Why You Should Consider Adopting Minimalist Principles

In the last few years, there has been a lot of interested in the idea of minimalism. The idea that you can do with less in your life is a powerful one. How many of sometimes wish that our homes and our lives were a little less cluttered?

The good news is that you don’t have to reduce your belongings to 100 of your favorite things, and you don’t have to move into a tiny house to adopt a few minimalist principles. Adding a few minimalist principles to your life can have the following benefits:

Help the Environment

By definition, living a minimalist lifestyle has less of an impact on the environment. If you live in a modest home (one that meets your needs, but isn’t ostentatious), you will use less electricity and water. That means a smaller footprint. Some minimalist principles that involve transportation can be good, since the use of public transit, or riding your bike, also reduces environmental issues.

Plus, the less you buy, the less packaging there is to throw away. There are numerous environmental benefits to minimalism. If you are interested in reducing your footprint, even just changing a few of your habits to be more in line with minimalism can help.

Save Money

Many of us like to know how our habits will affect the bottom line. Since one of the principles of minimalism is to learn to be content with less, it means that you won’t be spending as much money on items that you don’t need or maybe even want. Minimalism isn’t about never buying anything; it’s about consciously choosing to buy items that have value to you. This means carefully thinking through a purchase before making it, and ensuring that it is either truly necessary, or that you truly believe it will enhance your life in a meaningful, long-term way.

Limiting your possessions means that you free up your finances to prepare for the future, or to enjoy experiences. On top of that, many of the things that are good for the environment, such as living in a smaller home or changing the way you use transportation, can also save you money over time. You’ll have a fatter wallet, even as your life is a little more minimalist.

More Time for What You Want

Part of minimalism is avoiding being busy just for the sake of being busy. Take a look at your calendar. Are you over-scheduled? Instead of saying yes to everything that comes along, or feeling as though you need to attend every meeting, or have your kids in several activities, consider cutting back.

Figure out which items are most important to you, and which offer the most fulfillment. Those are the activities you should focus on. Really think about the two or three things you find most fulfilling, and then de-schedule the rest of your life. You’ll have more time to enjoy the things you like best, as well as more time to build relationships with friends and family.

Adding a little minimalism to your life makes sense if you are looking to live a little more fully, and if you hope to create a life that you particularly happy with.

What Duck Dynasty Can Teach You About Finances

Oh, I love those goofy rednecks.

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, you’ve obviously been missing out. It follows the Robertsons, a tight-knit stereotypical southern family from Louisiana, who are in the business of building duck calls. The business is ran by Willie, who employs two of his brothers (Jase and Jep) and his goofy uncle Si, who is clearly being fed hilarious one-liners by the producers. The business was started by the boys’ father, Phil, who these days just hangs out in the woods shooting and fishing.

Each episode, the boys get into some wacky adventure. Once they snuck onto an exclusive golf course to hunt bullfrogs, with predictable results. Another time they attempted to steal the honey from a beehive, only to be thwarted. Eventually, Phil’s fatherly wisdom came to save the day, and the honey. Each episode ends with the entire family gathering for a meal.

Because of the show, the Robertson family has leapt from merely wealthy to full blown rich. It seems like every shelf in Walmart is filled with some sort of Duck Dynasty branded product. The show is consistently A&E’s most watched. It appears America loves the Robertsons and their brand of good wholesome family first comedy.

Among the chuckles, there are some valuable lessons about finance. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1. Stay married

I can’t remember the exact number of years, but Phil and his wife Miss Kay have been married just about 50 years. Even each of his children have been married to the same spouse for a number of years as well.

There are all sorts of advantages to only marrying once. Not only do children get the advantage of a stable home life, but they get constant nurturing from both parents. Both parents are usually working and contributing to running the household. But the biggest advantage by far is they avoid the cost of getting divorced.

Forget about the Robertsons for a second, think about a normal couple getting divorced. Chances are the family home will be sold and children will split time between mom and dad’s new places, which is just inefficient.  One spouse will end up paying child support or alimony, which puts a real damper on their ability to save money. And lawyers are going to take at least a few thousand bucks to make the divorce happen.

Divorce is such a wealth killer. I realize it’s necessary sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t weep for the money.

2. Kill food

Getting a lot of your meat from the woods is a really easy way to cut down on your food costs.

I’ve witnessed the Robertsons eat everything from frogs to squirrels to some sort of weird wildebeest jerky that Willie refused to share. They seem to like all that weird stuff.

You don’t have to go that far, there are plenty of animals that you can go out and shoot. Most of them are pretty tasty. I’ve had moose sausage before, which tasted pretty similar to beef or pork varieties. I’ve also eaten duck, which is an interesting take on dark meat. It’s a little greasy, but still pretty good.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to go out in the woods and shoot Bambi’s dad, you can still swing a deal with a hunter you know. Offer to buy some of the meat from him for a discounted rate. He gets the thrill of the hunt, and you get some cheap meat. Everyone wins!

3. Don’t shave

The Duck Dynasty men are known for their long redneck beards, which are at least a foot long. Sure, they might look goofy, but think of the money these guys save on razors and shaving cream. We’re talking tens of dollars a year.

The ladies must like them, because take a look at how attractive the wives are. It’s okay. You can admit to noticing. I won’t tell.

4. Patience is important

For years, the family has plugged away at the business. Before the show became a success, the company was known for having the best duck calls in the business. It slowly became kind of a big deal, until the show came and everything exploded.

Your finances work the same way. It takes years of working hard and saving before the results really start to show. But once they do, compound interest suddenly takes over. I know people who look at their statement and realize that each year their investments go up by more than what they invested in the first few years. That’s when the real wealth building starts to happen.

Like with any journey, patience is key. You’re not going to pay down your debt or become wealthy overnight. But by sticking to the plan and having support — like the Robertsons so nicely personify — you too can eventually figure this stuff out.