Economy Got You Nervous? Here’s a Solution


According to a recent survey, 71% of Americans identify money as a significant cause of stress in their lives. This is a very large number of us.

In some ways, however, this number makes sense. Consider the stats and economic realities we are facing:

No wonder people are predicting that economic anxiety is going to stick around for awhile.

The times are tough. And the economic uncertainty has many people nervous.

If that is you, I want to offer a solution. Many of the articles you’ll read in the media will focus on policy suggestions or the specific candidate you should vote for—or even worse, the people you should get mad at because of your anxiety.

And while it is true that you should be an informed voter and understand the full ramifications of political and monetary policy, waiting for someone else to change the economic environment entirely in your favor will waste away your years.

Instead, there is a solution that you can incorporate today, right now, to bring about a change in your level of economic anxiety.

And that solution is: Minimalism.

Now, before you close the page and throw up your hands upset, thinking that minimalism is hardly an acceptable solution for your individual circumstance, hear me out.

Almost all of us spend too much money on things we don’t need. And once we see this, our lives change forever.

It’s understandable that spending our money on things we don’t need happens. In America, we are surrounded by a culture and society that loves consumerism. It is promoted on every billboard, bus station, television show, radio station, newspaper, magazine, and Internet site we visit.

Everywhere we turn, we are told to spend, spend, spend… buy, buy, buy.

We are promised comfort, luxury, and happiness if we buy all the right things. These messages surround us constantly, are lived out by those closest to us, and quickly, subconsciously, become the life we believe we are designed to live.

Make money, spend money. And the more we can do both, the better.

But it is this mentality that has gotten many of us into a personal situation we wish we could avoid.

Did you know the average American spends $1,500/month on nonessentials? $1,500/month. That’s $18,000/year. I’ve mentioned this stat in various circles and am almost always met with the same response: Not me. I don’t spend that much. I don’t even have that much to spend.

And it is true, by the nature of the stat, that half of the American population doesn’t waste that much. But to try and place yourself correctly in relation to that stat, the average median household income in the USA is $74,000 (and the median household size is 3.13).

In other words, if your household income is anywhere near that number (or lower if you are single), you probably are spending $1,500/month on nonessentials. We just don’t realize it because marketers have so confused in our minds what is essential.

And to be honest, I think that number of how much Americans spend on things they don’t need is too low. I did my own math awhile back and came to the conclusion that the average person in America could save $24,630 per year by becoming a minimalist.

If you are struggling with economic anxiety during these times of uncertainty, there is a path forward that can bring you relief: Choose to own and buy only the things you need.

This is the beauty of minimalism. Minimalism isn’t about tiny houses, blank walls, or sleeping on the floor. It’s about deciding to own just the things you need to own and intentionally deciding that there are better things to pursue with your life than physical possessions.

Just imagine how your life would change with an extra $1,500/month. By deciding to buy only the things you need, you could immediately begin paying down debt, getting ahead of paycheck-to-paycheck living, start saving for a down payment, become more generous, or spend more on experiences that enrich your life (although this option might not particularly help your financial stress).

And I can tell you the benefits of minimalism go well beyond financial. Owning only what you need will bring many life-giving benefits into your life: more time, more focus, less stress, more gratitude, more contentment, less comparison, even more meaning, purpose, and intentionality.

If the current economy has you nervous, here’s a solution that works every time: Minimalism.

With Americans now $1.1T in debt, expect it to go mainstream.

Here are a few steps to get you started:

1. Reflect on what truly matters.

Minimalism is ultimately about prioritizing. When we look deep into our heart, very few of us consider consumeristic pursuits our greatest goals. So begin by reflecting on what values you want to guide your life.

2. Start small by decluttering a space in your home.

This physical act brings about two results: 1) we realize how much stuff we have unintentionally collected and 2) we begin to experience the benefits of owning less.

3. Pause before purchasing.

Before buying something new, ask yourself if it’s something you truly need or if it’s just a momentary desire. To take this a step further, consider what you could do with the money if you didn’t spend it on this item.

4. Embrace simple pleasures.

At the beginning, when trying to change our financial circumstances, take extra effort to embrace simple pleasures: a walk in the evening, a chat with a friend, a home-brewed cup of coffee, or a visit to the local park with your kids. There is joy to be found all around us that doesn’t cost money.

5. Adopt a gratitude mindset.

Appreciating what we have begins to change our urge to acquire more.

If you are among the many feeling the economic squeeze, the message is clear: there is hope and there is a way forward. The circumstances surrounding you may have come from your own decisions or the decisions of others, but there is a solution.

Minimalism offers a practical and life-fulfilling path out of financial stress. It leads to a life marked by greater freedom, intentionality, and even joy and meaning if you so desire.

You can do it. We can help.

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