Why I Think Minimalism Is A Great Idea

I am not a minimalist. I do, however, like to keep things around my home free of clutter. Nice and tidy really is nice. I like to buy things when I need them and pass them up when I don’t.

Why You Should Consider Minimalism

Minimalism doesn’t have to be as extreme as people think it is. You can still own stuff and be a minimalist, and not all of your stuff has to fit into a single backpack. Extreme minimalism is great and all, but people like us, people with houses, kids, activities and people that don’t generally move around a lot can be minimalist too.

Think Quality, not Quantity

With minimalism, you refrain from buying things you don’t need. That means you spend less in general than if you just bought everything you could get your hands on. In turn, because you don’t buy everything, you save money on a regular basis and you can afford to buy the highest quality of something that is out there.

Typically, if you buy junk, it’s a pain in the butt to use, and ends up sitting in a cupboard because it’s just too inconvenient to get it to work for you. Instead of buying one or even two junky items, wait until you absolutely need something, save up, and buy high quality.

When you lose the need, lose the stuff

If one day you wake up and decide you are never going to golf again, but you spent the last year collecting all the golf equipment to get into the sport, get rid of it all.

It may sound almost too simple, and can be difficult to do, but it’s just stuff in the end. You bought it and you can buy it again should the need arise, but there’s no need in most cases to keep things around that you no longer use. Plus, in our fast moving world, if you don’t use something for even a few months, the newest model has been released and your stuff is obsolete anyway. It’s best to sell it while it still has value.

How this can be applied to personal finance

The principles of minimalism are very similar to that of the principles of frugality; buy or make things that you need when you need them and don’t when you don’t, sell things you don’t have use for anymore, don’t create unnecessary waste.

Minimalists discard extra baggage that weighs them down, and in finance that baggage is unnecessary debt and excess spending.

The principles say do things that give the biggest benefit to your life and don’t do things that don’t. Many financial gurus give this same council.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that shares many of the same ideas that good personal finance habits create and like anything else, one can take bits and pieces from an idea and apply it to their own life without committing to all aspects of that idea.

If the idea of living out of a single backpack or having a zen garden in your home instead of furniture appeals to you, by all means take up extreme minimalism and see where it can take you. If more organized and calm finances are what you seek, why not try taking a minimalist approach with your finances. It may just be what you were looking for all along.

Do you live a minimalistic lifestyle?

Image credit: mikecogh

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11 People have left comments on this post



» The Everyday MinimalistNo Gravatar said: { Jan 18, 2011 - 07:01:15 }

Exactly.

My thoughts can be summed up here: Why Minimalism

I think paring down to the basics and core wants in any situation is better than having excess.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Awesome, thanks for sharing. I love reading others’ interpretations of lifestyles. Yours is even written like a true minimalist ;)

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» MoneyConeNo Gravatar said: { Jan 18, 2011 - 02:01:20 }

Hey, less is more! Ask any iPhone owner!

A phone with a single button would’ve been unheard of a few years back..!

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ya, or some of the new phones with NO buttons! It’s nuts what technology can bring ;)

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» krantcentsNo Gravatar said: { Jan 18, 2011 - 02:01:39 }

I think I do! I shed everything that was unnecessary when we moved 13 years ago. As far as personal finance, I have done a pretty good job of meeting or exceeding my goals. I look forward and plan our financial lives.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

That’s great, you shed those clutter pounds and are keeping them off :)

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» MotheNatureNo Gravatar said: { Jan 22, 2011 - 11:01:44 }

I like your idea of minimilizm but I also think you need to be careful of shortsightedness. Getting rid of things you don’t use in a month can be problematic if you aren’t careful. An extreme example would be how the early Americans decided they didn’t need the trees around their houses because they had already built their log cabin and wanted fields to grow gardens in. They slashed and burned acres of land and now we are depleting the forests faster than they can regrow.

If you throw out all your baby clothes thinking you will just buy new ones when the next baby come and then you lose income you may not be able to re-buy items when they are needed.

Saving for a rainy day can mean more than just saving money. You never know when you may need food, clothes, and other resources that you had and decided to get rid of. We live in a “disposable” society and it is killing our environment in many ways.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

There are extremes at both sides of the spectrum. Of course you need to save some things and have a system to define when something is completely out of use and when something may just need to be stored for a later time, but I’d rather fall into the category of having space to live than having to get a storage unit, just in case I need some of the junk I have accumulated in my life.

As far as disposable, I agree, but part of minimalism is not buying things you don’t need which helps the environment.

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» ScottNo Gravatar said: { Oct 28, 2011 - 02:10:59 }

I just gave about 4 large boxes to my neighbor. They contained shirts, good jeans, snowboarding boots, military boots, swim trunks, and all kinds of ‘crap’ that I don’t need/want anymore. He was very thankful for it, as he does not have much, and is one of the most humble guys I know. To what I figured was old junk, made his day. He planned to give them to his sister’s kids, and I guess sell what they don’t need.

Out here, in El Centro, CA, there is a lot of trading and bartering going on. Tough times are ahead for a lot of people.

I am selling one of my motorcycles to my neighbor as well.

I was going through some old boxes today as well. My dinosaur diary from when I learned to write, some old pog collections, random comic books, and some notes I wrote from advice that successful people have done. I didn’t really want to throw any of it away, but then something happened..As I failed to put everything back in the “Military Ammo shell container”

My dogs and cats tore up my diary, uncle scrooge comic book was tore out throughout the living room, and all those notes and papers I had were ripped to shreds. I was upset at first, but then I found that there was several things spared. Original photos from when me and my girlfriend started dating, you know, the 4 shots that get taken in one of those booths. Also, our first date tickets to a movie as well. Last, I had about 30 photos from the 90′s when I was a teenager were all intact.

I said ‘great!’ at this point, and threw the rest of it all away.

Point is, GET RID OF ALL THAT CRAP.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Sucks that that happened man – what I’ve done is take pictures of everything and then throw originals away. Then I have digital pictures for the memories and no clutter. Some things I’ve kept, but school work, art, things like that? It just gets torn up anyway, so get a picture while you can.

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ScottNo Gravatar Reply:

That is a good idea. Especially all the trophies I have since I completed a regular season of soccer when I was 8.

A nice picture of them would be better than them later broken or rotted out.
Of course, these are the smaller things..

I am really working towards becoming a minimalist, it is challenging =].

I just read another blog, the guy’s goal is to be able to fit all his possessions in his car! (He’s not married and no kids obviously lol)

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