Minimalist living is becoming increasingly popular. With the boom in decluttering thanks to the likes of Marie Kondo, some of us have gotten rid of things that don’t ‘spark joy’ or organised our homes to reduce clutter. For some, embracing a minimalist lifestyle and mindset has helped in achieving a simpler and more productive life.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism is living or making do with less, yet experiencing more joy and satisfaction. An intentional choice, minimalism can be applied in a variety of ways – from decluttering your home, to reducing the noise which can distract you from important things, or even getting your finances in order.
Practising minimalism also means to have less focus on material items that do not add value and to place more emphasis on priceless things such as relationships. Many of those who lead a minimalist life have said that they are happier and are less stressed than when their minds were trapped with what they deem as superficial thoughts and worries.
Starting a minimalist life
There are multiple definitions of living a minimalist life. Regardless of whether minimalist living is owning just 10 pieces of clothing or having a well organised desktop screen, minimalist living should be one that suits your needs and is sustainable and achievable.
A minimalist typically retains only essential things. Generally, there are 3 questions you should ask yourself when embarking on a minimalistic lifestyle:
- Do you use it?
- Do you need it?
- Do you love it?
3 yeses? Keep it. No to all 3? Get rid of it – donate, sell, recycle, or throw. For everything else in between – well, you would need to decide whether keeping it would offer you peace of mind or if it would just add to unnecessary clutter.
Once you have that sorted out, you may want to look into organising your items. The system in which you organise them should make sense to you – for example, you might want to put your collection of action figures in a display cabinet and arrange your shirts by occasion. That way, you will know where to look and it will be neat, tidy, and purposeful.
You will need to maintain this as well. When you acquire more stuff, be sure to #konmari your items again so that you can keep up with living a minimalist life.
Minimalist living and your finances
Applying minimalism to your finances is beneficial as it forces you to be prudent with your money and manage your finances better. But first, you need to be clear on your needs and wants.
Needs are mandatory expenses such as your rent or mortgage, bills, utilities, and health-related spending. Other needs may include investing in yourself such as paying for courses that will help you to level up at your job or basic healthcare equipment to maintain an active life.
Wants are things or experiences that are nice to have but not necessary. Buying yourself a PS5 because all your friends have it might not be a financially-savvy decision.
Here are 3 ways to practise financial minimalism:
1. Spend wisely
Don’t be mistaken – minimalist living doesn’t mean you can’t go on a shopping spree. But when you do, you should ask yourself, “do I really need this blouse?”, “does it make sense to spend S$500 on this watch?”, “will this last me for years to come?” – Second guess yourself and really discern if the purchase makes sense before parting with your hard-earned money. An easy way to ensure you are spending mindfully is to use the Kakeibo method.
And if you decide that a new MacBook Pro is necessary for work, then do yourself one better by using the right credit card to pay for it. For example, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card offers 1.5% cashback on all your spending with no minimum spend.
2. Simplify your finances
Cut out the headaches of having different bank accounts for varying reasons. Consolidating your money into a single account can help you manage your cash flow better, giving you peace of mind. Additionally, if you choose to save your money in a high-interest rate bank account, you will be able to grow your savings faster.
For instance, the Standard Chartered Bonus$aver account offers up to 2.38% bonus interest on your first S$80,000 eligible balance, and if you spend S$2,000 or more on your card (debit or credit), credit your salary to this account, insure or invest in eligible products, and pay for at least three bills online, you stand to earn an estimated annual interest of S$1,904 at 2.38% interest per annum!
3. Find a balance
Part of being a financial minimalist is being able to find that balance between your needs and wants. It is important for you to know where you stand financially, and what is right for your pockets. Spend and invest your money on what makes sense to you and based on your capacity, instead of being peer pressured into something you are not ready for such as a car. Again, minimalism is about focusing on what is important to YOU.
Achieving a minimalist life may not be easy as you may sometimes have to decide to discard things that may hold sentimental value. However, you would find that decluttering your life will help you experience tranquillity and make room for discoveries. The good thing is if you want to practise financial minimalism, you can reach out to a financial advisor at Standard Chartered to recommend financial options suitable for you. Good luck and may this new chapter spark more joy in your life!
Deposit Insurance Scheme:
Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$75,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured. For clarity, investment products are not deposits and do not qualify as an insured deposit under the Singapore Deposit Insurance and Policy Owners’ Protection Schemes Act 2012 Rev. Ed, Cap 77B.
*Please visit sc.com/sg/JumpStart for full terms and conditions of the JumpStart account Product Terms.
This article is brought to you by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited. All information provided is for informational purposes only.