Minimalistic Mania

Do you want to save money, reduce stress, and live a more intentional life? Then you need to embrace minimalism – and fast!

Are you a typical American, working long hours spending money on things that really don’t matter? Are you overwhelmed by both the clutter in your home and in your mind? Are you dreading being able to keep up with the bills while keeping up with the Jones’s? Is your employer talking about voluntary and involuntary separations cutting your knees from under you in being able to provide for your family?

You need to discover the transformative power of minimalism. By eliminating all excess from your life designer clothes, expensive cars, various décor, and the new techy gadgets you can truly simplify your life and create a hyper focus on the things that truly matter.

Advantages of Minimalism

  • Easy to build and maintain emergency fund
  • Increased investing percentage of income to retire early
  • Minimal stress for job loss due to low debt
  • Better work-life balance
  • Less time cleaning and maintaining residence
  • No need to keep up with Jones’s
  • Focus on experiences and human connections over material possessions
  • Minimize Expenses and more mindful of purchases

Emergency Fund

Any financial blog will state you need 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund available in a high yield savings account. Some may say more if you are in a role that has variable pay, or if you and your partner are in the same industry where you both risk being laid off at the same time. It is much easier to save an emergency fund when own used reliable vehicles like Toyota/Hondas and live in a small house that averages no more than 600 sq ft per person. Your two biggest expenses, housing and vehicles are much smaller than your peers which then will allow you to fund an emergency fund a lot easier. Other expenses in your budget would also be minimalized. Your budget for groceries, fine dining, and fast food will be lower than normal. Your property taxes and insurance will be less due to having less house and less valuable things. You cost of heating and cooling will be lower, you may in fact choose to live in a more mild climate to further  You won’t own timeshares, boats, jet skis, RVs, or other toys that are both expensive to purchase and expensive to maintain.

Retire Early

Due to having minimal expenses, you can increase your contributions towards your retirement fund. Odds are you will max out your contributions for retirement and health savings account. You may also contribute towards a backdoor roth conversion or fund a taxable brokerage account. You may be able to put in 50%+ of your monthly income towards investments which will naturally allow you to be financially independent and retire early.



Job Loss

Minimal expenses equals minimal stress for job loss. If you have a $100K+ job with $100K+ expenses, a loss of a job and income is quite significant. A $100K+ job loss with $25K worth of expenses is much more negligible, you could get a full time job at Target to minimize any bleeding with your budget. There is a sense of certainty in being able to pay bills and survive which will allow you to speak up more at work, take chances, and be successful in life.

Work-life Balance

Wouldn’t you love to go on a sabbatical for a year? Or if you had the birth of a child, to be able to take time off to enjoy their company and growing up? Having minimal expenses can allow you to do that. Those who were more financial stable and minimized expenses had one spouse take a full year off to support their new born child. Others have been able to take time off to support parents, grandparents, or other family members thru sickness or end of life care. People who have minimal expenses can afford to have one spouse stay home and support the growth and development of their children.

Less cleaning and maintenance

House cleaning time per week

  • 1 Bed 1 Bath – 1 ½ hours
  • 2 Bed 1 Bath- 2 ½ hours
  • 3 Bed 2 Bath- 3 hours
  • 4 Bed 3.5 Bath- 4 hours
  • 5 Bed 4.5 Bath- 5 hours

Maintenance ( and

  • Avg $1 per sq ft per year
    • Roofing
    • Air Conditioning
    • Furnace
    • Windows
    • Landscaping

Keeping up with the Jones’s

Minimalists care more about time and experiences than material possessions. A home that can provide a place to sleep, a place to cook, and a place to conduct leisure activity after work is all that is needed. If working on-site, minimalists may consider living close to work to save the $0.60-$0.90 per mile needed for a vehicle and simply walk/bike/take a bus in lieu of that.

Some data for the Jones’s

Median Income: $35,793
Median New Home Price: $448,569
Student Loan Debt Per Student: $39,921
Credit Card Debt per Holder: $7,564
US Millionaires: 22,791,337
Food Stamp Recipients: 44,580,829
Average car payment $780
Median savings: $11,250-$54,320 based on age
Median retirement account: $2,000-$85,000 based on age

Human Connections

What truly matters most in life? Human connection. The ability to spend time with loved ones. Seeing friends and family grow, develop and fulfill their potential. This is genetic within us being a tribal people. If you didn’t support the tribe, you died. Your tribe is your family, your friends, your community. Maybe you are a part of certain clubs. Maybe you do certain activities like kickboxing, workout, woodworking, gaming, golfing, basketball, swimming, hiking, cooking, or other things. Maybe you are a part of a book club and discuss books that are transformative in nature with others. Or maybe you spend time with working on cars or motorcycles and spend time with others doing the same. Regardless, you will get most fulfillment when the primary focus is set on developing human connections and experiences with others.

