Minimalism is being quite popular with millennials. Maybe it’s because the word minimalism and millennial are so similar. I digress.
There are many misconceptions about how to live like a minimalist. Many people believe minimalists live a life of depravity. However, modern day minimalists don’t live like Gandhi. In fact, they have anything they want – they just don’t have everything they may want.
I’ve been a minimalist most of my life. This is what I can tell you about how to live on less, so should you choose this lifestyle (and yes – it is a lifestyle). Let’s start at home.
You’re at home. Your castle. Your sanctuary. The place where you can be you. It surrounds you with everything you need. As a minimalist, you probably have a smaller home. It’s not because you can’t afford a bigger one. You simply don’t have that many possessions in your life. A bigger home begs to be filled.
You actually park your car in the garage. The garage is not filled with things you no longer care about as is most people’s garages. You probably have a bike in there as well. Maybe some camping gear. Maybe some holiday decorations. Nothing too much. It’s clean, orderly and fairly spacious.
The whole house, in fact, looks like this. Everything inside has a purpose. Everything. Each pair of shoes by the door gets used each week. If the shoes are only be used in winter, those will go into storage until needed. There isn’t much clutter. You use that TV for Netflix and as a computer monitor at times. You actually use that grill in your garden. If you didn’t use it, you wouldn’t have it.
Everything. Has. A. Purpose. When your lifestyle changes, so do your belongings. A minimalist is not sentimental towards too many objects. After all, they are just things. Memories are more important to a minimalist.
Nothing in the house gathers dust. If it did gather dust, it wouldn’t be in the home. Things like cabinets, chairs, etc. that can gather dust are cleaned frequently. A minimalist cares for their possessions.
When something becomes unneeded or unwanted, a minimalist does three things with said item: sells it, donates it, recycles it. If an item has value left it in, it typically gets sold to the local market via the internet. If it’s value is pretty low, the item will get donated to a local charity. Sometimes, the minimalist will gift the item to a friend or family member. However, a minimalist must be careful as not to be hypocritical. It would be hypocritical to give someone else things which they don’t want. How are they supposed to find bliss as you have if you burden them with unnecessary things? There’s a good rule to reference while gifting: If they haven’t expressed an interest in having something, don’t give it to them.
A minimalist does care for their things. A minimalist keeps things tidy. They clean them. They repair things when they get into disrepair. They know what products to use to clean something like a laptop. You’d hate to ruin something you care about.
A minimalist loves the possessions they do have. It’s not uncommon for a minimalist to have actually read the owner’s manual of their car. Have you? A minimalist knows obscure facts about their items as well. They probably post on online forums with other product enthusiasts. A minimalist doesn’t need a new smartphone every six months. A minimalist uses their current phone to the fullest of its capabilities. And since they take care of everything so well, they rarely need to upgrade. For a minimalist, a first generation iPad still looks and functions like new. And a minimalist may not appreciate it when you try to sell them a car and tell them “Normal wear and tear for a 10-year-old car. To a minimalist, wear and tear means something different. A 10-year-old car that is owned by a minimalist will still be awaiting its first door ding.
A minimalist can have a hobby – several hobbies, even. And they will be very excited and knowledgeable about each one. Minimalists don’t ‘dabble’ in hobbies. They research about them for a long time before making an informed purchase. So if you see a minimalist with snow ski’s, you can bet they’re pretty good and they enjoy skiing quite a lot. There are no fakers when it comes to minimalists.
Don’t be fooled if you see a minimalist using older or lower end products. They are doing so to save money. Instead of displaying their money, their money is parked safely in a bank. You mustn’t judge a book by its cover.
You can see now how minimalists can save thousands of dollars each year – or even each month. They have a different mindset. As mentioned often in this blog, mindset is the most important part when it comes to money management. If you get in the proper mindset, amazing things can happen.
Look at Warren Buffett. Most would consider him to be a minimalist. Despite being a billionaire, he lives in the same modest home he bought in the 1950’s. He has everything he needs yet nothing over-the-top.
Care to be as wealthy as Warren?
Will Lipovsky is a personal finance freelance writer and internet marketer. His most embarrassing moment has been saying to a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.” You can get in touch with Will at FirstQuarterFinance.com.