10 Ways to switch to a minimalist lifestyle to make the most of money

Today’s post is contributed by Amy Nickson, a passionate writer on finance. Amy is a professional blogger whom has started her own blog and also works as a contributor for the Oak View Law Group. Please share your opinions by commenting below.

10 Ways to switch to a minimalist lifestyle to make the most of money

Living a minimalist lifestyle has many benefits; it offers more free time, more money in the bank account, and a meaningful way to live the life. Once you adopt a minimalist lifestyle, it will change the way you live your life. Such a lifestyle can change the idea of spending a day, finding happiness, and fulfilling a dream.

However, adopting a minimalist lifestyle is not easy; it is a total transformation of lifestyle.

Most of us have materialistic mindset; therefore, living a minimalist lifestyle can be difficult at the beginning.

However, nothing is impossible; you can try to adopt the simple living mantra to understand the differences between living life with a lot of stuff and living with less.

Keeping in mind that most of you are a beginner when it comes to living a minimalist lifestyle, I am sharing some easy ways to help you to adopt it.

Minimalism is simplifying everything in your life

“Simplifying everything in life” – What does it mean? Well, it means you need to simplify your entire lifestyle including the diet, stuff, debt, health, home, and time.

Sounds scary! Here are 8 easy tips, which can simplify your lifestyle without taking a lot of stress.

1. Write down your minimalism goals

Since living as a minimalist is not easy; you have to be focused on it consistently. Thus, it is important to write down the motive of living a simple life. If debt problem is the main reason you want to simplify your lifestyle, then note it down. Similarly, you can write down other problems that are the reasons behind adopting the minimalist lifestyle, it can be getting no free time for family, feeling stressed out after work, failing to save money, wasting food, and craving for stuff.

If you think it is too difficult to keep going with the minimalist lifestyle, write down the goals. It will motivate you to follow your changed lifestyle.

2. Donate the extra things

Living with unnecessary things often overwhelm us, especially things that are extra. You should find out the extra things and keep them out of your sight. If you don’t need them for at least a month, then you should donate them to people who need them more than you. Once you start living with less stuff, your life will become blissful and less burdened.

Related: Sell stuff on Craigslist or eBay.

3. Carry less things while traveling

Travelling is for refreshment, not for becoming a fashionista. People often take stress regarding the packing for their trip. If they are going for a 4-day trip, they usually pack for 8 days, which is wrong. Pack for 2 day for a 4-day trip. Wash clothes, dry them and wear the same clothes while on a trip. Instead of concentrating on dress up, enjoy the trip wholeheartedly. Carrying less baggage can allow you to move more freely and feel relaxed.

4. Declutter your home

A clean home is blissful. A home full of clutter makes you stressed, irritated, and busy all the time. Thus, you should try to make your home clutter-free, as much as possible. Though the task is not easy, yet you can give it a try. Make your home clutter-free, step by step. Start with your living room, kitchen counter top, bed room, dining space, etc. One day, you will find a neat and clean home with stuff that is necessary.

5. Simplify your style

If you are not a fashion blogger, who needs a lot of stuff to come with fashion tips, then you must try to simplify your everyday style. Don’t go mad with watches, shoes, dresses, bags, jewelry, accessories, etc. Honestly, you know how much is too much. So, show your commitment to other more challenging things in your life instead of wasting money and time on getting dressed up.

6. Go back to the basic

We all are now tech savvy and think all the gadgets are making our life simple. Yes, some are useful, but some are just making your life complicated. How?

The phone is not a necessity; you need to call someone in an emergency. But, now you have a smartphone with sufficient data. You are doing nothing but surfing the phone all the day. A basic phone is enough to contact someone. I agree that smartphone makes our life easier like easy banking, paying money by offering easy banking digital wallet, easy booking, etc. But, it also makes us engaged all the day and you don’t have time to talk to the person who is sitting just beside you.

It is way better to use such gadgets when in need. Enjoy some time with your dear ones to feel alive.

7. Cut down the cable cord

Now cable operators charge about $100 a month for 500 different channels. Out of all the channels, you watch only 7-10. I don’t know why do people pay so much money for things they don’t need at all. Simply pay for channels that you watch mostly and cut down the expenses for those unseen channels.

8. Simplify your meals

Having food is necessary, but thinking what you should eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day is not necessary. Set the meals for the whole week and rotate it. You will able to eat all the meals that are necessary to intake without wasting time at the grocery store.

9. Build an emergency fund

Financial problem is no doubt one of the biggest stress givers. If you don’t be good with money, it will always create problems. Most of the times, an emergency makes people financially stressful. To fight back with the emergency, people use some easy solutions like using a credit card, taking out a loan, borrowing money from 401(k) fund, etc. All these are financial blunders.

Why commit these painful financial blunders when you have an easy solution to combat with uncertain emergencies. What is the solution? The answer is keeping an emergency fund. Yes, by building an emergency fund, you can cope up with every unforeseen financial challenges without incurring additional debts. You just need to set aside a certain amount into an emergency fund. After a certain time, you will have enough money for any unforeseen emergencies. It will reduce your financial stress to a great extent.

