Debt Reduction, Good Reading, Minimalism

What won’t you cut out of your budget?

I’ve been on a minimalism kick lately. You wouldn’t know that to look around my home office, or my home in general, but really – I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about minimalism.

Maybe the key word in that last sentiment is “thinking.”

Faith Janes posted a piece recently that talks about “Experiments in Simplicity.” Let’s face it – it’s not going to take a single weekend to declutter over four years worth of stuff. (And that’s only the amount of time that I’ve lived in this house with my husband … I don’t even want to THINK about the stuff I’ve brought with me through my 10+ years of adulthood. Or the stuff that’s still at my parents’ house.) Ms. Janes talks about the “baby steps” that one can take towards living a more simplistic life – cutting out clutter in areas like online or magazine subscriptions (!). Reducing your personal library (!!). Pack away unused clothes and dishes.

You’ll note that I have a few exclamation points by a couple items listed above. The (!) for magazine subscriptions reminds me that I have, oh, umpteen issues of magazines that are in a pile by my favorite chair. Just as fresh as the day they were delivered months ago. The (!!) talks about my personal library. I’ve been known to get rid of books now and then, but this causes a little grief in my married life. The husband and I LOVE books. The foundation of our relationship is rooted in the poetry of T.S. Eliot and shared copies of “Beowulf.”

But the fact that I own almost all of the books in Charlaine Harris’s “Southern Vampire Mysteries” series? (Those are the books that the HBO series “True Blood” is based on, for those of you who aren’t glamored by all things having to do with vampires.) That was a pretty great phase in my life, but now that I look back on it … why do I own those books? Same thing for the three out of the four “Twilight” books that I own. I went through a Janet Evanovich phase too and bought the Stephanie Plum series in paperback … I got rid of those years ago. So yes – there are books that I could part with …

But the part of Ms. Janes’ article that started causing me more personal grief? The idea of eliminating some of the extras that take a toll on your budget. These items include Starbucks coffee, manicures, car washes and the like. Well, my car – the Tank – is rarely washed. Heck, these days, the Tank is barely driven, so I don’t need to worry about the money I’m socking away to make sure that my ride is sparkling. I even considered to donating the car since Tank just sits around.

I’ve spent about five minutes writing and deleting my feelings about coffee and manicures. My addiction to the bean is well known amongst my friends … and while I don’t drink a Starbucks latte on a daily basis, I drink them frequently enough that I do not want to know what my monthly coffee budget is. As for manicures? I’m not your typical girly girl … I worked in an office where I was surrounded with (gorgeous) women who made manicures and pedicures a regular expenditure. However, I’m going to be getting a manicure/pedicure in the next week – it’s a reward to myself for meeting and exceeding a weight loss goal. I’m also terrible with my nails. I use a regular ‘ol nail clipper to maintain them. I don’t file, sometimes I buff under dire circumstances and the last pedicure I got was in June. Plus, I’m heading to Denver for work next week and it’s a weird little confidence booster that I invest in.

So the long and short of this ramble is this: I love the idea of simplicity and minimalism. My husband and I trucked a trunkload of items to our local Savers last Sunday, I’m sure there will be parts of this upcoming weekend that will find us decluttering. But there are some things that I haven’t given up yet. And there are some things that I’m not ready to give up yet.

What are some things that you won’t give up?

Working on Your Debt?

Join our FREE newsletter to get even more helpful tips straight to your inbox.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

3 thoughts on “What won’t you cut out of your budget?

  1. I had to think about this one for a minute…I think reducing spending or “budget de-cluttering” is not the same and does not have the same impact as physical de-cluttering and simplifying. Certainly if one of your goals is to save money or reduce spending, spending should be looked at and none of us should be spending money or shopping simply to do it.

    But…this is not an all-or-nothing scale. I greatly enjoy a Caribou latte. And I don’t think this is “clutter” or “complication”. For starters, when you finish a latte, you’re finished. There is nothing that sits in your basement for 4 years or has to be donated to Savers or sold on eBay. (you should use reusable cups, something I need to do more of!). Second, I often enjoy a latte or a coffee or food with a friend, and that is absolutely an enrichment to my life, NOT a clutter or complication.

    Your manicures? I would still put those in the “uncluttered” class. Sure, you can live without them. But given the choice of spending money on a manicure vs. a new gadget or pair of shoes (assuming you have all the shoes and gadgets you already need), a manicure is helping to employ someone in this country, and does not sit in a box after you’re done with it. I’d consider something like Netflix in the same category – when you’re done watching the show or movie you want to watch, there’s nothing “left” to take up space or deal with later.

    I’m not advocating frivolous spending of money, but the reality is that do spend money on some things, and I guess I don’t subscribe to this “all-or-nothing” philosophy of simplification I’ve read in some of your linked articles – to me it has to be a continuum.

  2. As always, thanks for sharing. I’ve recently started following Dave Ramsey so this topic has been on the top of my mind. I think there are a few things that I should eliminate from my budget like the Vitamin Water I purchase every morning for $1.79 or the lunch that I could pack instead of paying $7-$10 by going out. I’m not sure what I wouldn’t remove though. I mean there are some things that obviously can’t go away anytime soon like the house payment, utility bills, etc. I guess after thinking about it, the one thing I wouldn’t eliminate would be my cell phone. LOL, I can’t live without that thing. Lame I know, but I do use it a ton for work. I would love to eliminate my car payment from my budget though.

  3. @Paul – Why do I get the sense that we’re going to be having a coffee date and debating in the near future? πŸ™‚

    @Tacori – Thanks for the comment. I wish I could eliminate the cell phone, but I’m in the same boat with you – it’s my lifeline to work.

    Good luck eliminating your car payment from your budget. YOU CAN DO IT. I had car payments for about 10 years of my adult life and have been free of the car payment for the past two … there’s nothing like it. πŸ™‚ Keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *