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Minimalism and Saving Money: How having a Minimalist Mindset Helped me Save Money to Travel

Last Updated on October 11, 2020 by queenie mak

I travel about eight to nine months each year. That means I need to be good with my finances if I want to travel long term and extensively. And I haven’t always been great with money. It took me a while to figure out how to manage my money by tracking my expenses.

Moreover, travel is more expensive for a solo traveller because you are not sharing travel expenses with your friends or partner. You don’t have the luxury to share car expenses and hotel accommodations, etc. That is another hurdle that all solo travellers have to face.

But there is a correlation between minimalism and saving money. By having a minimalist mindset, you can minimize unnecessary purchases, save money and spend it on something you really love. And in my case, I spend all my money on travel!

In this post, I’m going to share with you my top 6 minimalist saving money tips.

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Minimalism and Money: My top 7 tips for saving money

Having a minimalist mindset doesn’t just mean you need to clean out your closet and throw away things you don’t use. It can also be used in other facets of your life, including your finances. 

As a minimalist, saving money is not the ultimate goal but is definitely a lovely byproduct of a lifestyle. I don’t own many material things. My closet is pretty empty. And I only have the basic things that I need in everyday life. I have the bare minimum of “stuff,” and I am completely happy with it. 

At its core, having a minimalist mindset is about freeing yourself from the things that don’t matter, and ultimately gives you the freedom and time to focus on what is important. 

Here are a few things you can do to help you practice minimalism and saving money.

1. Define your goals and priorities

From the time I was a teenager to early adulthood, I spent most of my money on buying a lot of “stuff.” From clothing, shoes, purses, and every kind of knick-knacks, I had them all! And I was spending a ton of money on going out with friends every weekend. These were the types of things that were important to me at the time.

But I have grown a lot since my younger days. I realized that I didn’t need a lot of stuff and I didn’t just want to spend my hard-earned money on something that didn’t mean anything in the long-run. So I focus on what is important to me and how I want to spend my money. I want to make sure I’m spending money the way I want to and get the most out of it.

We all have different goals and priorities. Whether you want to save money for your next trip, to buy a new car or even getting your dream home. It doesn’t matter what your goals are but as long as you define it and prioritize what you need to do, then you can achieve your goals.

How to define your goals and priorities

Set aside some time and really dig deep and figure out what is it that you want out of life.

Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:

  1. What are your short term goals? Long term goals? Life goals?
  2. Do I have any bucket list items that I would like to check off?
  3. If I buy this, does it make my life better?
  4. Does buying this item contribute to what I ultimately want in life?

I recommend physically writing your goals and priorities in a notebook. You’d be surprised to know that you can actually achieve your goals by writing it down. Perhaps it has to do with the law of attraction?

Once you define your goals and priorities, you will have a better idea of how you want to spend your money. And saving money will become easier.

2. Always ask yourself when you want to buy something, “Do I need this? Or do I want this?”

We live in a culture of consumerism where it is just too easy to be buying all sorts of stuff. Shopping malls are packed with people looking for bargains, and online shoppers can effortlessly scroll through websites and purchase anything at any time of the day.

I remember having a lot of things while I was growing up. I had a ton of toys as a kid, closet full of clothes as a teenager, and too much of everything as a young adult.

But I am also obsessed with organizing and throwing (donating) things. From time to time, I would go through my stuff and sift through what I don’t need and give them away. I must have thrown away thousands of dollars worth of stuff. I am pretty sure I even donate clothes that I have never worn and things I’ve never even used. What a waste of money!

It took me a while to figure out that I didn’t need to buy a lot of things because I always end up donating them soon after. I realized I had a pattern of buying things and not really consider if I ever needed them in the first place.

So whenever I want to buy something, I always ask myself “do I need this or do I just want this?” There is a big difference in needing something and wanting something.

And 90% of the time I just want to buy something and not because I actually needed it! I was astounded by my answer every single time I asked the question. And it became my mantra, and it became part of my minimalist mindset and helped me save a ton of money!

And if you track your expenses like I do, you will see a dramatic increase in savings instantaneously. Weeding out all the unnecessary purchases can really help you save a ton of money.

Need ideas for buying a gift for your minimalist friend who likes to travel? Check out my top 10 items to buy for any minimalist traveller who doesn’t need anything

3. Spend minimally on necessities and keep within your budget

There are a few things you need in life: shelter, food and clothing. These necessities can come in various forms and different price tags. To adopt a minimalist mindset, you have to make sure you are spending as little as you can on necessities while balancing your lifestyle.

