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Educational Resources for Minimalists, Both Aspiring and Experienced

 

Explore our complete collection of articles on minimalism, the minimalist lifestyle, digital minimalism, and how to create passive income. Get inspired and empowered to live your best life with our library of articles on a variety of topics related to the minimalist life written by a team of writers from all over the world. Check back often for updates and new featured articles.

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  • Abby Manrell - Digital Marketer - Canada

Updated: Sep 18, 2021



Minimalism can benefit every aspect of your life- including your budget. Financial minimalism and purposeful spending will speed up your journey to financial freedom.


What is financial minimalism?


Financial minimalism can be defined as simplifying your finances to reach your goals and take control of your spending. By doing so, you will better be able to organize your budget, curb unnecessary purchases, and save more money.


When you check your credit card bill at the end of the month, are you shocked by what’s on it? Do you often forget about late-night DoorDash orders, or that super-cute dress you bought on impulse? While individually, these purchases may seem insignificant, they quickly add up and can hold you back from reaching your financial goals. With financial minimalism, it’s important that you take responsibility for these unnecessary purchases before you begrudgingly pay your credit card bill. Ideally, with financial minimalism, you can organize your budget so that you know exactly how much money you can spend in each category of your life (i.e. rent, bills/debt, food, clothing, etc.). Embracing minimalism as a lifestyle will assist you to curb impulse buying and only buy what truly adds value to your life.


However, that’s not to say you can’t have any fun. While minimalist money management does encourage you to spend less on unneeded items, this will allow you to save enough money for the things that will truly bring value to your life. For example, forgoing the weekly McDonald’s purchases that you often regret could allow you to spend a memorable evening with a close friend and/or partner at a nice restaurant in your city. Keep in mind though, that’s just an example- embracing minimalism is a truly personal journey, and only you can decide what adds value to your life.


How can it help you reach your financial goals?


Financial minimalism is all about streamlining your budget to improve your savings and take charge of your own money. Remember- it’s your pay check. Just because you may have formed some less-than-ideal spending habits over the years, or you’re completely new to the world of budgeting and feel lost, does not mean you can’t embrace a minimalist budget. Even if you have more money than you know what to do with, financial minimalism may help you create a sense of purpose with your money. Becoming a financial minimalist is a journey, and it may take some time, but it can help you, wherever you are in your personal finance journey.


As mentioned, financial minimalism, alongside a general minimalist mindset, will stop you from spending money unnecessarily. Not only will this directly improve your savings accounts, but it will also help you gain a sense of control over your money. You will no longer feel like money just flies out of your hands the second you get your direct deposit from work.


By taking control of your spending, you can also keep better track of it. Since you won’t be expecting any surprises on your credit card bill, you’ll be able to spot it immediately if something is wrong. For example, companies double-charge clients by accident all the time- not a huge deal if you realize and dispute it quickly, but if you blindly believe your credit card statement because you can’t keep track of your purchases, you may be paying more than you should without even knowing!


However, if you’re already sticking to a budget and yet still feel overwhelmed, try slimming it down as much as possible. While you won’t be able to eliminate certain categories, such as your rent, you can combine and/or eliminate others. For example, if you currently have a separate budget for clothing / nights out / restaurants, try combining all your “fun” categories into one weekly sum. That way, it will be much easier to remember how much cash you have for extra purchases, and you won’t accidentally go overboard.


Once you have your money separated into fewer categories, you can save yourself time and effort by easily setting up automated transfers to pay any bills you have. That way, your must-haves are taken care of, and your savings are a sure thing, so long as you stick to your new minimalist budget!


Overall, minimalist money management will help you eliminate stress, take charge of your money, and live a more fulfilled life through purposeful purchasing.


How to create a minimalist budget:


1. Identify your fixed costs. The first step to creating a minimalist budget is to keep track of everything you absolutely must spend. This includes things like rent, groceries, bills, debt payments, etc.


2. Analyze your current spending patterns. Look for opportunities to slim down your budget where you can. Do you really need to pay for both Netflix and Disney Plus? Do you still use your yoga membership from 3 years ago? Could you downsize your clothing budget?


This doesn’t have to be all work and no play, though. Identify the purchases that truly make you happy and contribute positively to your life and keep them! Any budget you make should be feasible and achievable, so that you don’t crash and burn. You don’t want to resort back to your old ways of spending. Retaining a portion of your budget to spend on nice-to-have items will bring you mental peace as you ease into a more minimalist lifestyle.


3. Create your new budget categories. With both your fixed costs and newly streamlined “fun” budget categories in place, it’s time to compile everything. Within each category you’ve defined, decide which amount you’ll allocate to it, either on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.

