It is very often the case that when you improve in one area that you will see ripple effects in other areas. You often see some positive impacts spilling over. For instance, when someone begins losing weight, they suddenly become more motivated to exercise because they don’t want to lose the traction they have gained. Living simply has so many benefits, not the least of which is in the financial area.
1. You know what you have.
With fewer things in your home you know what you have and where it is kept. Knowing what you have keeps you from purchasing things again, and keeps you aware of exactly what you need. Instead of buying things because you can’t remember, or might possibly need it someday, you know. You can make purchases wisely.
2. You will think twice about future purchases.
I know that just after I have done a huge purge, I loathe bringing in more things. Suddenly, I start looking at items I might buy and asking myself if I really want this in my closet or if it would be Renting For Free? I have saved myself from a lot of unneeded purchases, and therefore, a lot of money with this mindset.
3. You will find it easier to keep up with paperwork.
When your bills are lost in a pile of papers, it is inevitable that you will lose one, forget one, or be late on one. Having everything streamlined will save you peace of mind and, of course, your money on late fees.
(Special thanks to a reader who emailed me this picture! Tips on dealing with paper clutter coming soon. 😉 )
4. You will have a better sense of your priorities.
Each family has different values, and your spending should reflect that. The problem lies, I believe, in the fact that many people have not stopped to consider what they truly value and often make decisions on what our culture (magazines, TV, etc.) values.
For some, having a large home is important. For others, they would prefer to live in a smaller home and have the extra cash to buy a daily latte. Neither is wrong, but it is important for you to know. When you start to peel away the layers of stuff in your home, it becomes easier to be more objective and know where you want your money to go.
Brian and I have determined that we prefer memories over things. Knowing this not only helps keep clutter down, but also helps me make decisions when I see something I “need.” This $10 shirt, or a family outing to get ice cream? (Having budget line items is immensely helpful in this as well, but I’ll save that for another day. )
5. Freedom to say ‘No.’
This is very closely tied to knowing your priorities, but with a slightly different angle. When I first got married, I was told I needed so many things. Some of it has certainly been useful, and I truly did need it. I wouldn’t be able to cook without pots and pans, for instance. Much of it, however, is very much a perceived need. At the time, I assumed that if I was told I needed it, then I indeed must need it.
Whether I knew what to do with it, actually used it, or none of the above, I just found a place for it in my home. I needed it. Or so I was told. I can think of several things that I bought with my precious hard-earned money because I was told I needed it. Or just ask me how much stuff I needed for my first baby compared to what I need for my third.
Fast-forward a few years and I have a completely different response when someone tells me I need something. My automatic response is not a sense of need to go buy it, or even a wish that I could go buy it if I only had the money. I instantly hold that “need” up to my priorities and my desire to live simply. Those things might be nice, and I am not saying that I will never purchase them. It is just that my initial response to the “need” is different. I now have a grid to put it through. And I have the freedom to say no.
Have you found that living simply, getting rid of clutter, and finances have a correlation?