5 Minimalist Tips for Saving Money

Türkçesi için lütfen buraya tıklayınız: Para Biriktirmek İçin Beş İpucu

Over the years as I started to live a simpler life, I’ve seen that my debts are melting and I can save money much more easily than before. My initial purpose was not to save money, but seeing that I can do stuff I love with the money that I’ve saved (travelling, creative writing workshops and fountain pens), or just knowing that I have some money aside for future troubles is really freeing.

You can actually save quite a lot of money by making some small changes to your lifestyle, even if you earn small amounts of money. You can save a few hundred bucks if you follow just one or two tips that I’m sharing with you today. And the most important outcome of this is not just saving money, but reclaiming your freedom from money and spending mindset.

1) Cook and eat at home, and bring lunch as much as possible.

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If you already try to live a healthier lifestyle then you know how eating outside can ruin your diet. You can of course spend a couple of nights outside with friends or eat out when you’re on vacation, but in normal circumstances eating at home is a lot cheaper and healthier.

If you have a group of friends that you always go out with, you should honestly tell them you’re trying to save money and you’ll meet them for a drink afterwards. You can even suggest everyone eat at home and meet just for a drink or coffee. This saves you a lot of money really.

Of course what I mean by eat at home is not frozen, ready made dinners like pizza or chips. I’m talking about real cooked food. If you’re not experienced with cooking, start small and slow: buy just the equipment and the ingredients you need for the recipe you want to make. At the end your body and your wallet will thank you. 🙂

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Bringing lunch to school or workplace also saves a ton of money. And if you have a fridge and microwave at your workplace, voila! If you don’t, that’s okay, too, there are lots of options you can bring. Salad and sandwiches are the easiest. You can bring leftovers, tuna, or my favorite, overnight oatmeals. Just toss in your favorite yogurt or milk, and whatever fruit and nuts you have at hand. Experiment with peanut butter, chocolate or honey. Even a big bowl of oatmeal doesn’t cost more than a couple of bucks, and you get a filling meal.

To save a ton of money on beverages, invest in a good water bottle and a durable mug. The first reason I bought a mug was because the coffee in the workplace tasted terrible and I wanted to bring my own, but then it turned into a money-saving habit. And when you’re going outside always bring your water bottle with you to save the environment and to save money.

2. Don’t buy if you can make it yourself.

I love pickling and yogurt making as much as I love cooking and baking. As I’m involved in the making process first-hand, I can adjust ingredients to my taste, change them for more healthy options and so on. This is the first advantage. The second advantage of this is that it helps you save money. You can make a year worth’s of pickles (and the healthy, fermented kind) with the same money you buy a jar of pickles. Yogurt making also saves you nearly half the prize of store-bought, paper-tasting yogurt. I even try cheese making but you don’t have to go this far. 😀

And there are far easier things to try out. Whenever you want to buy packaged food, see if you can make it yourself. Pudding mixes, for example. You can buy starch and cocoa and easily make it yourself for a fraction of the price. Slowly, you’ll see that you don’t need packaged food at all. Google before buy!

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I can almost hear you asking, how come I can find so much time to make this stuff rather than buy. Once you’ve made your research and experiment with a few recipes, it’s really easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. But since mall and online shopping is out of my life now, I have a lot of time for productivity, which brings us to the third point.

3. Run from malls like hell (at least for a while).

I’ve never been a shopaholic, but even now, when I go to a mall, I find myself buying at least one item. It feels like a crime, walking into a mall and not buying anything. If nothing, then at least you go to a Starbucks and leave a few dollars there (by the way, the cheapest and the healthiest option at Starbucks, or any coffee shop really, is filter coffee).

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When we talk about avoiding shopping, out of sight out of mind is the best thing to do. And it’s a good idea to stay away from shopping friends as well. Shopping is like cigarettes or alcohol. The addicts need some new victims all the time, they don’t want to go alone so you need to watch out.

4. Declutter

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It might be counter-intuitive but you need to declutter to avoid spending money. When we fill our homes with stuff, it feels like you need more stuff. When you start purging, you see that you already have what you need.

If you’re serious about saving money, promise yourself not to buy any piece of clothing for a certain amount of time (3 months or a year maybe). And then go into your wardrobe and lay all your clothes on your bed. You have so many clothes, right? And most of them have been loved and worn and torn, some never worn with a price tag on. Don’t mind. Firstly, feel grateful that you were able to buy these clothes. Then start purging.

You can donate or sell the ones still in good condition, and recycle or upcycle the ones that are beyond repair. At the end of the process, you’ll see there are still lots and lots that you can wear with love. No need for shopping at all. (You can look at my previous posts about decluttering and capsule wardrobe here).