To help kickstart your journey, I’ve simplified a budget template by Excel for you, to create a sample minimalist budget that you can download! Download it below. Feel free to edit it and make it your own.


Minimalist Budget Template
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 20KB


4. Automate as many payments as possible. Since you already know exactly what you’ll be spending and when, why not make things even easier for yourself? Set up as many automatic transfers for your bills and other payments as you can, so that aside from reviewing your statements at the end of each month, you won’t have to worry about a thing.


Banking services like Tangerine are great options for this. Not only can they alleviate your stress, but they’ll save you time each month, so you can focus on the things you love- unless paying bills is your passion, in which case, the more power to you!


5. Review your budget & check your credit card on a monthly basis. At the end of each month, review your budget, and how well you were able to stick to it. At the same time, carefully evaluate your credit card statement and make sure it aligns with your actual spending. If either your budget or your credit card statement is out of line with what it should be, adjust as needed. Dispute any wrongful credit card charges or re-adjust your budget to better reflect the amount of money you need in each category- not want.


Although this step isn’t the most glamorous, it is vital to ensure you’ll be able to make the long-term changes you need to reach your savings goals and stay in control of your finances.


Overall, financial minimalism can help you take ownership of your money and curb unnecessary spending habits. Start today to gain the financial freedom that you deserve.


#FINANCIALMINIMALISM #MINIMALISTMINDSET #FINANCIALGOALS #MINIMALISTBUDGET #TANGERINE #SIMPLYSIMPLEORG #FINANCIALFREEDOM

 


  • Jessica Duncan - Freelance Writer - Canada

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Growing up, I imagined that the richest people I could think of dressed in silk from head to toe. I thought they wore silk robes, slept in silk beds, and dawned silk jackets when they left their homes. I figured I could only ever dream of owning something as luxurious as silk, let alone more than one silk item.


Then I discovered Lily Silk.


I no longer have to compromise my belief in financial minimalism, slow fashion, or workplace ethics to indulge in an amazing quality silk product.


Lily Silk: Their Beginnings



Lily Silk is a company that prioritizes offering amazing luxury silk pieces at an affordable price. According to their website, the idea for Lily Silk was conceived by Lily Lin in January of 2010. Lin had worked in France’s silk industry for over a decade and had watched first-hand as retailers raked in huge profits for silk garments while customers paid premium prices and silk workers lived in relative poverty. Lin envisioned a world where the quality of silk could be offered at an affordable price, directly benefiting the life of the worker who made the silk. Lin sought to do this by pairing Chinese Silk weavers with Western silk enthusiasts.


High Quality Fabric and Service


Lily Silk offers some of the most high-quality fabric and services on the market. Most of the time when Westerners think of the phrase “ships from China” they think of long shipping fees, wait times, and cheap products. It’s the opposite with Lily Silk. Lily Silk puts their customers first every time with their determination to find skin-friendly and high-quality silk products. They only use Grade 6A silk, known as the “Queen of Fibres” from China, which is also coincidentally the producer of the world’s finest silk and Grade A Cashmere, known as the “Jewel of Fabric” from goats in Inner Mongolia.


Lily Silk: Working Towards A Zero Waste Lifestyle


Oftentimes, some individuals who want to follow slow fashion principles struggle because they feel like they’re limited to shopping at thrift stores for the rest of their lives when nothing could be further from the truth! When you invest in high quality pieces made to last and stay away from the fast trends of the moment, you’re updating your closet with necessary pieces and slowing the beast that is human clothing consumption and production.


Lily Silk is relentlessly committed to quality and perfection. “Designed to last” is a motto they stick through in all their product lines. This motto is backed by an impressive team and resume. According to their website:


● Their Bedding Production Division is led by a team of Master Silk Weavers, with a combined experience of over 40 years of experience in Silk Sheet production. ● Their Sleepwear Production Division is supervised by our Master Tailors, with over 30 years of experience working with Silk. These Tailors complete all Silk product customizations by hand. ● An extensive team of Quality Assurance (QA) experts inspect all their products at every step of the production process to ensure that our silk products are manufactured to the highest of standards. ● Their “bestselling products" are certified to Oeko-Tex Standard 100.



With their impressive quality control and commitment to quality, Lily Silk ensures their pieces will last. Considering they make bedding products, silk sleepwear, women’s clothing, baby silk bedding, silk-related beauty accessories, and their infamous silk pillowcases, Lily Silk offers a range of products that can help you work towards a zero waste lifestyle (one of their core brand tenants).