What reference experiences do you want in life. What reference experiences that involve human connection?

Major moments:

  • Falling in love
  • The birth of a child
  • The birth of a grandchild
  • A reconciliation or reunion with a loved one
  • Immersing yourself in a new culture or way of life
  • Making a big life altering decision for yourself or your family
  • Showing your feelings for someone
  • Mastering a difficult skill

Smaller moments:

  • Running into a friend you haven’t seen in awhile
  • Coming home to a happy loving pet
  • Quitting something making you unhappy
  • Supporting loved ones
  • Working out and eating healthy
  • A child’s first words, taking your hand for the first time, giving you an enthusiastic hug

Negative moments:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce, separation, or break in relationship
  • Loss of job
  • Near death experiences
  • Getting diagnosed with debilitating disease or cancer
  • Suffering trauma
  • Sustaining serious injuries

Good or bad, we all go through various things throughout our life. While we are all unique in our perspectives and viewpoints, we all go thru some similar milestones. The key to happiness is finding out what milestones you’d like to accomplish and work on getting there.

Focusing on Material Possessions

Now, what happens when you don’t focus on human connection but rather goods or services? Well, the hedonic treadmill/hedonic adaptation will eventually bring your happiness to a baseline level. Maybe you buy that expensive car you’ve always dreamed up. For me, I’ve always loved the Dodge Challenger, the Ford Raptor and the Jeep Wagoneer.  And for me, I would feel an immense amount of joy, pride, and overall sense of accomplishment for the first day, the first week, the first month of ownership. Eventually though, I know that owning one would eventually bring that joy away as it would become a new norm owning one. Yet I am now stuck with a thousand plus car payment if I was to lease or finance one. The lease/finance payment that will last for years and years gives me much more dread than being able to drive a vehicle. And if I can afford to pay cash? Well, that cash could have been thrown into the stock market being able to support an early retirement if I was to live simply so I can simply live in the future.

What are other items we can correlate the hedonic treadmill on? What about a house? Do I really need a McMansion and the insurance, property taxes and general maintenance?  Do I need a swimming pool, hot tub, tennis court, basketball court, garden, and other things on my property that either need my time to maintain or cost an arm and a leg to procure? Or would it be better if I simply joined a gym that provided the swimming pool, hot tub, tennis court, rock climbing, steam room, and other items and allow the maintenance and procurement to be handled by someone else with me paying a monthly fee? What if I lived in a smaller house that I could spend less time cleaning versus a large house where I have to spend more time cleaning or spend money on someone to clean a few times a month?

What about relationships? Is it more important to be with someone that shares similar values in life or someone who is smoking hot? I had a few coworkers in my life give me different pieces of advice. One was it is more important to find someone who can cook really well because you don’t do that other thing too often. The other is it is better to find a partner who is educated and has a good career, they don’t have to know how to cook because there is always carryout. Regardless, see what your beliefs are and live that life, instead of jumping from relationship to relationship because of the thrill of the chase.

What about a boat? God wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take the family on boat rides in the summer time and make memories? Wouldn’t it be nice to just soak up the sun rays, get a nice tan, and have some drinky drinks in total relaxation? Better to rent than to buy. You don’t have to do general maintenance. You don’t have to buy an expensive truck to tow it. You don’t have to dedicate space to store at your home. You don’t have to dedicate space for offsite storage during off-season times. You remove the liability of a docking space and docking fee if you are in a place you can boat year round.

What about a timeshare? Somewhere you can take your friends or family and spend some leisure time? Somewhere you can spend and make memories on? Again, better to rent a place than to own a timeshare. Horrible return on investment and you have to spend time each year in the same place. Enjoyment may go down doing the same thing each year. You may not get or reserve the times you want. Yearly fees to have and to maintain can continue to add up. You may not have an avenue to offload the timeshare and may have to sell, give away for free, or give money for someone else to take it on. Not cool man, not cool. 

Focusing on Minimalism

So, what doesn’t matter in life? What can be eliminated? Expensive material possessions. You need a form of transportation that is preferably reliable to get you from point A to point B. You don’t need a $70,000-$100,000+ vehicle to do that. If it gets scratched or damaged, you will feel a sense of urgency to get that fixed. If it was a beater type car for you, it wouldn’t matter, your investment was much more minimal and that flaw gives your car character. A house or home only needs to provide a place to sleep, a place to prepare meals, and a place to conduct whatever leisure activities you enjoy. Maybe you enjoy taking baths and have a special bathtub to do that every night. Maybe you enjoy working out and have a set of dumbbells and elliptical machine to take care of your cardio and strength training. Maybe pizza is and always is your favorite dish and you’d want nothing more than to have a special pizza oven. The key is to make your house your home with the things that you most enjoy and not clutter it up with things that don’t give you purpose and fulfillment.  Let every space have a purpose and let the things that give you purpose have space.