Apply the same procedure to the kitchen as well. Years ago I read about an extreme approach, where you buy nothing until you run things out in your fridge, freezer and pantry. I think it makes sense, considering the things I had to toss in my last decluttering marathon. This is a good way to save money in the short run.

5. Take a chance on second hand shopping.

When you need something, first check the online websites and apps if you can find it second-hand. You can find second-hand books, bags, watches, clothes. Buying and selling second hand, as well as free cycle,  is good for both the hands and the Earth.

As a final word, I don’t think you should starve and tire yourself just to save money. Sometimes you just want to spend carelessly. And that’s okay because you’re saving for a purpose after all. Don’t think a lot about money, don’t make your life circle around it (or the absence of it). When you are free of the money hegemony, it can give you joy to spend it sometimes. What is important is balance.


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Reklamlar

17 before 2017

As fall starts, we have a little more than 3 months until 2017. Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year. And it is a perfect time to  review my year and my goals. This year I changed jobs, I am a little freer now so I had a chance to focus on my personal goals more easily. This list also sums what I was trying to achieve this year. Minimalism, mindfulness, writing, blogging and all.

I got the idea from BohoBerry, such a wonderful idea.

So here is the list. I don’t have to finish all of them of course, but having a list make my goals visual. And actually all of them are thought in detail. I read a lot about setting goals recently, and I will share my insights on setting goals in a future post as well.

Let me talk a bit about each:

Goals 1 to 4: Minimalism

These are the goals related to my minimalism journey. For the past couple of months I didn’t spend much time at home and it will be great if I could finish decluttering my kitchen and vanity before ’17.

Also having a capsule wardrobe dedicated to work is very crucial for me. I made some new purchases and let go of some pieces, so I want to organize a wardrobe with accessories and all and never think about what to wear to work ever again.

My fourth goal, if you have heard of these challenges, will sound very familiar. I want to finish these skincare and make-up products before 2017. The products are:

  1. Sebamed Q10 Lifting Eye Cream (best affordable eye cream so far)
  2. Neostrata Oily Skin Solution (I really like it, except it is twice the price in Turkey now and I won’t be repurchasing just because of the price. I will most likely replace it with plain soap for now.)
  3. Oriflame Red Lipstick (just love this. but it is I guess maybe more than 5 years old (eww) but I can’t just let it go because I haven’t found a red lipstick just like this. So I’ll toss when I finish)
  4. Skin 79 Sué Hydrating Water (it is a very nice moisturizer but not very practical. I would expect a spray bottle instead of squirt, so I won’t be repurchasing this either.)
  5. Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Malt (2 years old, love it, I wouldn’t mind wearing it everyday)
  6. Isana Aceton-free nail polish remover (just put it because I have one more nailpolish remover at home)
  7. Diadermine Zero Tolerance Face Cleanser (no side effects so far, but not very effective either, will replace with bar soap again)

The reason why I chose them is that although they have survived my decluttering splurges for two years, they are the oldest products that I have (except Neostrata, it is like 6 months old). And because I have (or I don’t need) replacements for them it would be nice if I could get them out of my way. The trick in these challenges is that you should put all the products of these kinds away for the time being. It will be exhilarating to finish them till the end of 2016!

Also very interesting to see I have products from all around the world (Germany, Sweden, Korea, US) I think I should consider making more local choices next time I buy this kind of products.

Goals 5-9: Mind Goals

These are goals related mostly with mind. I started a novel about 4 years ago but never touched it for 3 years until I went back this year. But I am not sure if I like it anymore. I am like 5000 words in, and I’ll maybe go on, maybe not. Anyway, I would like to write an independent short story no matter what happens in my novel journey.

I would also like to read 50 books this year in total. This was the goal I set on my Goodreads account. So far I have finished 23, but I still want to keep it to see how far I will get.

My blog of course is among my goals. Keeping a record here really helps me put things in perspective. Right now I have 100 followers, I want to double it by the end of the year.

Goal 10: Job

I started my new job on January 6th, and towards the New Year the committee will decide whether I will be permanent or not. Fingers crossed!

Goals 11-14: Health

These goals are about Yoga and health in general. Yoga has been really helpful to me, so I wish to make it a daily habit.

I have recently been drinking a mixture of ginger- honey-lemon- ACV (and garlic if I’m not going out). Among all benefits, it’s helping me with sinus infections and allergies so I would like to keep it going for as much as I can.

Goal 15: Crafts

I am really into cross-stitching this year. There is one project I would like to finish this year and it is the table runner that I started.

Goals 16-17: Spirit

I started meditating for about 4 months ago but I haven’t made it a daily habit yet. I wish to do so as soon as possible.

And last but not least, finishing the year in gratitude is so important to me.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my goals and I will be more than happy if this inspires you to set some goals for yourself!

