Home Ownership vs Renting As A Minimalist Lifestyle Decision

When it comes to buying a home or renting, there are many things to consider. While there are tons of resources on the financial implications of both options, I’d like to share my thoughts on buying versus renting from an intentional living and minimalist perspective. The decision to buy or rent is just as much a lifestyle decision as it is a financial one. Ultimately, if the decision to buy is made, a home affordability calculator is a great resource to get started.

Longevity and Flexibility

It’s important to consider how long you’re planning to be in a certain area and how much location flexibility you need when you’re making the decision to buy or rent. When renting, the leases are typically 12 months or less and there may be options to work out a more flexible move-out date with the landlord or management company. If you end up needing to move to a different area, you have more flexibility to do so.

It becomes a lot more complicated if you need to move away from a home you own. You’ll likely need to sell the house or rent it out—options that require more time and resources than if you were renting an apartment. With the amount of investment and time that a house requires, it’s probably best to stay in a location for at least a few years if you’re going to buy.

Personal Values

Think about how you want to spend your time. Similarly, it’s also important to consider how much responsibility you’re willing to take on. During the time I lived in an apartment, I barely changed a light bulb. There were no repairs, no additional investment and no worries.

For the past five years I’ve owned a home, it’s a whole different experience. I spend time cleaning the gutters, mowing the lawn, buying and fixing appliances and other maintenance activities that you never have to think about when you’re renting.   Regular or unexpected repairs can quickly add up to large sums when you own a home. Part of the benefit of renting is that you don’t have to deal with or budget for anything like that.

Customization

Another thing to think about is how much customization and control you’d like to have. A home you own can be customized to your exact liking, a rental on the other hand has more limitations. From painting the wall a different color to making bigger changes to your living space, you’ll have greater control if it’s your home. With a rental, any customizations would need to be approved by the owner.

Amenities

Amenities are another lifestyle consideration when it comes to buying or renting.

Most likely, an apartment will have more amenities than a typical home, such as a workout room, pool, large party room or even a concierge service. Of course, you may have the option of building or adding similar amenities to a home you buy, but it can be pricey and impractical investment. If you want a pool without the cost and maintenance that owning one would require, then renting an apartment with a community pool is the way to go.

From my perspective, whether you buy or rent has a significant impact on your lifestyle, particularly over the long-term. Thinking about what’s important to you and how you want to spend your time will help you determine what best fits your desired lifestyle.

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Affordable and Fun Ways to Exercise Without Splurging on a Peloton

If you’ve recently got the exercise bug, you’re not alone. Millions of people take up exercising every year, and taking care of your physical health is just as important as taking care of your financial health. While Peloton bikes are all the rage recently, not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on buying the latest exercise bike. And don’t forget that there are monthly subscription costs on top of the upfront cost of the bike itself. So if you’re looking to stay or get fit without splurging on a Peloton, here are some ideas you might want to consider.

Exercising without actually exercising

The first thing that you can do to exercise is to figure out ways to get more physical activity without actually doing what you might consider “exercising”. This could include things like:

  • Swapping out your office chair for a standing desk or a treadmill desk. There are some DIY standing or treadmill desks that are fairly affordable
  • Park further away when you go places and walk further
  • If you work in an office, take the stairs instead of the elevator

Ideas like these can help you get more active within the confines of your regular routine. Simple changes can make an impact! And you’re more likely to stick with things when they aren’t drastic disruptions to your routine.

Hit the outdoors

Spring and summer are perfect times to get healthier! For two reasons — the weather is great and you have more daylight. Taking up outdoor exercise like a Couch to 5K running program or walking can be done in your neighborhood without having to pay for a gym membership. If you live in an area where it gets oppressively hot in the summer, then plan your outdoor exercise early in the morning or late at night. Getting into routines for free in the summer can build up the habit — then you can consider an indoor gym membership when the weather turns colder and you’ve already developed the habit of exercising regularly. 

