The practice of Minimalism has great benefits, including decluttering our homes and helping us get clear about what’s really important in life. However, if you’ve been wondering how to save money and how minimalism can help you become more money savvy, read on!

How to save money: 20 Minimalist tips

These Minimalist tips for how to save money are ones that I’ve personally found helpful. You may find that not all of them are applicable to you, and that’s okay! Take what works; discard what doesn’t.

1. Being intentional with your spending

When we stop and think about our spending, it reduces the risk of not spending money on things we don’t really need. However, this doesn’t mean not spending anything.

Being intentional with how you spend your money means you’re more likely to get use out of items and not discard them a short time afterwards. You’re much clearer about the item’s purpose and realistic about how much you’ll use it before you press “buy”.

2. Buy things on sale

The caveat to this tip is to make sure the ‘on-sale’ items are genuinely what you need or something you normally buy. Otherwise you’re buying stuff just because it’s on sale.

Another tip is to buy in the end of season sales. For example, I bought a winter coat as we were heading into spring but I’m still using it some days due to the weather here in the UK!

3. Not impulse buying

If you’re prone to buying things on the spur of the moment, put it in your online basket and leave it for a week. Then, return to the item and see if you still need it.

Often, we’re drawn to purchase quickly if something is on sale or there’s a “time-limited” deal. However, there are many times I’ve seen “time-limited” deals and months later the item and the ‘deal’ are still available.

These marketing tactics are designed to convince us we need items and we need them now. The ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO) can lead to us impulse-buying. Instead, beat the marketers at their game and give yourself time to think before buying.

4. Prioritise your spending

By prioritising I mean make sure you can pay for all your essentials first, such as your bills, food and drink, and transportation. Then, if you can, put some money into savings or a pot for emergencies. After that, you can spend the remaining money on what you want. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet for years so I know what I have coming in and going out each month, and therefore what I can save.

However, I also believe that balance is important. Living in the ‘here and now’ is just as important as looking ahead to the future. I don’t put every spare penny into savings. Sometimes I want to spend money on experiences. I’m not talking anything elaborate – it might be as simple as buying a coffee and a sandwich for my husband and I after we’ve been walking.

5. Reduce your time on social media

I’ve noticed that we’re getting more personalised adverts on our social media feeds; tempting us to spend more money. If you limit your time on social media this will reduce your exposure to adverts that might tempt you to buy, thereby reducing your spending.

Also, I’d recommend unsubscribing from retailers’ email newsletters. These are designed to hook you back onto their website and spend money on things you might not even need.

6. Use what you have

There are times when I’ve bought food, beauty and cleaning products without first checking the cupboards. Inevitably, I end up buying duplicates and have a cupboard full of surplus items!

So, check the cupboards before you go shopping and if you already have duplicates, use what you have before buying any more. One exception, I feel, is if you see an item that you already have that’s on sale. If it’s something you buy regularly it might make sense to buy more while it’s at a discounted price.

7. Don’t upgrade or buy new until you really need to

In particular, I’m thinking about mobile phones but this could apply to other items.

I’ve been used to upgrading my phone whenever the contract is over. However, this time round I’m going to keep the phone for as long as I can. I’m going to switch to a SIM only contract so that I can save money on my monthly bill.

8. Take care of what you have

My Mum’s microwave lasted about 30 years! I’m not sure how safe it was but we all survived so assume we’re okay!

These days, however, the products we buy don’t seem to last as long, so I think it’s important to take care of them so we can prolong their life.

For example, I wipe down surfaces and appliances after using them. I keep my car checked and serviced each year, and I follow the care instructions for my clothes to reduce the wear on them.

9. Sell what you don’t need

You might be able to get some money back on items you no longer need. I sold a lot of items during our big declutter which helped us to pay for some of our moving costs.

Be aware that you may not get the amount you really want for your items; I had to settle for less than I wanted in some cases. However, this was another valuable lesson in being mindful of my purchases in future.

10. Exercise for free

I’m lucky to have a home gym. This didn’t appear overnight and it took me a few years to purchase all the equipment, which mostly I bought second hand on Ebay. I’m grateful that I can exercise in the comfort of my own home and save on a gym membership.

However, if weights aren’t your thing you could go running or walking, and there are lots of workout videos on YouTube so you can exercise without spending money.