Love,

Pelin

 

Where do you call “home”?

Since I was born, I have lived in 8 different places. Come to think of it, the place where I most felt at home was the dormitory, where I spent four years at university. It was the smallest place ever, four beds( two bunk beds actually), four closets and a long table with four chairs across the beds. As you can imagine I had a very limited supply, just clothes and books. Very few sentimental items and that’s all. I was living the minimalist lifestyle before I knew about it and I recall these times as the happiest of my life. I was very productive, wrote a lot, studied very effectively and was quite social.

Why do I need to remember those times today?

Because I am at a crossroads. I may live abroad  if I want to, but for that I need to shift my career a little bit and maybe never go back to my native country. And it made me think if I ever feel at home here.

This decision also made me reconsider my belongings, so much can fit in a suitcase, right? Which of these will certainly make it with me I will have to see. And when I actually get there I can be very conscious of everything I buy to create the minimalist living I am up to.

So many possibilities. Along with so many worries. Let’s see what the future brings.

Slow down. Cut down.

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What do you do in a day?

I, for example, on a day I don’t go to work, cook, eat, drink coffee, if not enough tea. While trying to work on a fictional story, my mind says let’s go play this video game. Once in a while I get crafty and the whole house turns into a mess of yarn, fabric and needles. These are only the things I do on my own.

There is also spending time with my loved one, talking to family on the phone, and meeting and calling friends. Other than that, I also have these connections who I never need in my life but just can’t cut contact with.

The days I go to work are catastrophic. Before getting to school, the panic of planning the day, printing out stuff for students and arranging activities bite me up. And when I actually get to school, things to do in the breaktimes are neverending, and ten minutes a breaktime is never ever enough. Ugh, so much to do.

How can a normal person do all this stuff? What happens to their soul if they do all this? How does the body respond to all the chaos?

I have consciously committed to slowing down and do less just like I started to own less. And the first step was curing my addiction to video games (I’ll explain how in a later post). For nearly two months I haven’t played any video games. This is a big success for me as I have been playing video games for as long as 20 years. I think this addiction was my inability to handle the void. I’ve been learning how to handle the void, or emptiness, or doing nothing for these two months. I try to accept everything as they are. This is so powerful. If you can do nothing, you can do anything. Everything becomes so much easier. You can easily eliminate the physical and emotional excess in your life once you master doing nothing. It’s a kind of meditation actually.

Everything happens slowly, but all of a sudden. Everything is as they should be. Slowly, by little steps, but confidently. Being slow, living slowly, but never being lazy. That’s my purpose.

 

What Minimalism is not About

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1. Minimalism is not about decluttering.

While minimalists find decluttering an exhilarating, freeing experience, minimalism to me is not about what to let go, it is about what to keep.

Marie Kondo asks “what sparks joy?”

“The Minimalists” ask “what adds value to your life?”

I believe the things I keep are a combination of both.

 

2. Minimalism is not confined to backpackers and people who live in ridiculously small apartments.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore backpackers and travelling light. I try to travel light as much as possible and learn from my mistakes. And definitely, there is something to learn from people who carry everything they own on their backs.

Similarly, I do believe living in a small house teaches you a lot. My house is also a relatively small one, with one living room/kitchen, one bedroom and a laundry room. But what I believe is that once you get the idea, it doesn’t matter where you live. You may still live with your parents, in a dormitory, or a seven-bedroom house, or on your backpack! It’s the same and at the same time different for everyone.

3. Minimalism is not about organizing and great storage solutions.

I believed (and I still do) that I had a problem about organizing. My house and my office desk were a mess, and while I thought it was a meaningful mess, I still sought help. What I found was at the core of this disorganization was my inability to say goodbye to things when I didn’t need them. Well I was one type. I lived “in” clutter and called myself disorganized. I thought if I tidied things up, clutter wouldn’t be a problem.

But there is also this type who never ever declutters and lives in a tidy mess. And these people are, well, the closest one may be your mum. You can find stashes underneath sofas, boxes after boxes never opened in years, all these small things that nobody needs or remembers even. But in the workplace I also encounter this kind of people, who file projects, keep hard copies even if there are soft copies, and bring in drawers and organizers (why buy new stuff to store the stuff you don’t need?) because the ones in the office aren’t enough. But they are very very organized and also effective, although 90% of the stuff they keep will never be needed and eat up their time and energy.

This is not what minimalism is. These can be parts of minimalism, but they do not define it. The social media likes the extreme, well, you don’t have to go to extremes if this is not you.

To reiterate,  minimalism is not about downsizing, it’s about loving/valuing/needing what you keep. It’s not about limiting yourself to a tiny backpack or a studio apartment, and finally it’s not about organizing (although I admit it is fun!).

What else do you think minimalism is not about?