One of the key ideas of minimalism is consuming less. When you buy less, you have less and, logically, less money is going out the door. So what do minimalists spend their money on if not on stuff?
1. Saving, Paying off Debt and Investing
The average American is carrying a pile of consumer debt on top of student loans, mortgages and car loans. Instead of buying new stuff, you can use your money to pay for things you've already bought! In fact, financial downsizing leads quite a few people to minimalism when they realize how much money they waste on junk every year!
If you've got debt under control, there's always building an emergency fund and saving for retirement.
Many minimalists love to travel and spend money on other experiences. Even if you can't pack up your belongings in a back pack and travel Europe (though that would be lovely!), you can put your extra funds towards travel and experiences.
I'm a fan of experiences as gifts too if you are thinking ahead to a minimalist Christmas. Why not do a fun activity with a loved one or take the family away for a weekend instead of trying to find gizmos and gadgets for everyone on Black Friday? Those memories you'll make are priceless and, bonus, take up no space.
3. Higher Quality Items
When you buy less, you can afford to purchase better. Personally, I only buy jeans from one company and purses from another. I know that I can count on their quality and design. I'd rather have one nice purse from my preferred brand that will last for years than a whole pile of crappy purses that will need to be tossed at the end of the season.
You might also want to upgrade other areas of your life like eating healthier or picking up a new hobby.
4. Having a Better Work Life Balance
Instead of spending that extra money, some minimalists choose to downsize their income to fit their new set of needs. I've seen people start their own businesses, volunteer, be able to take a part time job or quit a job they hate because they no longer need the extra income. Even though this leap may seem like going the wrong direction, these have traded money for more time, more freedom, more passion and more rewarding opportunities.
Even if you don't leave your job, minimalism can give you the boldness to set better work life boundaries because more money for more stuff is no longer the end goal.