Minimalism is all the rage these days as we, as a society, are learning not to hoard materialistic possessions. This is a great thing that will eventually repay our debt to mother earth. Consumerism is a thorn in everyone’s side, whether they know it or don’t. To live like a minimalist, you should know what is useful and what isn’t. It’s more about cutting out unnecessary things rather than torturing yourself by “fasting”. I’ll explain the philosophy of minimalism, and give you tips on how to maximize how minimalist you are.
Minimalism is rather simple; don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Consumerism is the polar opposite of minimalism, and it means you’ll go to work doing a job that doesn’t matter to fill your oversized house with things that don’t matter. Like the great book Fight Club said, “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” A poor life for a poor sap that takes out a loan to buy a stupid car that costs half as much the moment it leaves the parking lot.
I’ve been a minimalist for quite some time. It’s hard in the beginning, but it gets easier. We’ve been programmed by society to always yearn for more and to always work hard to buy stuff that enslaves us. Read on and use these tips to simplify and enhance your life.
Extreme Minimalism Tips
1. Frugality, Wear It Out
Stop buying stupid stuff because you’re bored. Stop wasting money on new toys before you wear out your old ones. You don’t need 40 pairs of pants, t-shirts, socks and all the other stuff. If your PC, smartphone and laptop still works, it’s good enough. Never buy an expensive car you can rent; you’ll be happy for a week with a new car, and in a deep financial hole.
Riding a motorcycle is cheaper and gives you a bigger thrill.
Wear the things you have out, wear your car out, and wear your computer out. Fix and patch up your things and do your own car/bike maintenance.
2. Buy Quality
After you wear something out, buy the higher quality product. A leather backpack lasts 50 years, and can be repaired over and over, and wool socks are much better than the 50 cent cotton ones that get worn out in a month. Minimalism means that you buy things that last too, and that you’re not going through a lot of things.
Future-proof yourself if you can, buy quality hiking gear if you’re a hiker and a good camera if you’re a photographer. There’s an old saying that $50 baseball gloves cost $400 in the end; because the cheap glove falls apart and you have to buy the $350 one anyway. Could’ve saved you 12.5% of your money if you were smart.
Don’t overdo it; you don’t really need that fancy leather backpack that costs like 10 good backpacks or a 100 cheapo garbage ones. Buy mid-high quality items and pay attention not to waste money.
3. Find Alternative Products That Cost Less
We’ve covered why it’s important to buy mid-high tier things in life. And now let’s focus on branding and overpriced consumables. You can get generic brand stuff like toilet paper, bottle water, groceries and medicine. You’ll save up to %50 of your monthly grocery bill, and that adds up in the big picture. Instead of having enough money to buy groceries for 6 months in your stash, you now have a whole year of groceries.
Buy in bulk, use coupons, and always keep an eye out on how you can save money. You have no idea how all those small purchases nibble at your income, and how much money you’ll save.
4. Downsize Your Life
Minimalism means knowing what really matters to you and optimizing your life around that. If you’re a hiker, sell your book collection, and if you’re a hunter, sell your fishing gear. Having multiple hobbies means you have multiple costs in upkeep and gear you’re going to buy, but there’s only one of you.
If you’re someone that’s into guns, you don’t need more than 5 quality guns; leave the collection of rare, expensive firearms to museums and the collection of bad, low-quality guns (looking at you Taurus and HiPoint) to newbies and people with very poor impulse control. Same rules go for any other hobby; you don’t need to have 3 cars or 7 motorbikes unless you’re a Saudi prince.
Sell off your stuff that you no longer use, sell your clothes that you no longer use (or donate them), and declutter your life. It’s okay to drop a hobby or two and focus on what’s really important to you and optimize your life and your time around that one hobby.
5. Borrow or Rent Toys
A life lived without any luxury is frankly, a miserable one, no matter how much you want to save money. We’re human, and we’re dazzled by novelty. The siren’s call of new toys is very strong, and you’ve probably ran out and bought them in the past.
If you wanna save and hoard money, this is obviously a bad choice. There’s an in-between solution that should keep you in the game, and that’s being social in your hobby groups, and renting the new toys. Driving your dream car feels amazing, but having to pay the repair bill for your dream car can really set your finances back. The same deal goes with anything like guns, laptops, new boots, new power-tools, new motorbikes or electric skateboards, etc.
Be prepared to buy something and return it to the store if you didn’t like it; always be prepared to do this even if you think it’s awkward. You’re saving money in the long run, and buying toys can seriously put your retirement in question. A $1000 today could be worth $40,000 in the future, but you went and spent it on restaurants, expensive food and toys.
6. Cost-Benefit Analysis
The Cost-Benefit Analysis is your most powerful tool. Always be analyzing and checking if something is worth it, and note when you buy things that aren’t worth it. When you’re young and you don’t have much money, saving seems like a stupid choice when you can finally buy all the toys your parents didn’t let you have.
We’ve all been there and made stupid choices (hopefully small choices like getting the new Xbox). Don’t go all in when you’re trying a new hobby out; there are so many airsoft players that show up in $2000 worth of gear, play two games, and quit the hobby entirely. Don’t be that guy.
7. Improve Your Income
Always strive to improve your income as much as you can, as long as you don’t catch any golden handcuffs along the way. Get a better job, work on your education and certifications, start side hustles. The more money you make, the easier it is to be frugal.
Yeah, I know it’s paradoxical, but if you have the money you can buy in bulk and save a lot of money on stuff. If you get overdraft fees on your credit card or a ticket, you can pay them off immediately and not get stuck down the endless hole of debt.
8. Move to a low-cost area
If you can, move to a lower cost area. A lower-cost area could get you less bills and more bang for your buck. Move to a state that doesn’t have an income tax, like Texas or Wyoming. Texas and Wyoming are a lot cheaper than most other states in the USA.
When your base expenses like rent and groceries get lower, you can save a lot of money, and you can start working on the best goal you can get in your life.
9. Retire Early
FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) should be your goal in life. The more money you have stashed away in banks, bonds, investments and other resources like ammo, silver, gold and cryptocurrencies, the less you have to work. The lower your expenses are, the longer you can live on your wealth alone.
Once your wealth starts to make you more wealthy, you can coast until you grow old and die. That’s retiring early. FIRE is not for everyone; even if you’re “retired”, you’re still young and can pursue other goals and side hustles that can make you even more wealthy.
You can travel the world with a backpack and a laptop, visit all your friends whenever you want and relax whenever you want. It’s a great goal that more and more people can reach these days because the Internet opened up an entire global market to everyone.