Everyone has a different budget when it comes to spending. It all depends on how much you make and how much you spend. But making less money doesn’t equate to a less meaningful life. It is more important to focus on how you manage the money that you do have and how you make the most out of it.

Try your best to keep within your budget. It is not fun to be in debt and always paying off credit cards. You will end up spending more money on paying off the interest on credit cards than actually travelling.

4. Live in a comfortable, small, & compact space

I’ve always lived in small spaces. Small spaces mean smaller rent/mortgage, lower electrical bills, less time to clean, and you don’t need to buy as much to fill up space. I find that living in a small space is not only efficient for my lifestyle but also for my bank account.

And when I am travelling, I would either stay at an Airbnb apartment or private room, hostel or hotel. I typically choose the accommodation that is right for my budget and usually, it means a smaller space. Since I travel for the majority of the year, I have to adhere to my budget since accommodation cost is a significant percentage of a solo travel budget.

To adopt a minimalist mindset, consider living and staying in a space that is just big enough for you and not necessarily a big place that you may or may not be able to afford.

Related Post – Save money by making your own DIY eco friendly toiletries

5. Eat at local restaurants and learn how to cook

I love to eat! If you have been following my blog, I have a lot of food recommendations for all the places I travelled to. After all, eating is part of the travel experience.

And good food doesn’t have to be expensive. As much as I love enjoying high-end dining experiences, my favourite thing in the world is to find hidden gems especially the hole-the-wall type of places. Those are the type of places that have the best food for the best value. My love for finding delicious food in local places has definitely helped me save a bit of money.

Eating out is a lot of fun but saving a bit more money for travel is better! If you already eat out a lot, perhaps you can scale back and start cooking at home. It can be a lot of fun cooking! You can experiment with new recipes and try something new. You can also save even more by getting groceries from supermarkets or farmer’s markets.

6. Purchase quality clothing

My closet used to be full of clothing that does not last and I would have to replace every year. Buying cheap clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you are saving money.

I know the tip itself doesn’t sound like a minimalist money saving tip because quality clothing costs more. But if you buy quality clothes, they will last longer, so you won’t have to replace them, and save more money in the long run. Moreover, you are helping the environment by minimizing waste going to the landfill.

And as a minimalist traveller, I travel with only a few items of clothing with me. I really like having only a few key pieces in my travel wardrobe that I can mix and match. I have to say it feels pretty freeing to have so little while I travel!

When you no longer wear the clothes in your closet, donate them to a local organization. I know this might be difficult but with a bit of practice and some time to adjust, you can let go of things that don’t serve you anymore. And if you focus on the long-term goals you set out for yourself, it will be easier to sort through and donate all the things you do not need.

7. Travel light by packing a 7kg backpack

If you want to save money when you travel, then travel light by travelling with a 7kg carry-on backpack only.

If you can pack all your belongings into a carry-on bag, you can save money by not paying extra for check-in luggage (especially for low-cost carriers where the flight is cheap but you have to pay for checking in your bag).

Moreover, you can save a bit of time by not having to wait for your luggage when you arrive at your destination. Plus, by not checking in your luggage, you eliminate the possibility for airlines to lose your luggage (because this happens too often!).

And if you can travel with a carry-on backpack only, you limit yourself from buying new things that you may or may not use. And you save even more!

However, it is not always easy to travel light. I came up with a minimalist packing list which includes my travel wardrobe, travel size toiletries and other travel essentials. I put everything in my lightweight backpack and everything weighs less than 7kg.

If you want to challenge yourself to pack less for your next trip, follow my packing template and try travelling with less!

Related Post – Minimalist Mindset: Challenge yourself to pack less for your next trip

Do these minimalist money saving tips help you?

Before I even learned about the term “minimalism”, I was already practicing a lot of the principles and adhering the to mindset. It is not actually about the money itself. It is about making the most of what you have financially and translates that into experiences where you feel fulfilled.

I hope you enjoyed my minimalist guide to saving money and understand a bit more about minimalism and saving money.

Let me know in the comments if you have other tips on saving money or how minimalism has affected your life and/or your finances.

And learn more about minimalism mindset and how minimalism can help you travel better.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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