10. Practice frugal living

Frugal living and minimalist living go hand in hand. Frugal living is all about living life in a meaningful way. Frugal living encourages to live within your means. By doing so, you can afford to live a life that you always wanted to live. Living frugally unlocks the world of financial prospects. It will help you save money, pay off debt, fund your children’s education, build a retirement fund (see Andrew’s Investments), plan for a trip, and so on.

Novice minimalists should avoid living an extreme minimalist lifestyle

Living a minimalist lifestyle has many benefits, but you shouldn’t live it in an extreme way. By living an extreme minimalist lifestyle, you will lose the focus and feel demotivated soon. So, you can read books on minimalist living to adopt a minimalist lifestyle in a proper way. The proper guide to minimalist living is important to live with less stuff while feeling delighted. Take small steps to adopt the new lifestyle with less stuff, less debt, and less worry.

Student Loan Debt is a Crisis – Just Look at the Stats

The following is a guest post by Erica Butler, a freelance writer from Nevada working to pay off her student loan debt.

Welcome to 2017. It is a year full of change from a new presidency down to the debt that students have taken on, thanks to student loans. You have probably heard many of the current statistics about how Americans owe something like $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. This debt is owed by a rough estimate of about 44 million borrowers. When the most recent graduates from 2015 have a whopping $28,000 or more in student loan debt. This number is concerning because it is actually up an entire six percent since last year.

But, what does this actually mean for you? When you take a look at the big picture, it can be difficult to make the numbers feel personal, so we are going to break it down a bit more for you to ensure you can better understand what the student loan debt situation looks like and what it can mean for you.

Okay, let’s go ahead and take a look below.

Overall Statistics for Student Loan Debt

We talk about the total student loan debt, which is at $1.4 trillion spread across a total of 44 million borrowers. Out of those 44 million borrowers, 70 percent of them are current college students.

There is a total default rate of about 11.3 percent and a delinquency rate of 5.41 percent. Each borrower carries a rough estimate of $27,857 in debt. Some borrowers will owe much more and some will owe much less. Remember, the estimate student loan debt per borrower from 2015 is $28,000.

Overall Statistics for Federal Student Loan Debt

These statistics below are for federal student loan debt ONLY. Remember, there is a difference between federal and private student loans. Federal loans are the most common types of loans that students receive since private student loans are harder to obtain.

The total amount of outstanding federal student loan debt is equal to $1.29 trillion with direct loans equaling about $949 billion of that. There are over 40 million borrowers who have federal student loan debt. The total number of borrowers with federal direct loans is 31 million.

Interesting and Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics

Below, you will find some additional student loan debt statistics that are both interesting and shocking. We believe that these stats are good to know because they help to put the entire situation into perspective.

  • There are more Americans that hold student loan debt than there is in population in over 200 countries
  • Over 60 percent of borrowers have had to wait to purchase a vehicle due to their debt
  • Student loan debt is the second highest form of debt. It is second to mortgage debt
  • 90 percent of private student loans are co-signed
  • Over 40 percent of borrowers wait to have a family because of their debt
  • Over 70 percent of borrowers have put off saving for retirement due to their debt
  • 30 percent of borrowers have waited to get married because of student loan debt
  • 71 percent of borrowers have delayed the purchase of a home because of student loan debt
  • Student loan debt increases by about $2,667 per second
  • 37 percent of borrowers currently are paying down their debt

Students Who Incur the Most Debt

Unfortunately, student loan debt hurts certain types of students more than it does other types of students. While it may not seem fair, it is just the way things work out and it means that you need to be that much more cautious as you start to borrow student loans.

The first type of student that suffers the most is the graduate student. This is because the cost of graduate student loans is more than that of an undergraduate loan. In addition, depending on the type of graduate degree you choose, you may incur much more debt. For example, a law degree can require you to borrow up to $150,000 or more. A medical degree can cost up to $160,000 or more.

The second type of student that suffers is the student that heads off to a for-profit school. This is because the cost of classes is much higher because the school wants to make a profit. The debt here is often heftier and students cannot always keep up with the amount.

The last type of student that suffers the most is the student who drops out of college and does not complete a degree. Uncompleted degrees account for about 59 percent of student loan borrowers.

Get Your Financial Future into Perspective

The student loan debt statistics that have been provided above are shocking and they may even scare you a bit. There is a serious student loan debt problem and it does not seem to be getting better at all. If you want to secure your financial future, you need to make sure that you are careful when it comes to how much you borrow and you should always learn the most you can about your student loans before you sign the contract.

Side Jobs That Millennials Can Do Weekly

The following is a guest blog post:

Given the rising costs of living it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Millennials to lead a comfortable life without having to undertake a ‘side job’ to supplement their income. Many industries still only offer low salaries, and with the burden of living costs and often university or college debt, taking on a side job is becoming more of a necessity than a choice for younger people. If you’re looking for a way to supplement your full time job but are unsure of where to begin, there’s a huge variety of side jobs to suit, depending entirely on your background, experience and personal preferences. In this article we’ll look into the most rewarding and profitable ‘side jobs’ for Millennials that can be accomplished at least once a week, making them a reliable but sustainable way to make extra money outside of a full-time job.

