Minimalist Hacks That Will Save You Hella Coins

After decades of shopping until we drop, many are finally turning deaf ears onto the "less is more" proverb.


After decades of shopping until we drop, many are finally turning deaf ears onto the "less is more" proverb, in the form of minimalist living. Committing to a minimalist lifestyle requires the following: one must get rid of almost all materialistic items and intentionally focus only on what matters. Removing any distractions that stops one from doing what they love, or requires extensive upkeep, is essential.

Most minimalists sell their homes, downsize, and possess little items. They value the freedom of being liberated of worldly possessions and unhealthy cultures. It invites the idea of consuming less but enjoying more. As a result, minimalists have fewer bills, stress, responsibility, and ultimately, they save more money. Nevertheless, transitioning from a regular lifestyle to a minimalistic one might feel a little extreme.

Although there is no harm taking on some practices that might benefit you in the long run, you might not be ready to commit to the minimalist lifestyle in its entirety. However, it is never too late to practice minimalistic spending habits. After all, learning ways to spend less means having more money when you really need it.

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1. Multi-Purpose Items


Instead of single-purpose items, buy multi-purpose items for your household. With multi-purpose items, you can reduce spending by stretching items that have multiple purposes; especially cleaning products and household items. Common household items, such as vinegar, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, cinnamon, and baking soda, can be transformed into cleaning supplies that are just as effective (if not more) than the expensive ones they sell in the store. Mason jars can be used for storage or as cups. Peppermint leaves can be brewed as a tea for relaxation or repel bugs.

Having multi-purpose items in the home will reduce your need to spend money on the same products week to week. One of our favorite multi-purpose items is Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Target, $11). The 18-in-1 product has multiple uses and can clean your home as well as it can clean your body (just be sure to dilute it with water first).

2. Become Frugal/No Spend Days


One of the easiest, yet hardest, ways of becoming a minimalist is spending less of your money. Sit down and create S.M.A.R.T goals of your monthly budget. Decide what rational number you can save monthly and devote the rest of your money towards bills. Of course, it is OK to indulge every now and then and buy that item you've truly wanted. But the whole purpose of minimal spending is to spend minimally. If you have an item you desperately want, consider what you'll allow yourself to have and consider saving the rest. If it is not essential than it is unnecessary. In addition, consider having days where you refrain from spending at all. This will stop you from spending the money simply because you have it. It'll also force you to budget in the short-term to prepare for a day without a swipe.

3. Invest In a Water Filter


Let's be honest: I see you there with your packages of bottled water on the kitchen/laundry room floor. We've all been guilty of buying packs on packs of water bottles instead of the more expensive Brita filter. In our minds, we'd rather spend the $5 on the pack of water than the $30 and up on the Brita filters. But what if I told you that spending the $32 once will be cheaper than the bottles of water over time?

It's time to invest in a water filters and a reusable water bottle. The average American spends about $100 or more on water bottles every year. Reduce your carbon footprint and the hole in your wallet. Say goodbye to those endless plastic bottles and hello to your new and improved pitcher.


4. Do Laundry in Cold Water


Doing your laundry in cold water is not only great for the color of your clothes, but it works wonders for your energy bills. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, 75% of energy in laundry machines are devoted to the heating of water. Add that 75% to the many loads you'll inevitably have, it tacks on $60 and up onto your utilities bill annually. Save your clothes from shrinkage and color fading, and save yourself from wasting your money: clean your clothes in cold water. It'll save on water consumption, energy usage, replacement of clothing items, and your bills all around.

That sounds like a win-win-win situation to me.

5. Pay Credit Cards Off in Full


Most of our big bills resides in the repayment of loans. This stops us from ever being able to save properly because we are spending most of the time trying to stay out of the debt collectors' call lists. Take some time to budget out all of your debt, especially credit card bills. Then, pay that debt off as quickly, and as reasonably as possible. Keeping your credit utilization low by keeping your balance low and/or paid off each month will also aid in attaining and maintaining a healthy credit score. The faster you pay off debt, the more money you'll be able to keep in your pockets and bank accounts.

6. Pack Your Lunch


Now, I know when I say pack your lunch, you read: meal prep. Though they have a similarity in the preparation of meals, it is important that you do not confuse the two. More often than not, meal prep results in the waste of food. Either the meal become redundant, therefore less desirable and more likely to remain in the fridge, or you end up failing to properly store the food. Regardless, consider getting items that can double as dinner ingredients and lunch preparation. The average American spends close to $3,000 ($2,746) a year from buying lunch. Save yourself $3,000 by making your own lunch at home and spend it on something you really care about, or better yet save it for a rainy day.

7. Reduce Your Wardrobe

Rent the Runway

There is a special place in everyone's closet. One that holds a very dear place to us all. The place where we have clothes that we only look at, but never wear. Yeah, it's about time we make that place scarce. Reduce your wardrobe by selling gently used clothes to local stores or online. Instead, opt for keeping clothes you wear often, or clothing that you can turn into reusable items. Buy clothing only when it is necessary, rather than when it is a want. Similar to multi-purpose household items, invest in building a capsule wardrobe where you can mix and match items to wear in multiple settings. The more you use your clothes, the less you'll have to give away.

Pro Tip: If you are someone who likes to wear new clothes often but prefers not to rewear items, consider investing in renting your clothes through services like Rent the Runway. You can downsize your closet while revamping your wardrobe for a fraction of the price it costs to do closet overhauls for one and done fast-fashion clothing items. The subscription fashion service has plans that start at $69 a month. Click here to learn more.


8. Become Handy


I know it is easier said than done, but becoming handy might be the best tip you've ever received. Often, when we are paying for work to get done, we are paying for the equipment and the worker's time/business. This can often result in reasonable payments becoming downright difficult to obtain. So, instead of paying someone to complete all of your household repairs, learn how to repair them yourself!

There are free videos online that inform you of the best tools to use and equipment to get. Buying the equipment will already be inevitable, but if you do the services on your own, you'll feel more fulfilled and capable of doing anything on your own. Warning: If the repair is extreme, like an electrical repair, consider leaving it to the experts.

9. Buy Essential Items in Bulk


For a minimalist, being frugal and owning less is the smartest thing to do. Nevertheless, it's about the amount of money you spend over the course of the time and the amount of money you save as a result. Buying in bulk is expensive at first, but it pays off in the end.

Buy essential items, such as feminine products, tissue, paper towels, detergent, and soap in bulk. This will stop you from having to spend $5 to $10 on each item on a month to month basis. If you buy in bulk, you can save 20% on all your purchases and up to 83% on most items. If buying all bulk items make you uncomfortable, consider buying one bulk item at a time.

10. Get Rid of Pointless Memberships


Finally, get rid of pointless memberships. Whether it is a lack of motivation or a busy schedule, going to the gym was difficult before the pandemic. Now, it's damn near impossible. Instead of keeping your gym membership, decide to create your workout routines from home. There are plenty of fitness YouTubers and Instagrammers who have fitness videos at home that are effective and helpful. Instead of holding onto the gym membership and wasting money on a place you rarely visit, consider creating a gym at home that's free and more often visited than not.

Also, consider cancelling some television subscriptions, or you can pause them, when new episodes of television are not provided. Instead, keep one streaming subscription and let the others go. When you're ready to get them back, the same shows and music will be available.

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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