Working out at home

If exercising outside doesn’t work for you for whatever reason, another option is to work out at home. Working out at home has a number of built-in conveniences! Starting with the fact that you’re already AT home — no need to motivate yourself to drive to the gym. That means you can get extra sleep, not to mention showering and changing at home instead of packing a gym bag.

And working out at home doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on your workout either. Nor does it mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars on fancy bikes, treadmills, or home gyms. There are plenty of online workouts that you can follow for free and still get an amazing workout. Body weight exercises, while not the most exciting of exercises, also provide a great workout. Things like sit-ups, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, jogging in place, and squats don’t cost anything and will definitely get your heart rate going.

Buy multi-use equipment

Another tip to keep things affordable is to buy equipment that you can use in multiple different ways. A few examples to consider:

  • You can use an exercise ball for weight training exercises or to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
  • A step can be used for cardio workouts like step aerobics as well as a bench for lifting weights.
  • Simple hand weights like dumbbells can be used for multiple exercises. You can purchase them for a fraction of the price of a full indoor weight system.
  • A resistance band can be used for stretching, yoga, or strength training.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a workout! Getting simple equipment that can be used in a variety of ways is a great way to save money without skimping on your workout.

The Bottom Line

Staying healthy doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are plenty of ways to stay in shape without spending thousands of dollars on exercise equipment or signing yourself up for large monthly payments. Like most things in life, the best way to get and stay motivated is to make gradual improvements over time. That way you can decide what you like best, what works for you, and what you’re likely to stick with. Start small, both in effort and in spending, and you’re likely to win big over time.

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Source: mint.intuit.com

Lessons Learned from 6 Years Without a Car

If you’ve ever considered going car-free, I’m here to tell you to take the plunge.

Over the last 6 years I’ve lived in 3 different cities, sans car (much to my suburban mother’s amazement). I got rid of my car in my early 20s, the moment I found a job that was walking-distance from my first studio apartment in Seattle.

Being car-free isn’t always easy. Little trips can be a hassle, and getting out of town for the weekend is more complex. But I’ve found it makes day-to-day life more carefree. If you’re walking, biking, or bussing around your city, you get to discover things you never would in your car, save a ton of cash, and live a little greener.

Here’s what I’ve learned from years without a vehicle:

Designing your life, car free

When you don’t have a car, you’ll consider drastically different factors when you look for a place to live.

Here are the top priorities I looked for in a new place, in order of importance:

  • Grocery store proximity – I can get a new job that’s closer, but I can’t build a new grocery store. Sure, you can get food delivered, but I prefered to save money and get a little exercise doing my own shopping. I tried to keep my grocery runs to a 10 minute walk or less.
  • Neighborhood walkability – You can get a general idea of how walkable things are on Walkscore. If you browse a few neighborhoods, you’ll quickly see the difference between suburban sprawl and easily areas where you can cover most of your errands on foot or bike.
  • Commute options – Are you close to a bus line or, better yet, a transit hub? Limited transit options may not be a dealbreaker, but you should at least be sure your regular routes are covered.

These criteria often led me to centrally located spots—downtown hubs, or neighborhoods that are fairly self-contained. That meant higher rent, but the money and time I saved not driving made it worthwhile.

Enjoy that extra $$

When you get rid of your car, suddenly you’ll notice hundreds more dollars in your pocket every month (surprise!). I owned my vehicle outright, but was still paying ~$300 per month in parking, gas, and insurance. Gross.

I chose to put that cash in savings. Even as an entry-level receptionist, I suddenly had extra money to add to my retirement and my emergency fund.

Getting rid of the car built my cash cushion in two ways — lower monthly expenses, and less risk. An accident or a mechanical failure could set you back at any time, making it tough to plan. A flat monthly bus pass is a much more predictable expense than car ownership.

