Those of us that wish to build ever-growing passive cash flow and wealth would do well to take a minimalist approach to life once in a while. We all try to keep spending in check, but I think it would be useful to try some positive challenges on minimalism from time to time.
So, here’s a new and sporadic series of articles outlining some challenges that we can take to improve our financial situation and even more importantly to increase our appreciation of other aspects of life.
Minimalist Challenge #1
Minimalist challenge number one is to go one whole week without buying anything unnecessary.
-You can spend money on necessities and basic comforts like rent, mortgage, all bills, gas, and medication.
-You can only buy food from a supermarket or wherever it is that you normally buy most of your food. You must cook all your own meals (or eat packaged food from the supermarket if you want to…), and you must bring your lunch to work made of food you purchased at this one place.
-Yes, that means no eating out, no buying Starbucks coffee on the way to work, and no Hershey chocolate bars from the vending machine at lunch.
-You can’t buy any gadgets or anything like that this week, even if they seem important.
-You can’t buy any new clothes or shoes or things for your house like furniture or decorations.
-If you have a partner, children, or a friend, try to get them involved as well. Things are easier in groups.
-Instead of focusing on what you’re not buying, focus on positive, useful, and fulfilling ways to spend your time by learning new things, getting in tune with nature, spending time with those you care for, rearranging and re-imagining what you already have, going to the library, going to the beach, going for a walk, exercising more often, and so forth. The point of this exercise is not to go without; it’s to shed some unhelpful things to realize there are a few things in our life that we don’t need and are actually holding us back.
-It’s meant to be a little annoying. Maybe you buy chips from the vending machine at work everyday, or go out to the convenience store for lunch. It will be difficult to suddenly stop this stuff, but that’s the point. Sometimes we get into habits of doing things and we don’t realize how much they really drain from us, whether it be from our wallets, our health, or our attention.
Of course, if you wish to try this challenge, tailor it to suit you. If you absolutely have to eat out during lunch at work, such as with clients and whatnot, then skip that part and replace it with something else. If a week sounds too difficult, try to limit it to three days or so and give it your best try. If, on the other hand, the challenge seems like a walk in the park, try a month or more. This can be a recurring challenge that you attempt once in a while and increase the length each time. In fact, I think a month is the most meaningful amount of time because it gives you time to truly reflect upon the situation and to focus on developing a new skill or two.
Try it out!