Before I dive into how minimalism changes your relationship with money, I want to first offer up a disclaimer: For the most part, I haven’t talked about money very much on the blog (although that is going to change). And that’s because in the past, I haven’t had the greatest relationship with money. What do I mean by that?
Well, my dad used to do marketing, and he always called me a marketer’s dream, meaning that it took very little to sell me on a product. Throughout my teenager years and the early part of my adulthood, I thought that if someone told me that I needed something, then, well, I absolutely did need it! But not only that, I really bought into the idea that having more and more (and having the best of everything) really was the key to happiness. I also allowed myself to believe that I was somehow less of a person if I didn’t have everything. I convinced myself that everyone around already had everything, and that I needed to have it too just to fit in. Needless to say, I didn’t have the money to literally buy the best of everything, so I often I would spend money that I didn’t have.
Then, something miraculous happened. I started to hear people talk about minimalism. Initially, I just felt cool to have so little. But then, the more I began to practice minimalism, the more I began to feel like a weight felt like it was being lifted from my shoulders. I was free! I was waking up to the fact that I had been buying into a bunch of lies for a long time (like the idea that things can buy you happiness).
I am sharing my journey with you for a couple of reasons, but please know first off, that I am in no way perfect. I still struggle from time to time with money (and if you find yourself in the same boat and need a supportive ear to listen, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). But I am also sharing my journey with you because I have discovered that while budgets, envelope systems, and multiple checking accounts may work to break the negative relationship with money for some, what worked for me was minimalism.
Below are just some of the things that I have realized in my journey:
I am not defined by my possessions or belong because of what I own.
I am really embarrassed to admit that I used to define my self worth (in part) by what I owned. And its all too easy to fall into this trap. Whether its the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the tech we own, or the house we live in, we believe that we have a certain image to maintain in order to be “worth” something. And this is simply not true! We are worth something because we belong to God. It’s as simple as that. All too often, we find ourselves unable to accept our own self worth (or do things that will cultivate our inner beauty) because we feel like we have to get our outward image together first. I will work on the real me, or do things that genuinely matter to me, AFTER I get my outward image under control. Friend, the day will never come when you 100% have it all together.
That less is more. Really.
There have been times in the past when I went to a store, bought something, and gone home, only to realize that I already own it. Seriously! I also used to watch YouTube videos where people showed off their hauls or makeup collections and found myself believing that this was what “normal” looked like. And I wanted nothing more than to be normal!
To me, minimalism isn’t about creating a new normal. Rather, it is about embracing what normal really looks like around the world. Once, when my husband was in high school, he went on a mission trip to Haiti and accidentally knocked a Haitian man’s t-shirt into a muddy puddle. It was the only shirt the man owned. That is the real normal around the world. Having 120 pairs of shoes is not.Minimalism isn't about creating a new normal. Click To Tweet
That owning less is valuing myself.
Dave Ramsey once said that when you spend money you don’t have, you are robbing no one but yourself. I don’t know why, but when I heard that, it really opened my eyes. In the same way, owning less is valuing myself and valuing the things that really matter to me like my family, my goals, and my future. When I place the people and dreams I value over my possessions, I suddenly feel happy and confident in my choices.
True happiness can never be bought or sold.
Remember me talking about how, in the past, I used to go shopping only to discover that I already owned something? I also used to go to the mall and genuinely, truly think that if I had that blouse or that lipstick that I would finally be happy. And guess what? I never even made it out of the parking lot, before that happy feeling faded away. True happiness, happiness that lasts, cannot be bought at a store or on Amazon. Happiness comes from friends, family, faith, and living out our hopes. And no price tag can ever be placed on those things.
That change has to be genuine.
I think that’s why minimalism worked in changing my relationship with money when nothing else would… budgets, allowances, and all the rest. Ultimately, any change you make in life has to be genuine, meaning that it has to come from the heart. Minimalism allowed my wallet to finally be in line with my values.
And now I want to hear from you! Are you a minimalist? Are you willing to try it?
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