Showing posts from October, 2022

Low-Spend Winter Activities

In Minnesota, the onset of fall weather means that winter is fast-approaching. I just wrote about my plans for a No-Spend November, and shared a few things I'll be doing to occupy myself. However, I think it's time to make a more comprehensive list to hopefully keep myself more accountable, and inspire more folks to join me on my Low-Spend Winter efforts. Improve Cooking Skills I'm lucky insofar as my husband and I are pretty good at cooking. However, we've been kind of in a cooking rut since I started working further from home a couple of years ago. It seems like we've been making different iterations of the same few dishes for two years, which is a little boring. So here are some ideas I have for improving our cooking skills while also working within low-spend limitations: Play "Chopped" in our own kitchen to use up overlooked ingredients Learn how to cook other cuisines - we're in a Mexican-Italian-Chinese rut and want to learn more about French and

Preparing for a Low-Spend Winter

I'm using my No-Spend November this year to kickstart a Low-Spend Winter. There will undoubtedly be plenty of financial benefits to setting aside an entire season to spend as little as possible, but there's prep work involved to make it a successful season of saving money. I've broken down my approach to a Low-Spend Winter into prep work categories below. When, Why, and How Remember learning Who-What-Why-When-and-How in school when it came to story-telling? Well, most of those questions are important here for figuring out goals. When: determine which months or timeframes fall into your low-spend winter (or other season of choice). My when consists of your typical Minnesota winter months--November, December, January, February, and March. Why: determine why you want to have a low-spend winter/other season. My why is multi-faceted. First, I want to have a solid 6 months of expenses put away in a savings account. Second, I want to pay off my new car loan early. Third, I wa

No-Spend November 2022 is ON!

Early on in this blog, I wrote about a no-spend month week-by-week. This year I'm going to do a No-Spend November to set myself up for a low-spend winter. Read on to see my goals and ground rules. No-Spend November Goals I find that no-spend months are most successful if there's a meaningful goal to reach by the end of the month. For this No-Spend November, I want to use the money I save to tackle some credit card debt I accumulated while traveling all summer (Memorial Day to mid-October travel has not been kind on my CCs). Here are my plans to achieve those goals: Limit grocery shopping to the essentials and use up what's already available in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. My usual monthly grocery shopping totals between $400 and $500, and my goal for No-Spend November is to limit the grocery budget to $200 or less. This gives me $50 to work with each week for my Misfits Market orders. Totally doable! Cut back on driving for errands. Every month, I put about 1300 miles o

Tips for Successful Decluttering

To me, there's almost no greater pleasure than a tidy and well-organized space free of excess and clutter. Honestly, it's an ideal that's hard to attain and even five years into my journey as a minimalist, I haven't been able to attain a fully clutter-free life. But what I have done is learned a lot of useful techniques for being able to declutter quickly and decisively, which I'm going to share today without much more ado. I will give a few words of caution speaking from my own experience: Living with another person who isn't as hardcore into minimalism has been one of the biggest obstacles in having a totally clutter-free life. The mismatching levels of interest in minimalism combined with shared responsibilities that are hard to equitably balance (just by virtue of being imperfect humans) has made it hard to achieve a house completely free of clutter. Living with another person who brings me great joy is a fair trade-off for having to admit that I have some i

How to Shop Secondhand as a Minimalist

I just posted about how to shop new as a minimalist, and now it's time for the secondhand shopping counterpart! If you're a seasoned thrift shopper, flea market fanatic, or antique shop admirer, shopping secondhand can be a dangerous game. ( Hey, how did I manage to fill the back of an SUV with stuff in two hours?!) Shopping secondhand has a lot of economical and ecological benefits, and it's possible to shop secondhand while also resisting the temptation to bring home too much. I have been shopping secondhand for clothes and household items since my late teens when I was a broke college student. I've continued secondhand shopping into my (not so broke) thirties now, and since starting my minimalist journey I have picked up a lot of insight on how to shop secondhand successfully. Something is a worthwhile secondhand purchase if...'s a useful item in great shape. I live in a rural area where the saying goes, "The richest farmers have the oldest tractors.

How to Shop New as a Minimalist

For some minimalists, buying brand-new items sometimes comes with varying intensities of guilty feelings. Feelings of guilt might come from the standpoint of "I shouldn't buy more things... I'm a minimalist now!" or from ecological or economical concerns such as, "But I could have bought it secondhand and kept something old out of the landfill!" or "I saw something similar for half the price in the local swap group." I'm here to tell you that it's okay to buy things new, and that you should feel no guilt to buy something in brand new condition. I do love secondhand shopping when it comes to things that I want (but don't need) or think they might be nice to have. There are some situations, though, where buying new is perfectly fine, if not outright the better thing to do versus buying used.  Trust your gut when it comes to buying brand new items if... ...they spark joy! Strong gut feelings should generally be trusted. If something makes