A Minimalists Guide To Debt-Free Living

12 Comments

  1. Hello Michael and Maša.
    I totally agree with you, Michael, that debt is the worst form of clutter. That’s the reason why this year, as I started my first job, I immediatly begin to analyzed my spendings and savings.
    I just wanted to share the excel template I use to manage it, which it’s inspired in Japanese culture. It’s called Kakeboo. I’m sure most of you know about it. There are ton of websites that share this template for excel or share links to the printed book version. I personally prefer working on excel as I can change the template according to my needs.
    Hope you find value in this comment and thank you for sharing your experience through your debt free journey.
    (Sorry for my english, not my first language).

    1. Hi Marina, thank you for sharing the excel template. I haven’t heard of it before, but I’m looking forward to checking it out. Good on you for being so intentional about your money. Cheers, Michael.

  2. Love this guys! My partner and I have the same mindset as you. We are trying to move towards debt-free living as well, so that one day we can just work part-time or volunteer more. Our debt is a little larger (quite a large mortgage!) but we are hoping to have it paid off in about 6 years. We’ve created a strict budget and try to live off just half of one of our incomes, and put the rest on our mortgage. We also find a “buffer” is so important! Good luck with everything.

  3. Thanks for the post Michael!
    I have never really struggled with debt before, but I have experienced the lifestyle inflation that comes with graduating college and getting a moderately high paying job at a biotech company. After graduating my income practically doubled and so did my expenses. I even bought a new car because my old car was falling apart and I had a long, stable career ahead of me. I also helped to move my disabled father 2,500 miles across the country, and got married. Then, 2 years into my new job, I was suddenly laid off and my whole world turned upside down. There were no other biotech companies in the area and I had to move 2,500 miles across the country again to start a new job. This also meant moving my disabled father across the country again back to where he was, and near where my new job is. Being laid off completely changed my relationship with money and “stuff”. In the process my wife and I have discarded over half of our belongings and counting, paid off the car which we will keep until it falls apart, and decided to be more intentional with money. We have cut our expenses down to 1200 dollars per month, per person and can still make improvements. This has allowed us to not only save enough money for an emergency fund, but also begin investing in ESG funds and a few well-vetted individual companies trying to make the world a better place. Because we save over 50% of our combined income and are able to live comfortably with very little money, we will be able to retire from traditional office jobs in about 10-15 years (we are currently both 30) and be able to live as simply as possible. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but getting laid off was one of the best things to happen to me! It served as the wake up call most people don’t get until much later, if they even realize it.

    As a side note, have you heard of ESG investing? It stands for Environmental Social and Governance investing. It means intentionally investing only in companies that seek to reduce their environmental impact, promote social welfare, and have high ethical standards. It has been found that businesses that adopt ESG standards tend to be more conscientious, less risky and consequently more likely to be successful in their long-term commercial aims (eg. oil and coal probably won’t be big energy producers in the future, but wind and solar will.) ESG investing would be a great topic to cover in the future and ties in well with minimalism and veganism.

    1. Hi Dominic, it’s always a pleasure to hear from you on the blog.

      What a story! I imagine being laid off was devastating at the time, but then look at what has happened since? Incredible. Cutting down your combined monthly expenses to $2,400 is very impressive, and that speaks to your intentionality with money.

      I have heard of ESG investing and dabbled into some research when I was writing some content for Cruelty Free Super in Australia. Having said that I would love to “nerd out” on ethical investing and what that looks like moving forward. It’s a topic that’s not covered enough.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience, I’m sure readers will feel inspired after seeing what you’ve done.

  4. Our debt is quite big, because we bought an apartment. And it was so difficult decision! As a family with kids (and one parent working from home), we’re totally dependent on having one quite “adult” room. We’d been living in a studio flat with a toddler for several years, it almost drove us mad 🙂
    I wanted to move outside of the city area, but my husband convinced me not to. And now I really appreciate that: short commute spares us at least 1.5 hours each day.
    Uff… So for now our plan is quite simple: embrace minimalism, avoid unnecessary purchases, and build an emergency fund. We also hope to become car-free when the kids grow older. And downsize when they’ll leave the house.

    1. Hi Evgeniia! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It appears that you’re incredibly intentional about how you manage your money—and with such hyper-awareness, I know things will fall in place when they need to. All in time. Michael.

  5. Hi Michael, I LOVED this post! In January this year I finally managed to become debt free, I had taken out a bank loan to buy a car (which I don’t regret at all) and the feeling of clearing that debt early and saving £££ in interest was amazing. I loosely used quite a lot of things you suggest in this post, I don’t have a computer so I just used the notes on my phone to write down my income, outgoings (on somewhere between a frugal and ramen budget) and then track my debt repayments. Like you, I created a timeline of all the repayments and the balance that would leave the debt at after the repayment. This also gave me a goal for when to be debt free by, I went over by a few months but I didn’t mind because had I not set that goal, I would still be in debt now and looking at years left on the loan. It was so empowering to become debt free, not only because I had achieved it but because now, I had this extra money every month that I knew I didn’t need to spend, so I could save it. And just as I got a rush from seeing my debt balance drop, I now get a rush from seeing my savings balance grow.

    I’ve been trying to help out a couple of people who I know are struggling but not been able to really lay it down like this, I will definitely share this post with them. I think it’s brilliantly written and addresses the fact that many people aren’t aware of the total debt out of fear and not wanting to be crushed by it. This empowers people and allows them to face it head on and hopefully with as little fear as possible. Thank you for writing this important post.

    1. Hi Josey, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.

      I love the simplicity of your approach to clearing your debt and no doubt you would be a valuable friend person to lean on for advice.

      I can totally relate to the extra money you create once you clear debt-it was an unexpected benefit.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.

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