Creative transportation options

One of the lovely parts of not having a car? You get really creative about transportation. Here are the best resources I’ve used in my time without a car:

  • Cycling/Bikeshare – Biking isn’t for everyone, but if you’re brave, it’s a beautiful way to get around the city and stay crazy fit. Many cities are jumping in on the bikeshare trend – so you don’t even need to know how to change a tire. Wear a helmet!
  • Fancy bikes – Too tired to ride? Electric bikes. Need to take it on the metro? Foldable bikes. Need to haul stuff? Cargo bikes.
  • Carpooling – As a formerly car-free person, I’m now living my values as a carpool mom. See if your company can connect you to a pool through Zimride, or hop in a carpool through the Waze app.
  • Car2GoCar2Go is a pretty cool alternative car sharing service. Free parking, you don’t need to find designated spots. Just leave it wherever! Perfect for one-way trips.
  • Scooters – Don’t hate, those little scooters littering the sidewalks are a really fun solution for the last mile of your trip. You can buy your own if sharing hasn’t hit your town.
  • Trains – We may not have amazing bullet train service, but Amtrak is still a wonderful way to see the scenery. It’s more comfortable than the bus (dining car!) and not much more expensive.
  • Car rental – If you’re keeping a car for rare weekends away, you’d save a ton of money just renting instead. Bonus: no maintenance, and you always drive a late model.
  • Peer-to-Peer car rental – This is kind of a wild thing, now you can rent cars from people on the internet with Turo. It’s cheap, but I’ve had mixed luck with the vehicles there. Rent at your own risk.

If you need to test the car-free waters, give some of these alternate transportation methods a try. That way you can find out what works before you take the plunge. Even if you keep your wheels and reduce the amount of time you spend driving alone, that’s a win for the planet, and for a more connected city. Happy non-driving!

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Source: mint.intuit.com

How to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter and Spend More Intentionally (+ Free Printables)

It’s easy to get rid of old magazines and clothes that no longer fit, but throwing out vacation souvenirs or old photographs can be difficult. Sentimental clutter refers to items with special meaning or memories you have an emotional attachment to, but take up space in your home. This could be a birthday card that your Grandpa sent you or a stuffed bear your kids won at the state fair. Even though these items hold a special place in your heart, they may not be serving you anymore. Instead, they’re cluttering your home, life, and budget.

Sixty-six percent of Americans think an unorganized home makes them stressed or anxious. However, 61 percent of us have a hard time parting with sentimental items. Letting go of material items you don’t use can help you reduce stress and financial burdens. From canceling subscriptions you never use to repurposing items, you could cut down on waste and save or make some extra cash. Below, we’ll walk through how to get rid of sentimental clutter and how to be intentional with the items your family keeps.

1. Create a Realistic Decluttering Schedule

Decluttering and cleaning your space can feel like a full-time job if you don’t plan accordingly. Decide whether you’re going to knock your decluttering out over a series of days or weeks. If you have a shorter timeline, consider taking a day off of work so you can focus your energy on organizing. Remember to reward yourself with a relaxing spa night at home once you’ve saved some extra pennies from selling or donating unwanted items.

2. Recruit a Loved One Over Hiring a Professional

Spark a little competition while decluttering with your loved ones instead of spending money on a professional organizer. You could each learn how to say no to things you don’t need by gamifying your cleaning schedule. Print out our 30-day decluttering challenge and split the tasks up for each person to tackle. See who can finish their list the fastest to win an ice cream treat.

3. Start With Your Bathroom

It may be overwhelming when figuring out which room to tackle first. Start with the smallest room — typically the bathroom — and work your way to the largest space. Once you’ve gotten the hang of saying goodbye to small sentimental clutter, you’ll be ready to sell bigger items like your dad’s old recliner.

Start With Your Bathroom

Start With Your Bathroom

4. Separate What’s Meaningful and What Takes Up Space

You may hit some roadblocks when deciding if you should keep or ditch a sentimental item. When you do, think about the last time you used it and if it still serves a purpose in your life today. Go through our four questions to help your family decide if you should keep or ditch items throughout your home.

