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I travel about eight to nine months each year. That means I need to be good with my finances. 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.
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.
I consider myself a minimalist. I don’t own many material things. My closet is pretty empty. And I own only 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.
Moreover, travel is more expensive for a solo traveller because you are not sharing travel expenses with your friends or your partner. You don’t have the luxury to share car expenses and hotel accommodations, etc. Having a minimalist mindset has helped me travel better.
In this post, I’m going to share with you how having a minimalist mindset helped me save money to travel.
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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.
These days, I really make an effort to not buy anything that I don’t need and just save every penny for my future trips. I realized how much I want to see the world and would choose experience over material things. I can say without a doubt that having a minimalist mindset has definitely helped me achieve my goals of travelling the world.
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.
Minimalist tips: how you can do this
What is important to you? Is having material things important? Or is travelling more appealing? Or are you saving up for a big purchase for the future?
How you spend your money will be determined by what you want in life.
Set aside some time and really dig deep and figure out what is it that you want out of life. What are your long-term goals? What are your priorities?
Some questions you might want to ask yourself when it comes to defining your goals, such as “does this make my life better?”, “does it contribute to what I ultimate want in life?”. Write down all the things you want to do and achieve. 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.
Spend minimally on necessities
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.
And regarding the budget, everyone has a different budget. It all depends on how much you make and how much you spend. I used to work in the corporate world in my pre-blogging life and money was never an issue. But these days, I’m not making anywhere near what I used to which means budgeting is super important to me.
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.
Necessity #1: Shelter
I’ve always lived in small spaces. It means a 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 travel budget.
Necessity #2: Food
I love to eat! If you have been following my blogs, I have a lot of food recommendations for all the places I travelled to. After all, eating is part of the travel experience.
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.
Necessity #3: Clothing
My old walk-in closet used to be full of clothes! I had so many clothes that I can wear a different outfit each day for several months. And I’m not a good shopper by any means, but somehow I was able to accumulate month’s worth of clothing. Who knew I had that in me?
However, I’ve purged a lot of my old clothes. I donated the majority of my old clothes because I wasn’t wearing a lot of them. Currently, my closet has all the essential pieces for all four seasons and nothing more.
And these days, as a minimalist traveller, I travel with only a few items of clothing with me. I have to say it feels pretty freeing to have so little while I travel!
In addition to these three necessities, I would also spend money on things that contribute to my health. Such as buying organic food, a good pair of sneakers for walking (aka my primary form of exercise), health insurance, etc. The last thing you want is to be really sick in a foreign country and rack up a big medical bill. Health is always a priority.
Other than these items, I really don’t spend a whole on anything else. So for me, these are some necessary costs for me.
Minimalist tips: how you can do this
Define what you need to sustain yourself in terms of shelter, food, clothing and other necessities.
Having a minimalist mindset means choosing options that suit your lifestyle and your budget (or spending minimally).
What type of home do you need to live in? Perhaps it is more affordable to live in a smaller apartment than a bigger one. Or you may even want to get a roommate or share a space with someone else. Choose a space where you do not need to pay too much so you can keep it within your budget.
And when you are travelling, try staying at hostels where you can meet other travellers. Or if there is a homestay option, that’s also a great option to save a bit of money and meet locals as well. And if it means staying outside of the central tourist area to save a few dollars, it might be worth it.
To adapt to 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.
Do you need to need to eat well all the time? Do you have any health restrictions? Can you cook and 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 its scaling 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.
Do you need a closet full of clothes? Or is having a few key pieces sufficient for you? Start by sorting out and donating your clothing especially the ones you haven’t worn in a year. There is a massive chance that you will not miss these items. It might take some time, and some letting go on your part to part with your clothing.
Trust me, it wasn’t easy at first, it will take a bit of practice and some time to adjust. But 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.
We all have different things we consider as necessities. Perhaps its time to evaluate what is important to you in life and prioritize what you truly want. It’s not something you can do in a day or two. It is a process after all.
Always question your purchases
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 blessed with the need to organize and throw away (donate) 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?”
I realized 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.
Minimalist tips: how you can do this
Every time you are in a position where you are going to purchase something, ask yourself the same question: “do I need this or do I just want this?” Only buy what you need and not what you want. There is a difference in needing something and wanting something. Do you really need this item or is it something you just really want?
And if you track your expenses as 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.
Having a minimalist mindset means freeing yourself from all the “stuff.” Things do not necessarily make people happy. By releasing yourself from all the unnecessary things in your life, you can focus more on life itself.
Does this help you to focus on how you should spend your money? 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.
What are your tips on spending money? Let me know in the comments below.
And learn more about minimalism mindset and how minimalism can help you travel better.
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