What happens when you get rid of material possessions and excess? The results can be astounding. By eliminating all of the things that don’t matter, this should allow your savings rate to skyrocket. This can allow you to save 15%-25%+ of your take home pay and easily save a year into an emergency fund. You can navigate thru the trials and tribulations of life. You can plow mountains of money into retirement and retire early to spend more time on developing human connections.

You don’t have the stress of consistently having to maintain your possessions. You don’t have your possessions owning you versus you simply owning your possessions. You get the most important resource back, time.

Minimize Your Expenses

One exercise that I highly recommend is figuring out what you make on an after-tax basis per hour of work and then seeing how many hours of work it takes to buy the things that you need and use on a monthly basis. Let’s take a hypothetical $30 after tax or $0.50 a minute as an example. When I am making any type of purchase, I can ask myself if it is worth the number of hours needed to make that purchase.

  • Is it worth it to go to Taco Bell and get two items off the dollar menu for $2? Sure, it only costs 4 minutes of my time.
  • What about a $5 T shirt? Hell yeah, that’s only about 10 minutes of work.
  • Going out to a good restaurant and spending $120 on dinner and drinks for two? 3 hours of work, maybe a nice occasional treat.
  • Going out to Ruth Chris and spending $240 on a meal and drinks? 6 hours of work, only on rare occasions

You can do the same planning for future purchases as well if you were to pay all cash:

  • Jeep Compass for $36,000? 1,200 hours of work, about half a year, reasonable but maybe a used Toyota or Honda would be better use of time.
  • Ford Raptor for $110,000 3,666 hours of work, about 1.75 years
  • A $250,000 house? 8,333 hours of work, over 4 years
  • A $500,000 house? 16,666 hours of work over 8 years

The question is, is the purchase worth the sacrifice of your finite time, the most valuable resource you have, in your life. Questions I ask myself to support removing items to improving my life:

  • Do I love it?
  • Do I use it?
  • Does it work?
  • If I were to buy right now how much would I pay?
  • If I sold it now, how much would I get for it?

You can look at your budget and see opportunities where you want to save time. Below is an example of many mandatory items and discretionary items within my budget.


# of hours needed to work/month






Mortgage @ 3% Interest








Property Tax




Dog Food/Medicine/Vet




Car Insurance








Home Insurance








Car Maintenance
























Home Owners Association




Mint Mobile Cell #1




Mint Mobile Cell #2



# of hours needed to work/month






Dining Out




Dog Sitting Fee




Car Lease




Cleaning Fee (Home)




Fast Food




Coopers Hawk Wine Membership




Planet Fitness




Sony Playstation




Amazon Prime




St Julian Wine Membership


Here I can see my biggest expense, having to work 27 hours a week to pay for my mortgage or about 40 hours a week to pay to live somewhere (mortgage, property tax, insurance). Not going to lie, we have too much house (1,950 sq ft ranch with two people and a dog, or 3,900 sq ft including basement). I’ve read in the past about 600 sq ft a person is a comfortable barometer to use and we are way above that threshold.  For a 900 sq ft ranch with a 2-car garage (1,800 sq ft with a basement), we probably could get a small mortgage and quickly pay it off, eliminating the need to have a mortgage payment in our budget and would have enough house to have one child. We could also cut our property taxes by 1/3. It would be painful to downsize with higher interest rates required on a new mortgage, transaction costs to buy and to sell a house, and an increase in property tax on a new home bought thru reassessing the property taxes. The time saved for me could be about 30 hours of work per month, which is significant.

An addition to our family, our dog, costs me about 15 hours of work a month. Half of that is going towards general maintenance of food, special medicine for her heart condition, and vet appointments. The other half is to have a puppy sitter stop by when I am not working remote to spend time with our dog. For us, it is well worth it because she is a part of our family and brings us immense happiness and joy. Not willing to cut that in our budget. Many people do not take into account the cost of having a pet and many people including myself do not realize how much joy a pet can bring into a family.

I also pay a cleaning person to stop by our house to clean worth about 4 hours of my time each month. I am good with that as I can work on increasing my hourly rate by being more competent in my job, and do not have to spend the time doing some of that work.

I would highly encourage you to go through your budget, eliminate what doesn’t bring you joy, and maximize the use of your own time.


Minimalism is great because it promotes a simpler and more intentional lifestyle that prioritizes what truly matters. By owning fewer possessions and focusing on experiences and relationships, minimalism can reduce stress, increase happiness, and improve overall well-being. Ultimately, minimalism encourages individuals to live with purpose and intention, which can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.