11. Be aware of your energy usage

For example, turn off lights if you’re not using the room. Switch off plug sockets so things aren’t left on standby, such as a television or stereo. When it’s cold wear blankets and see if that helps, before turning up the thermostat.

Also, when it comes to water usage, switch the tap off when brushing your teeth rather than leaving it running. Try not to leave the shower running for too long before you get into it.

12. If you can, buy quality items over cheap items

I know this isn’t possible for everyone, so you have to do whatever is feasible in your situation. Some people have no choice other than to buy cheaper items.

Where possible I try to buy items that are better quality, with the view that they will last longer. There are times I’ve bought something cheaper and it hasn’t lasted long, so I’ve ended up buying a higher-quality item anyway.

If you want a better-quality item and it’s not something you need right away, you could save money over a set period of time so that you can buy the better quality version. 

13. Become low maintenance

I have to be transparent and say that being ‘low maintenance’ is not a conscience thing for me; I just am low maintenance. I don’t say this to brag; it’s just there are some things I can’t be bothered with!

I don’t get my nails done, or my hair dyed. I only have a handful of makeup products but I don’t use them very often. The one thing I do spend money on is getting my hair cut because I like to keep it healthy.

By the way, there’s no judgement from me if you do like doing these things, because we’re all different! However, if you’re looking to save money could you, for example, reduce the frequency at which you have beauty treatments, or save them for special occasions?

14. Buy what you like, rather than for trends

I don’t tend to care about trends when it comes to fashion, which you’ll realise if you see my dress-sense!

However, I tend to get drawn into technology trends, so I have to be careful to not buy items that seem useful but that I don’t actually need.

Again, it comes down to being mindful with your spending. Are you drawn towards an item because it’s trendy at that moment in time, or is it a genuine need?

15. Practice gratitude

Being grateful is about focusing on what we do have rather than longing for things we don’t.

This isn’t about ‘toxic positivity’ where you deny how you feel and tell yourself to “Just be positive”. Life can be challenging and it’s not healthy to deny how we feel about what’s going on in our lives.

Gratitude is about acknowledging how we feel, acknowledging the situation we’re in, and stepping back to get a wider perspective.

For example, if I see a ‘flashy’ car, sometimes I imagine what it would feel like to own one. Maybe, momentarily, I feel envious of the person driving the car. However, I then think about my own car and I’m reminded that it does exactly what I need it to do, and I’m grateful for that. Other people may need transportation and be unable to afford it, so I’m reminded that I’m very fortunate.

16. Travel out of season if you can

We used to travel out of season but because our jobs are changing soon we’ll have to travel during school holidays. However, because it’s just the two of us we’ll probably be able to find cheaper deals for smaller apartments.

I recognise this isn’t the case for everyone, especially if you have children. If you can, save over a period of months so that you don’t have to pay for your vacation all at once.

Do your research on places to stay – would it be cheaper to go somewhere within your home country, rather than abroad? When I was a child, all our vacations were in the UK and I have wonderful memories of them. I think it’s more about the types of memories you make than where you make them.

17. Cancel subscriptions you’re not using

We pay for a couple of subscription services because we get a lot of use out of them. We cancelled Netflix about a year ago because we weren’t using it any more.

If there’s a show you want to watch on a subscription service you’re not subscribed to, you potentially could purchase the subscription for a month and cancel it after you’ve watched the show.

18. Meal plan

Meal planning will not only save you money but will help when you put your shopping list together so you only buy what you need. This also reduces the risk of unexpected things being put in your shopping basket, although sometimes my husband sneaks stuff in!

19. Batch cooking

For me, batch-cooking reduces the risk of buying takeout food when I’m tired at the end of the day. The meal is already prepared, so all it needs is to be reheated.

If you’re worried about getting bored of the same meals, you could freeze some of the portions so they can be eaten at another time.

20. Buy store brand foods rather than well-known brands

Sometimes the well-known brand is better but more often than not I can’t tell the difference. I once read that well-known brands and store brands are made in the same factories. Perhaps the ingredients vary slightly but other than that, it’s only the packaging that’s different!

Also, be aware of the psychology that stores use. They want to make it as easy as possible for people to spend their money. The well-known brands tend to be at eye level on the shelves as our eyes naturally gravitate there. So, if you want to find the cheaper brands look to the higher and lower shelves.

I hope these money-saving tips have been helpful. Let me know in the comments if you have any other Minimalist tips for how to save money!