is financial freedom.
When we cut back on non-essential purchases, we not only declutter our homes, but we also declutter our budgets, freeing up money to spend on what truly matters in life.
In fact, according to some studies, the average American can save $24,630/year by becoming a minimalist.
I can attest that most of us waste more money on nonessential purchases than we think. And learning to cut back isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a gift to ourselves.
To get ahead financially, here’s my list of 10 things to stop wasting money on:
1. Oversized Housing
The average American home has nearly tripled in size over the last 50 years.
Not only do larger homes cost more upfront, but they also carry bigger ongoing expenses like utilities, maintenance, and property taxes. Choosing to live in a smaller home that adequately meets your needs can save thousands of dollars each year.
2. Expensive Vehicles
It’s essential to choose a vehicle that is affordable and practical, not just attractive.
3. Eating Out Too Often
It’s no secret that eating out can add up.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the average American household spends about $3,500 a year dining out. By reducing restaurant visits and focusing more on home-cooked meals, a significant amount of money can be saved.
4. Excessive Entertainment
While it’s crucial to have fun and unwind, the costs of attending concerts, sporting events, and similar activities can quickly add up.
The average concert ticket price in America is $108.20. If you attended just one concert every month, that’s over $1,300 spent in a year. And let’s not even begin to consider the cost of refreshments and merchandise at these events.
5. Unnecessary Clothing
The average American family spends about $1,800 on clothes annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, it’s evident that we can make do with much less.
Keeping with ever-changing fashion isn’t worth the price tag.
6. Costly Vacations
Vacations are essential, but they don’t have to break the bank. Considering cheaper alternatives like road trips, camping, or exploring local attractions can save a considerable amount.
7. High-End Gadgets
From the latest smartphones to high-tech appliances, these purchases add up.
Do we need the newest iPhone or the most advanced refrigerator on the market? Often, we’re paying for features we rarely use.
8. Impulsive Purchases
Whether it’s the candy bar at the checkout or the shoes that were on sale, impulse buying can take a toll on our wallets.
Being intentional with our shopping helps us to avoid these unnecessary expenses. Some studies indicate Americans spend $1,400/month on nonessential purchases. Yup, that’s $18,000 per year!
9. Expensive Memberships and Subscriptions
Gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, streaming services – the list goes on.
Evaluate what you really use and need. You might find that a few cancelations won’t impact your life at all, except to grow your savings. The savings may not be huge after one month, but multiplied by 12, year over year, and the savings look significant.
Some gyms in my local area charge $179/month! I pay $10/month.
10. Premium Brand Products
Be it groceries, cleaning supplies, or personal care items, opting for store brands instead of name brands can lead to substantial savings over time.
Let me be quick to point out that I’m not suggesting you give up all the things you love.
The aim of saving money isn’t to sacrifice life for it, but to find freedom because of it.
All freedom is a result of discipline.
By removing these expenses from our lives, we not only save money, we also remove stress, free up time, and find more joy. And isn’t that what life is truly about?
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