  • Do you still like the item?
  • Do you use the item on a regular basis?
  • Does it serve a purpose in your life today?
  • Do you have more than one of the same or similar items?

5. Sell Collectables to a New Home

Remember that items you’re getting rid of could be valuable to others. For instance, your grandpa’s old recliner may not be useful for your family, but it could be a college student’s new prized possession. If you don’t know if something is valuable, look it up online or get it appraised at an antique shop. Then, consider hosting a garage sale for collectables. You can also list these items for sale on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or your social media accounts to earn some extra cash.

6. Say Goodbye to Sentimental Guilt

The way your family treats items says a lot about whether you should keep them or not. You may have your first pair of baby shoes stored in your attic that you can’t fathom getting rid of, but you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you decide you need to move them along. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t touched an item in over a year, it may be time to say goodbye. Shed light on this process by downloading our printable and highlighting what you’re grateful for getting rid of.

Say Goodbye to Sentimental Guilt

Say Goodbye to Sentimental Guilt

7. Revisit and Reorganize Every Year

Every spring, take time to declutter your home, office, life, and budget again. Make this a family activity and offer an outdoor adventure as a reward for doing a good job. Divide up the space and as you each clean your designated areas, celebrate small victories by taking a 10-minute dance break every hour. This can turn cleaning into a fun family bonding activity.

8. Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, and Spend Less

Sorting through your valuables may resurface items you forgot about. You may want to repurpose some things or gift them to a family member rather than getting rid of them or purchasing something new. For example, your old-fashioned record player could be your kids’ new favorite birthday gift. Save money on gifts, wasteful items, and duplicated purchases you don’t need.

If you do decide to get rid of an item, see if you can recycle or donate it rather than trashing it. Download our sort the waste game to see which items should be recycled in which bin. While sorting your waste, there are a few items that are harmful to throw away. Research responsible e-waste facilities that’ll pay for recycled electronics listed below:

  • Flatscreen TVs
  • Smartphones
  • Electronics containing heavy metals, lead, and cadmium
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Smoke detectors

Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, and Spend Less

Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle, and Spend Less

How to Spend More Intentionally and Minimize Clutter

Sorting through your home may put your spending habits into perspective. You may notice the abundance of things that don’t serve a purpose in your lifestyle. Think about a closet full of clothes you only wore once or subscriptions you don’t remember having. Exercising mindful spending will help save time, money, and energy, and can be adopted with these tips.

Audit Your Subscription Services

Sixty-five percent of American’s have no idea how much they spend each month. Check your monthly card statement to spot any subscriptions that you could cut out. These repetitive subscriptions could be apps on your phone or account service fees like Amazon Prime. Audit your statements using our app every three months to avoid wasting money under your radar.

Avoid Bringing Home Bargain Clutter

You may have heard the phrase “well it was on sale”! Just because an item is discounted doesn’t mean you need it in your life. Eight out of 10 people admit to wasting money on things they don’t need. Exercise mindful spending and download our app to track where your family’s money goes on a daily basis.

Only Spend When You Receive

It’s easy to overspend when your family’s not paying attention to how much money is going out versus coming in. To keep your budget on track, pay your bills in full once a month and create weekly spending limits. Download our budgeting app and break down your budget by week to ensure you and your family stick to it.

While decluttering can calm your mind, it can also boost your family’s creativity. To break out of a funk or get your creative juices flowing, start re-evaluating what you do and don’t need in your life. Even though some goodbyes may pull on your family’s heartstrings, they could earn you some extra cash. Cut down on unnecessary spending and sell valuable items to help clear up your space. Practice minimalism to own less, spend less, and increase your savings or investments.

Sources: Happify | Bob Villa

The post How to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter and Spend More Intentionally (+ Free Printables) appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com