Lily Silk: Connecting the Worker to the Wearer


Not only can buyers feel excited by the prospect that a business they support is helping them work towards a financially minimal and zero-waste friendly lifestyle, they can also rest easy knowing the garment worker making their clothing is getting the best wages, hours, and care possible. Recent decades have shown us the perils of the fast fashion industry on garment workers (mainly women) in the Global South, where many companies (Zara, Urban Outfitters, and more) outsource their labour for cheaper costs; this keeps money lining the pockets of the corporate elite and costs relatively low for customers (compared to clothing made in North America). In comparison, Lily Silk’s has believed in worker welfare from day one. Their main objective is to connect the garment worker with the garment wearer, offering full transparency of the workers conditions so customers know that those who made their clothes are working safely. Their website lists worker welfare as a core belief and notes that they get fair wages and benefits and reasonable working hours, all without sacrificing product quality or price. Though we cannot personally verify the welfare of their workers, it sends a message that they list it as a core company principle, when most companies barely take time to acknowledge their garment workers at all.


Charity at Its Core


Consumers will also be happy to hear that Lily Silk makes charity an active part of their business model. They focus on giving back to China, and try their best to help rural areas the most. They run a” Free Lunch for Children'' and support the “China Song Ching Ling Foundation- 'Loving Dictionary' Donation Project.” For every purchase made, Lily Silk will donate $1 USD to one of these organizations or others that are dedicated specifically to youth welfare. They also welcome charitable suggestions, so if you have a charity you’d like them to consider, contact them at charity@lilysilk.com.


Fashionable Slow Fashion: Styles We Love


Not only are these products high quality silk and wallet-friendly, their designs are elegant, effortless, and timeless, contributing to your capsule wardrobe easily. Here are a few items we recommend that won’t irritate your skin, will keep you cool, won’t absorb moisture, and can be tailored directly to you! Slow Fashion doesn’t have to be boring or second hand - and these pieces from Lily Silk prove it!



Basic Concealed Placket Silk Shirt



Feminine Stand Collar Blouse



19 Momme Terse Envelope Silk Pillowcase



Final Thoughts


Finally, there’s also a few things on their website they don’t make apparent, though we at Simply Simple feel these take the cake on amazing company service and values!


Firstly, for a small fee, they will create a custom piece just for you. If you see a design you like but it’s not offered in the colour you want, you can request a different type of colour, or even silk, as long as it’s something they stock. Further, if you have a body that cannot wear ready to wear clothes (whether that be because you’re differently abled, live in a bigger body, etc.) you can send them your measurements and they’ll make a garment in your size (in only approx. 10 business days).


Additionally, they also sew using French seams (where the raw edges are enclosed), rather than the fast fashion serged seams which can irritate sensitive skin. This adds that extra touch, creating a garment incredibly comfortable and beautiful even when inside out.


And lastly, as far as pricing goes: what you see is what you get. The price you see at checkout is all that you pay. There are no hidden shipping or delivery hidden fees. They ship incredibly fast with most orders arriving within 3 business days.


Ready to get shopping?




#LilySilk #FinancialMinimalism #SlowFashion #CapsuleWardrobe #WorkplaceEthics

#SimplySimpleOrg


 


  • Jessica Duncan - Freelance Writer - Canada

Updated: Aug 20, 2021




CashBack Apps: The Basics


“If you buy through our website, we’ll give you free money in return.”


Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash


Sounds like a crazy scam, right?


I thought so too, until I did my research and realized exactly how and why Cash Back apps are some of the most genius tools for shoppers looking to lead a financial minimalist lifestyle. If you didn’t already know, financial minimalism is the ability to perceive between necessity, practicality, and luxury to prevent ourselves from becoming prisoners of our own possessions. Simplification to save money and only invest in what will truly serve us is the foundation of financial minimalism. Basically, financial minimalist ties the minimalist lifestyle with financial literacy and frugality, making Cash Back apps the perfect accompaniment if you’re looking to start investing in items that bring you joy and make you some extra money. If you want to know more about financial minimalism and how it can serve you please see one of our other articles, to learn more about Cash Back apps, keep reading.


While there are lots of ways to make money online, most of them require a significant amount of time, effort, and dedication. Building a side hustle online is certainly not for everyone, especially those working demanding jobs. Getting paid to spend money? That’s something anyone can do.


Using cashback apps through your purchases allows you to earn free money through something you are already doing: shop. While financial minimalists aren’t going on shopping sprees constantly, they do need to buy groceries, basic household items, etc. Even if you’re a frugal finance guru, you still spend a considerable amount of money each week simply keeping yourself alive and your household rolling. When you add up all these costs - for reference, the average Canadian family household spends around $60,000 a year on consumption costs - earning as low as 1% of that through cash back would really add up over

the course of a year – and many apps offer far more than 1%.


