Trading Stuff for Wealth: Getting the Maximum Out of Minimalism

Posted on 09/21/2010

Despite what prime time ads might tell you, that shiny SUV, ginormous flat screen or pricey wrinkle cream won’t make you happy. In fact some financial experts would argue that maxed out credit cards, home equity loans, and fancy leased cars are actually creating unnecessary stress. There seems to be a new movement towards minimalism these days. Interested in trading stuff for wealth? Here are some tips.

Give it Away - Take a cue from Mad Men actor Vincent Kartheiser, who told a London reporter last spring that he lives with almost no personal possessions. He started giving items away and realized he enjoyed it so much he didn’t want to stop. Try gifting your belongings to friends, or to local charitable organizations.

List What’s Important - You may be surprised by what you could live without. Check out “The 100 Thing Challenge” created by blogger and author Dave Bruno. For a year he lived with only 100 belongings and now he’s written a book about the experience.

Clear Out Storage Units - Reduce your inventory of stuff. This is especially important if you’re paying a monthly fee for a storage unit to house all of your belongings, or funding a bigger property just so you have a place to put your things. Not only will you free up space, but you’ll free up room in your budget.

Scale Down the Wardrobe - Your closet is likely packed with jeans, shoes and tops that you rarely wear. Consider clearing out that extra stuff just like the ladies behind People all over the world have committed to wearing just six items for one month. It’s an experiment to see what we really require and what we can live without.

Be Patient with Purchases - How often do you blindly buy? Try being more patient with your purchases. Find something you absolutely have to have? Wait a day or a week and see if you still want it as much. Get in the habit of being more thoughtful about what you bring home from the store and you may find yourself with more money in your pocket.

By Alison Storm

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