If you have access to a Netflix account, there’s a good chance you’ve at least seen the trailer for “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”.
In the show, Kondo visits people’s homes and helps them cleanse their possessions through her KonMari method.
The show is a colossal hit, praised by people and media outlets alike. A key reason for this is because instead of casting judgment or motivating a purge through critique, the KonMari method determines whether something should be kept or removed based on if it “sparks joy”.
The show came about at the right time. Minimalism, while nothing new, is as popular and relevant as ever in today’s culture.
It’s this success and traction of inspired minimalism that brings about another question: can minimalism fix personal finance issues the same way it makes for happier homes?
Curb Spending Weaknesses
We all have our problem areas when it comes to spending. It might be buying too many clothes, accumulating tech gadgets, dining out at restaurants frequently, or as financial expert Andrew Housser always advises against, spending too much over the holidays.
We do these things because we think we enjoy them, and while that may be true to an extent, there’s an underlying root issue behind the spending.
We try to fill voids by spending money. But instead of addressing that void, the consumerism only deepens it, intensifying our urge to continue the cycle.
Asking ourselves whether our purchasing habits bring us joy won’t be fun. We probably won’t like the real answer. But it will cause us to think twice the next time we think about running our credit card to get that “rush”.
Makes Us Mindful of What We Owe
Most people in debt have no idea how much they owe. Knowing the exact balance we owe is stressful in its own right. But awareness also means we have to do something about it or risk the negative feelings spiraling even further out of control.
Just as the people on Marie Kondo’s show shudder to open their closets and look under their bed, we don’t want to open the Pandora’s box of our consumerism.
When we do, though, we realize that we don’t want to live in debt or be imprisoned by things. Instead, we want our possessions to aid our mental state and day-to-day lives.
Understanding Intentions Clarifies Goals
To succeed with a minimalist lifestyle means practicing mindfulness every single day. Some days will feel more natural than others, but every day requires your full mental effort.
Tearing down the consumerist walls that society has built around us, and keeping them down, is essential in this battle.
We can’t look at what everyone else does to inform our actions. We have to take a long hard look at what we really want deep down, and let the answer dictate the goals we set. Asking ourselves what sparks joy could lead us to live in a smaller, more affordable space.
It could align us with a career path we love. It may make the categories we do want to spend our money on clearer.
Because after all, spending money isn’t the problem; it’s using our money on things that ultimately don’t better our lives or bring us fulfillment that is. Getting closer to our true intentions will illuminate the short and long-term goals we need to set to achieve financial health.
Sparking Joy Is Universal
The KonMari method is useful because it’s universal. We all have particular things that spark joy. When we’re practicing a minimalist lifestyle, we’re continuously reminded of what’s bringing us happiness and what isn’t.
We don’t tend to think of personal finance as relating to mental wellness. However, when we look at our spending activity and the possessions we accumulate with our money on more of a spiritual level, we’re bound to see things closer to how they are. The realizations we come to through this line of thinking give us the clarity we need to reassess our financial lives and alter our path to serve our happiness better.