Minimalism and Its Effect on My Finances


Flowers at Pike’s Nurseries

When I was about five or six years old, my favorite song was Calloway’s “I Wanna Be Rich.” I clearly remember singing it at the top of my lungs while riding around in the passenger seat with my mom behind the wheel. I have no idea what I liked about that song, in particular. I guess it’s just a catchy tune. (For the record, I also loved “King of Wishful Thinking,” “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” and anything from Reba McEntire. Don’t judge me.)

Anyway, now that I’m well into my third month of this no-buying challenge, people keep making comments about how my bank account must be looking. To be honest, a lot has changed for me financially, but I never consciously made the connection between the buying fast and the increase in my accounts. I decided at the beginning of the year to save 10 percent of every single dime I bring in – I take it right off the top of paychecks, my sales on Craigslist and Amazon. However money arrives to my account, 10 percent goes directly to my savings (ING, for those curious).

I want to reiterate here that I am not, nor have I ever been, a shopaholic. At first, it was tough to save such a big chunk out of every check, not because I wanted to spend it, but because I worried about upcoming bills or missing out on something fun. Now it’s been four months since I started saving, and I’ve never missed a single opportunity or had it result in a struggle.

Back to the shopping fast. Yes, my savings account has grown significantly. Those “little” $20 bargain purchases of shoes, jewelry and dresses several times a week really added up. Now, they’re of no concern to me. In fact, even after the 10 percent was moved to savings, I still had way more than enough in my account to take care of each month’s bills. The result: I took another look at my 401k, which I hadn’t contributed to in over three years.

No spending (save toiletries, groceries and dinners) has allowed me to not only save 10 percent of my income, but also contribute 10 percent to my retirement account. Are you reading the words that are comin’ out of my mouf!? I save 20 percent of every single paycheck and it doesn’t even affect me. I don’t make any more than I did 4 months ago, but my banks may think otherwise.

Having the opportunity to improve my finances was not even on my radar for this six-month challenge. However, it is a beautiful side effect.

SN: Every time I move 10 percent from my checking into my savings account, I label it “Richest Woman in Babylon,” since that was the book that first coerced me into saving with intention. I highly recommend it! And who knows… maybe this lifestyle change will make those words I sang as a six year old become a reality!


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