minimalist life monefly

5 Ways a minimalist life can help you save money

23 Apr, 2018

Minimalism has become more mainstream over the past few years, gaining popularity with people who want to simplify their lives and save time in the process. But have you thought about the impact a minimalist life can have on your wallet, too?

If you’re on the lookout for ways to save money, you might want to give minimalism a try. The savings might not seem significant at first but they will soon add up.

So whether you’re saving for a big purchase or trying to clear your debt, here are five ways a minimalist lifestyle can help:

 

1. Making things last longer

Owning fewer things gives you more time – and a better incentive – to take care of your possessions. Rather than replacing damaged or broken items you can fix them to extend their life.

You’ll also find yourself taking better care of your things because it doesn’t take as long when you own less. Take laundry, for instance. We know that tumble drying causes wear and tear, yet we still do it because it’s the easiest way to get through the laundry pile fast. But when all your clothes fit on the drying rack, this option becomes much more convenient and you won’t need to buy new clothes as often (even though you’re wearing them more).

 

2. Quality not quantity

Tying into the point above, when you have fewer possessions and the time to take care of them, you can invest in higher quality items that are, in themselves, more durable.

If you buy cheap shoes, for example, you expect them to wear out pretty quickly and you probably won’t bother to get them repaired or resoled. Spending more on a better quality pair may cost more upfront but you won’t be replacing them as often. An added bonus of buying higher quality items less often is you cut down on waste.

 

3. Travelling lighter and cheaper

If you love to travel as much as possible, you’re no doubt keen to cut costs and make your money go further. Flights can take a big chunk out of your budget, but you can reduce the cost by avoiding fees for checked baggage.

If the idea of fitting a week’s worth of clothes in your carry-on seems impossible, chances are you just need to get a bit smarter with your packing. It may involve some trial and error but you’d be surprised how many unnecessary items you pack out of habit.

Remember that most airlines allow a carry-on bag and a second ‘personal item’ which could be a handbag, small backpack or laptop bag.

Packing in this way will also save you money once you’re at your destination since you will have very little space for souvenirs and shopping. Why not spend some of the extra cash on something that will make your experience even more special?

 

4. Ditching unnecessary gadgets

Advertisers are great at convincing us to buy single-purpose items to do a job we never really had a problem with in the first place. Why have a single kitchen knife when you could have an avocado slicer, an apple corer and a strawberry stem remover as well?

The minimalist life will help you realise that a simple, versatile tool can take the place of many single-purpose ones. It might mean certain tasks take a little longer and you have to get a bit creative, but you’ll come to relish finding practical solutions using the things you already own.

Not only will you save a lot of space, but also cash, on those clever-but-unessential gadgets.

 

5. Reducing waste

How often do you do a grocery shop, full of good intentions for the week, only to open your fridge and find half the food you bought last week starting to rot? It’s not nice to clean up and it’s a complete waste of money.

Food waste costs the average Australian household $1,036 per year, and we throw away about 20% of the food we buy.

If you want to buck the trend, try doing smaller shops throughout the week and – with perishables in particular – just buying the food you know you’ll use in the next couple of days.

This way, it’s much easier to keep track of what’s in your fridge so you can make sure you consume everything before it expires. Your wallet will thank you and you’re also doing your part for the environment by minimising waste.

These are just a few examples. If you decide to embrace minimalism you’ll probably find a ton of other ways this lifestyle can help you save money. Not only will you reap the benefits of living a simpler life; you’ll also be able to clear your debt or reach your savings goals that bit sooner.

 

 

ready for a joint account monefly

Are you and your partner ready for a joint account?

16 Apr, 2018

Having a joint account with your partner lets you pool your resources and align your spending and saving. But before you take the plunge it’s important to discuss your expectations.

 

Talk about expectations for your joint bank account

Combining cash requires you to be open about your finances from the beginning, otherwise it’ll only cause problems further down the line. Here are some questions to ask one another before you decide to make the move to joint finances:

  • How much will you each deposit? Equal amounts every month or will one of you contribute more?
  • What is the account going to be used for? Rent, bills, everyday expenses, holidays, emergencies only… ?
  • Will you be free to make withdrawals or do you each get an allowance for personal spending?
  • Will you still have separate bank accounts?
  • Will you both have the freedom to do anything with the account or do you want to specify certain limits and actions where you must both give permission?

 

Set rules and goals

Unless you’ve agreed you can both have free reign with your joint account funds (which may not prove very productive financially), at least set basic spending and withdrawal limits. Also agree on some joint savings goals so you can celebrate together when you reach them.

 

Decide on a split

If you’re not ready to go all in with your joint finances, try using your joint account for your shared expenses and savings. It’s common for couples to each pay in a percentage of their earnings – so the higher earner contributes more each month. Or you might work out how much you need to pay in each month and agree a fair split based on your wages.

This way, you’re both contributing fairly to the household but you still have a sense of financial freedom when it comes to the remainder of your earnings.

 

Automate and keep records

If you’re using the joint account to pay rent and bills, set up automated payments where possible to make life easier. For the remaining payments, agree up-front who will be responsible for each one. Otherwise it’s easy for one to get missed because you both assumed the other person had sorted it.

 

Don’t forget your debt

If either of you has existing debt from a loan or credit card, decide whether you’ll pay this from your joint bank account – or whether it’s your individual responsibility. Also talk about other commitments such as child support.

 

Approach credit with caution

You might apply for credit jointly, whether it’s a mortgage, a car loan or a credit card. Be aware that you will still be liable for any debt in your name even if the relationship ends, so give this careful consideration.

Getting a joint account is a big commitment but it’s also an important milestone if you’re serious about your relationship. Just be upfront about your expectations from the beginning to minimise nasty surprises later on.

 

To recap: things to consider before you and your parter open a joint account

  • Have an open discussion with your partner about all aspects of how your joint finances will work
  • Decide what you will use the account for
  • If you are going to keep separate bank accounts, agree how much each of you will contribute to the joint account each month
  • Set basic rules for allowances or withdrawal limits and savings goals
  • Automate payments where possible to avoid missing them
  • Talk about any outstanding debts or regular commitments and where these will be paid from
  • Be aware that if you get credit in joint names you will be jointly responsible for it – and have it against your name – until it is paid off

 

If you’re not sure on what rules to set for your allowances and savings targets then have a read of our recent blog on the 50/20/30 budget.