Even better, you could combine cash back apps with a credit card offering cashback and effectively earn double the cash back on all your purchases. You could also combine the apps with conventional coupons; in fact, many cashback websites have a ‘special offers’ tab that helps you to do exactly this. Lots of cash back apps also offer extra ways to make some money through other activities, so when times are tough, you have the means to top up your bank account in the palm of your hand. Some of the most popular cashback apps include KOHO, Swagbucks, and our personal favourite, Rakuten.


About Rakuten Canada


According to their website, Rakuten.ca has helped its members - 6 million and counting - earn over $70 million in Cash Back at their favourite stores since launching in 2021. They’re succeeding in their mission to connect shoppers with top brands they already know and love in order to provide Cash Back on items they buy every day. It’s a win-win, Rakuten and its customers split the commission the company provides for finding the store a shopper, and the retail partners also find a new loyal customer and drive record sales by using Rakuten. With over 750 stores, everyone is bound to find one of their favourite stores or discover something new on Rakuten.ca. They provide a timeline of their history to demonstrate their growth and success in Canada:


How Does Rakuten Work?


If you have an online purchase you’d like to make, visit Rakuten.ca prior to going directly to the online store you’d like to purchase from. Once in your Rakuten profile, you’ll be able to search for the retailer you want. You can then see what items are available for Cash Back and for what percent on what item. Once you purchase your item, you’re Cash Back will be sent to you either through PayPal or cheque every quarter.

As stated above, the Cash Back is a bonus on top of any other coupons, promotions, or credit card points you can take advantage of. You could even use your everyday purchases from Rakuten to travel by earning major travel points on your credit card.


Signing Up for Rakuten



Signing up for Rakuten is completely free and only takes a few seconds.

Use a Referral Link to get to Rakuten.ca you’ll see a ‘join now’ button in the top right corner. Click that and you’ll get a pop up asking if you want to join using Facebook, your Apple account, or your email. You can choose whichever option you prefer and that’s it - you have signed up for Rakuten.


Rakuten Partners: Your Favourite Household Names


Rakuten partners with a whopping 750+ retailers. Retainers include your favourite international and Canadian stores, such as: Sephora, Amazon.ca, Aldo, Home Depot, Best Buy, Indigo, Expedia, GAP, Hotels.com, Hudson’s Bay, Joe Fresh, Staples, Ticketmaster, and so many more! You can check out the complete list of retailers here. The amount of Cash Back you can earn varies store to store. Rakuten also offers daily promotions on different stores - so be sure to check back frequently to capitalize on the extra Cash Back potential!



How To Get The Best Deals


When you sign in to your Rakuten account, your home page will show you current cash back rates for popular partners. Rakuten states that you can save up to 30% with partner retailers, though research shows that most rates are 5% or less. Still 5% of your yearly grocery bill is nothing to scoff at! If you see anything at 5% or higher, we’d recommend jumping on that free money quickly - the Cash Back rates are constantly changing, so purchase before your high Cash Back offer disappears. Also, keep in mind that not every item for sale by your retailer is eligible for the advertised Cash Back rate, so always double check before you make your purchase. Amazing Bonuses: Rakuten’s Gift Card Store Rakuten.ca stands out from other online shopping portals with its gift card shop. You can buy gift cards from Rakuten with cash-back you’ve earned! These gift cards will then be added to your shopping portal. The list of gift cards offered includes Cineplex, Esso, Loblaw, No Frills, Shoppers, Uber, etc. See all the gift card partners here. These gift cards make amazing gifts (that you got for FREE) or can be used to continue to buy through Rakuten and get even more free money.


What are you waiting for? Sign-up now and get $5!


You’ll instantly get a $5.00 bonus if you make an online eligible purchase of $25 or more using someone’s referral link.



Once you have an account you can then refer your friends and family and for each referral you make, you and the person you refer will both get a $5.00 bonus.


P.S.: A Pro Tip


As you know by now, you can earn cash back with Rakuten when you get to online stores through their website, but you can earn even more cash if you use one of the best cash back credit cards Canada has to offer. For example, the Tangerine World Mastercard allows you to earn 2% on up to three categories of your choice. You can check out the entire article we have on Tangerine on our website, along with other financial literacy and financial minimalism tips you can use to have money today. Comment down below - have you used Rakuten? If so, how much money have you made?


#Rakuten #FinancialMinimalism #CashBack #BestDeals #Tangerine #SimplySimpleOrg