How to save money as a thrifty essentialist minimalist

Although these three lifestyles offer very different ideas they also have one important thing in comment - and that's helping you to cut costs. Here's how to adopt a 'less is more' mentality and save money as a thrifty essentialist minimalist...

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Living a thrifty lifestyle is not always easy, but with the right mindset and a few tips, you’ll be living comfortably for less. First of all, don’t be afraid of using less. There’s a difference between ‘needed’ items (like rent, clothes or food) and luxury items (or impulse buys) that are just going to clutter up your life and mean you’ll save less.

Thriftiness is often compared to minimalism as they both share similar traits and ways of thinking. For example, the theme of ‘essentialism’ runs through both lifestyles – do you really need to buy it and do you really need it in your life? However, thriftiness doesn’t mean you want to give up all your existing possessions, it’s more about buying less new things, while still getting maximum use out of the items you already have.


In reality, minimalism can be another route to thriftiness. If you’ve decided that you’re willing to give up luxuries and buying new items, you’ll save money every time you don’t add something new to your home. To make it even more sustainable, each time that you consider buying something new, think twice about it and, if it’s not essential, you can put aside that money straight away into your savings fund. That way you’ll see the financial benefit of your minimalist lifestyle straight away.

If you feel your home is too full and your storage space is constantly over-filled with clutter, you might want to sell some of your possessions. This not only allows you to create a more peaceful, spacious minimalist home but it also allows you recoup some of the money you spent on the items in the first place. Again, put the money you make from selling your belongings into a savings pot and watch it grow as you clear out more and more things.

Minimalism can be the ethos that encourages you to use less in your life. It can help you to become happier with owning less and you can enjoy the money saving advantages this brings. But it’s not just about ‘things’, it can apply to the services you pay for too. So, one of the first places to start is by looking at what you’re spending every month and, if you change to an ‘essentialist’ mindset, maybe you can make some savings.


Make a list of every separate bill you have per month and then look into ways to save money on every single one of them. For example, making phone calls using an app like Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime can save you money on phone calls compared to using your standard landline or mobile phone contract – especially if you make international calls more than local ones.

Broadband contracts can include many unwanted and unneeded extras such as phone lines, Spotify subscriptions, and TV packages. Broadband only packages are the way to go if you don’t need to want all of these added extras that result in a higher monthly bill. The same goes for mobile phone contract tariffs; they often come with many added extras to entice people, and they encourage you to upgrade your phone way before it’s strictly necessary. However, cheap sim only contracts can replace the need for expensive monthly contract prices with more data/texts/minutes than you really need. That way you only pay for what you use – just the essentials and no wasted package at the end of the month. 


Living thrifty doesn’t just mean saving money where possible; it also means reviving things that would’ve otherwise become rubbish. For example, buying used is an excellent way of getting the most out of lightly used items that would’ve been thrown out had you not bought them. So, when you really need to add something to your life – like a piece of furniture or clothing – head to a second-hand store, auction or charity shop to buy the things you need.

This also works both ways; if you realise that your unwanted items are just getting in the way and want to get rid of them, consider selling them on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, and vintage items can be sold on Etsy. As a thrifter, you’ll probably never through anything away, because everything has a value. Someone will always be interested in buying used, and you could end up making back a decent chunk of money while basically recycling your clutter or clothing at the same time.

As well as looking at things from a financial perspective, thrifty living also means looking at the bigger picture, as it’s not just about not spending money on things you don’t need. It’s also about saving money in the long run by being more efficient with your money. Plus, it’s more environmentally sustainable to reuse the items that are already in circulation rather than buying new, as every time you get a brand new item, it adds to the demand for that thing – and the manufacturers will make more.

Remember, a thrifty person doesn’t have to be financially poor – in fact, they’ve probably got more savings than anyone! They are just more aware of their spending habits, sustainably reuse what they already have, and often spend more on quality items that will last for longer.

Being a thrifty essentialist minimalist can be a satisfying mindset to have, and it gives you more freedom with your money to decide how you spend it on what is most important to you. Let me know in the comments below if you identify with any of these lifestyles, I’d love to hear all about it! 🙂


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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