How to Become Minimalist and Save Significant Money

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. Read our disclosure to see how we make money.

Becoming a minimalist can be a challenge in a consumerist culture, but it can be done. I show how to save big money by getting rid of clutter in your life.

When I was young, I was definitely not a minimalist. I had tons of shoes, clothes, makeup, and purses, and I was always adding to the pile. While many of the things I purchased were on sale or from thrift stores, it didn’t stop me from bringing new-to-me items home all the time.

It wasn’t until I moved out of the country and lived in the Caribbean for three years that I finally broke the habit.

Minimalism is Beautiful


When I moved to the Caribbean, I experienced what it was like to be truly happy. For most people, it’s something they search for for a very long time; however, there I was in a beautiful place in the tiniest apartment with hardly any material possessions and I felt great joy. It was then and there that I realized that although I liked having nice, pretty things, they weren’t adding to my happiness.

Everyone says that “things” don’t make you happy but I didn’t believe it until I stripped my life of all material possessions and lived in a developing country, for three solid years.

Lasting Effects


My experience living abroad had lasting effects. I came home and couldn’t even visit a mall. It was far too overwhelming and overpowering for my senses. I finally understood what it meant to not want anything at all. After all, I really do have everything I need. We all do.

How to Become Minimalist


The best way to become a minimalist and save significant money is to stop buying things. Yes, it really is that simple! Stop going to the mall on the weekends. Stop surfing the sales online. Drive on by the yard sale without giving it a second glance. Yes, you can find good deals everywhere, but what’s the joy in that when all it does is clutter up your house and your life?

In addition to not buying things, it’s also good to donate or sell the possessions you no longer want or need.

This can be hard to do, especially if you paid good money for something, but once it’s gone, you’ll hardly notice it. I just gave away a ton of clothes and an entire bag of baby toys and already my home feels lighter and fresher. Not only that, but every time I clear out an area, it makes me want to start on another one.

It’s a Process


Becoming a minimalist is definitely a process. It takes time and baby steps to get there. It’s also just a mindset where you’re not enticed by everything the world has to offer and you’re content to just be as you are in your own home without all the extras.

The Bottom Line


There are many ways that I practice minimalism. I consider myself a minimalist parent. The only time I’ve purchased toys for my kids was last Christmas, and they each got one or two to share. And, when people give us toys or give us hand me downs, I don’t always keep everything just because it was free. I also don’t have a TV in my home and haven’t for the last four years. As far as new clothing, I only buy it when there is actually a need. I don’t shop just for the sake of shopping.

Ultimately, striving for minimalism in my life has altered my mindset and made me more peaceful and content with my surroundings. I’d highly encourage anyone to do the same if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of things in your home.


Are you a minimalist or do you want to become one? What are some other benefits to minimalism, in your opinion, than saving money? What area of your home could stand a good summer cleaning? Have you ever lived abroad in a developing country? If so, what did you learn from your experience?

The following two tabs change content below.
Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • Robin says:

    Minimalism has become so addictive to me in the last few months. I’m loving how it makes me feel and how it makes my house look.

  • Rebecca@TheFamilyFinder.Net says:

    One of the benefits as we declutter our lives is additional time. Stuff really takes time. One of the areas we struggle to declutter is tools.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    I consider myself to be one. Maybe a Junior Minimalist. I’ve always hated clutter so that wasn’t a huge issue, but I did buy stuff I didn’t need or to fill a need that was based on emotion. Freeing myself up from unwanted things has opened up space in my apt and it feels freeing. I also can rent my garage out because I don’t need to use it for myself, so I earn income from being a minimalist.

  • Thomas @ i need money ASAP! says:

    Minimalism is great. But you don’t need to be a hard core minimalist to enjoy the benefits of minimalism. I apply some of the ideas/principles to my life. I would say I have more stuff than a hard core minimalist but way less than the average person. Even if you’re not at the extreme there is still a lot of value in understanding what minimalism is all about.

  • Miriam says:

    Every time I give something away or donate it or even when (as a last resort) I take it to the dump, I feel less burdened. Stuff burdens me. And while I can’t claim to be a minimalist (yet) I’m working my way there. Space is wonderful.

  • Thias @It Pays Dividends says:

    Compared to some of our family, my wife and I are more minimalist but I know we have a ways to go. We have made the realization that it isn’t stuff that makes us happy but it is spending time with friends and family. Step in the right direction for sure.

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore says:

    Great post Cat! I’m trying to be more minimalist – it’s definitely a process. I’ve got less now than I used to have (I think), but I don’t know that I’ll ever truly be a minimalist.

  • Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor says:

    Great post! I completely agree with your philosophy and practical tips, especially not buying stuff! I stopped shopping for clothes a few years ago, and have been selling and giving away extras from my stash of hand-me-downs (including baby stuff), especially when it’s just in my way. I’ve never lived in a developing country but I’m visiting developing regions of India soon and look forward to getting some perspective on my lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *