How To Learn To Live With Less For Beginners

 

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It has been two years now since I discovered minimalism and frugality, and I began learning to live a life with less.

Since then, my life has changed dramatically, but more positive than I could have ever imagined.

And now that we are going through a recession, I embrace the minimalist and frugal lifestyle more than ever.

So I thought it would bring you tremendous value if I shared my experiences and tips on learning to live with less, how I got started, what I learned along the way, and where I stand today.



Why is living with less better?

How I started learning to live with less

Not so long ago, I was in the midst of a mental crisis. I was working too much, spending too much, and enjoying too little. 

The main reasons were:

  • overconsuming meaningless and expensive items, trying to keep up with the Joneses

  • overleveraging my finances, and going into massive debt

  • resulting in even more work to keep this wheel of earning, spending, and hurting spinning 

Then in 2018, I finally asked myself:

  • How can I live a better life?

  • What if I consumed less things?

  • Would it help me out of my miserable situation?

Often it is critical to have a heart-to-heart conversation with yourself to solve difficult problems. So I did. And the eye-opening answers I got from myself were: 

  • YOU CAN LIVE WITH LESS!

  • YOU NEED LESS THAN YOU THINK!

  • YOU MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!

So I took action. After getting inspired by numerous idols, including The Minimalists, Matt D’Avella, Mr. Money Mustache, and CKSpace, reading their blogs, and watching their videos, I was ready to make a radical change to my lifestyle.

I finally started focusing on gaining more freedom by adapting to the principles of minimalism and frugal living.

Here are the steps I followed to live a larger life with less.

Simple steps on learning how to live with less for beginners

1. Accepting that you need change

As mentioned above, you need to have an honest talk with yourself before jumping to what you think might be the right path to improving your life.

Finding a solution gets simpler when you know exactly where you stand and when you accept that you need to change. Ask yourself what is making you miserable and how you can escape that.

Remember that it is never too late to choose another path, but also be realistic and accept that only you can make these changes. Always keep these two things in mind:

  • YOU ARE IN CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE!

  • IF YOU WANT CHANGE, YOU NEED TO TAKE ACTION!

Write them down in your journal, say them every day to yourself, or do anything to never forget! Believe me, this might be THE BEST advice that can change your life.

2. Believe that you can live with less

It seems hard to break out of the bubble of our consumer society. And it truly is if you see yourself as a victim and believe that you need be a part of everything it stands for.

But the truth is: you are not, and you don’t have to! The more I researched about minimalism and frugal living, the less my current life back then made sense.

All the lost money, energy, time, and thoughts I devoted to owning stuff and a lifestyle that I didn’t even like - all these years!

Once you realize that you are in control, your mindset starts to shift, and deep inside, you begin to believe that you can actually live with less and that you can choose how to live your life - these are crucial facts to internalize.

From then on, your life will start to pivot towards intentionality, mindfulness, sustainability, and contentment.

3. Appreciate what you already have

Minimalism and frugality are the opposite of the saying “the more, the merrier”. The key message is: “less is more”.

You will question what you need, what is valuable for you, and what is not. Above all, you learn to appreciate what you already have in your life.

Everything that you have accumulated so far has cost you money, time, and energy.

Therefore you should value your things and treat them with care instead of replacing them and continually upgrading your life with new stuff.

And all the things you don’t value and are useless are ready to go.

4. Differ your wants from your needs

One of the most valuable lessons I learned on my minimalist journey was to question everything I consumed.

It is the most practical way to separate your wants from your needs and to save tons of money.

When you find yourself going into a store and getting enticed to buy products you did not intend to buy, ask yourself: do you need it, or do you only want it?

While there is nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while with small (or big) rewards, you should still try to be mindful of bringing new things into your life.

Things you need will bring you value, but stuff you simply want for the sake of having them will clutter up your life.

5. Set realistic goals

One thing that I learned very early on is that without a goal, you will never know where you are heading to. It is like starting to solve a puzzle game without knowing the end result.

If you have luck, you may reach your destination, but it will take you longer. The reality is that you may not reach it at all.

I encourage you to ask yourself why you want to downsize, and I want you to imagine your perfect life. Only then can you set realistic goals and start to make the right moves.

I, for instance, thought that paring down my stuff within a day would be the solution. But there is much more to living with less than meets the eye.

It’s about our tiniest everyday choices that make all the difference and transform a miserable life to a life with purpose.

6. Start downsizing your life

Now that you know your “why”, you believe in yourself, and you know what you do and don’t need, it is time to get your hands dirty and downsize your life.

Any material possessions that does not serve a purpose go either to eBay, your local charity, friends, family, or into the trash.

Keep in mind that you want to get rid of the overwhelming clutter, physical but also mental, to create more space for what matters more.

You want to be able to freely move around your home and enjoy a brighter, cleaner, and more organized home. A clean home means a clear mind.

You want to save money and then spend money on things that you truly love. Downsizing your life will change your mindset and your perspective on things.

You will understand that you don’t have to follow the mainstream. You will strive in your own new-found passion.

So do the work, and the results will come.

7. Focus on the benefits of living with less

The minimalist journey is not always smooth sailing.

There will be tough times coming at you, especially when you have to make hard decisions, like discarding sentimental things or cutting back friends who don’t support you or negative people who think that you are crazy for living minimalistic and frugal.

But what is even harder, is giving up on your dream, the dream of more freedom. You want Fight for it and stick to the plan!

Focus on the benefits of living with less!

Freedom from stuff, less money problems, no more time shortage, and better relationships with the most important people in your life are worth this journey!

8. Live below your means

One of the best improvements in consuming less is that you also spend less money. Though this is not a guarantee.

Why?

Because there are endless minimalist items that are overpriced. The solution to this is living below your means. Live thrifty and frugal and find ways to not spend more than you earn.

Saving money is a habit that can be cultivated. Make a budget plan so that you know exactly where your income is going. Find unnecessary expenses and cut them back.

Your money is too valuable to let it flow into unintentional directions. Remember that you have sacrificed your most precious nonrenewable resource, your time, to earn it.

Choose to spend it wisely.

9. Work on your financial literacy

After health and time, money is the most valuable asset. Many of our decisions are based around money, and in some way, it controls our life because we simply need it to live a convenient, safe, and happy life.

That said, it is crucial to educate yourself about money as well as you can. Learn from people who are good at managing money. Take courses on investing so that it grows for you over time.

One secret about money is that its value depreciates when you leave it in your regular bank account or keep it in cash.

Set financial goals and make a plan for future costs like purchasing your own house, college for your kids, retirement, and unexpected expenses.

If you master budgeting, it will get easy to live with less, because you can track everything.

10. Focus on happiness, not wealth

Though saving and investing money are relevant, because having wealth results in having more options for you and your family, it is definitely not everything.

Stick to your plan of paring down, living intentionally, and creating freedom while making the most of your limited time on this planet.

Find ways to increase your happiness.

I’m sure it will come automatically when you live more mindfully, but we should never forget that we are doing all this for the sole purpose of finding true happiness.

Don’t only celebrate the grand achievements in your life but also all the small things that bring you joy.

Appreciate the simple pleasures, and you will realize that you are surrounded by beautiful and positive things every day.

Take your time and relish those simple wonders in life as they present themselves to you.

You will experience gratitude, which will amplify contentment and fulfillment.

11. Support your community and be a good example

On your minimalist journey, you will learn a lot of life-changing lessons. Feel free to share your learnings with your community.

Spread the word of a better life with living with less.

Be a good example for your kids, family, friends, and colleagues. Sharing your lessons to a broad range of people has never been easier than today, so use the opportunity.

Another way to share gratitude and help others is, apart from donating clothes and unneeded things to people in need, is teaching them how to improve their lives.

Further, if you have learned to get your money under control, you can always donate money to nonprofit organizations, even if it is just a little bit.

Giving is a beautiful way of showing the universe that you care.

12. Reaping the benefits of living a life with less

I’m only two years into my minimalist journey (since 2020), and I’m already seeing so many benefits.

I can say with 100% certainty, that there is no way I would have the physical and mental freedom that I have now if I were not living a simple lifestyle.

I encourage you to follow my tips and start improving your life NOW!

Learning to live with less will not only free you from the chains of consumer society, but also let you design life according to your likes, visions, and values.

So good luck on your minimalist journey - it’s going to be an adventure that you will never regret! :)



 
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