Purchasing and selling domain names

Although not an option that most might consider, purchasing and selling domain names as a means of making some extra money is very profitable way to supplement your income, as well as surprisingly popular. The way of doing it is simple; identify a good domain name, then register it and sell it. However, this isn’t a viable option for just anyone – in order for it to be profitable then you must have some prior knowledge of what makes a good website, so this side job would best suited to those with experience in website building, tech or SEO. If this sounds like you, then it can prove to be hugely profitable and easily managed around any existing commitments. There are so many articles and websites out there give more in depth advice on how to get started, but the key to doing this successfully is to narrow your focus, and specialise in a particular area (for instance finance) where you’ll be able to use your own knowledge of the field or industry.

Become a Tour Guide

If you live in an area that’s popular with tourists then this is an opportunity you can exploit. You’ll need a good knowledge of the local area and it’s history (as well as undoubtedly patience) but if you have a passion for history or the town or city you live in then this can be a truly rewarding side job. You’ll need excellent communication skills, the ability to present information in an interesting and engaging way and good knowledge of facts, figures and events. It is worth mentioning though this this kind of job works best for individuals with particularly good social skills, and confidence to address a large crowd. Experience with the general public would be useful, or a background in hospitality. If you currently work part time and this is something you want to consider as a serious side job, then the International Tour Management Institute offer guidance, courses and certifications.

Dog walking

Although somewhat of a cliche, dog walking is actually seriously well paid work – providing you like dogs. If you’re looking to supplement your income, live near green space and work either part time or flexible hours then this really something to consider. The good thing about this side job is that you it doesn’t require you to have any previous experience, and can be easily scheduled into your week. The hours can be flexible, and you can take on as little or as many clients as you need to. For those who simply love dogs, if you work from home and live in the UK then you can even opt to look after someone’s dog with thanks to sites such as Borrow My Doggy. Hiring a dog walker is becoming increasingly common with Millennials, particularly in cities or for those who commute, as many dog owners aren’t able to fit in walking their dog during a long working day. Not only will you get to spend time with dogs, but this allows you to spend time outside, which might prove to be a welcome change from sitting in front of a screen. Remember though that you will need to walk rain or shine, so if you’re someone who hates going out when it’s cold or wet then you might want to think twice – that or invest in a good waterproof jacket. Start by putting up notices in your local area (a good place is notice boards in apartment blocks, coffee shops and schools) or registering on app Wag!, which will help you get in touch with pet owners in your area.

Selling second hand items

Not a particularly original idea, but many people use sites such as Ebay or Gumtree as a side job to bring in extra income and supplement their full time job. To make this profitable, you must have the ability – and preferably the desire – to hunt out a good ‘hidden gem’. Start by identifying what you already own that has the potential to be sold, then look for sellable items in second hand stores that you think will sell for a better and worthwhile price. Things that tend to sell well are vintage clothing and accessories, homewares and furniture. Know what to look for that you feel has the potential to be worth more. Quite often it may require some effort aside from just the purchasing and selling; for instance, repainting or re-polishing a second hand item of furniture that may not be in the best condition. Set aside some time each week that you dedicate a portion of time to looking for new ‘stock’ or items to sell. This is a good side job as it can be easily done with no experience and outside of an existing job, you just need to ensure that you have the passion and motivation to scour thrift and secondhand stores.

Online Trading

Online trading as a means of making an income has been very much alive since the 1990’s and if done right, can be a very rewarding and profitable side job. Best suited to those with a background (or even interest) in finance or investment, it involves using a trading platform (usually owned by a brokerage firm) to place buy or sell orders for financial securities or currencies. Before you begin, look for a reputable trading platform that offers a free trial or ‘learn function’, such as CMC Markets. You will need to take into consideration that you’ll need an initial sum of money to make your first investment, or deposit. Do your research as to which online broker offers you the best starting deposit and least commission. As there is risk involved, for someone who is needing to undertake a side job just to make ends meet then this may not be advisable. Ideally those looking to supplement their income with online trading would have previous experience of the stock market and a cushion of savings, as you can stand to lose money. Start small, and never bet more than you can afford. Done well, online trading can be an extremely profitable side job.

Tutor

Those who are naturally academic with the addition of a degree or other relevant qualifications might want to consider tutoring. Hours work well to fit around an existing career, as tutoring is usually done on a weekly basis in evenings or on weekends. Many parents are willing to spend up to $100 a session to have their children tutored accordingly until they’re exam ready, but it’s important that before considering this side job you establish whether you have suitable qualifications, as these will be your selling point to prospective parents. It’s common for parents to refer good tutors to other parents, so if you find you’re well suited to this you can steadily build your reputation and rates, making it an ideal long term side job.

 

So as you’ve seen, there are a number of both rewarding and profitable side jobs that are guaranteed to bring in that extra bit of income each week – all that’s needed is a bit of imagination and deciding which will work best for you.