MINIMALISM ISN’T ABOUT SETTLING FOR A DOWNGRADED LIFESTYLE

MINIMALISM ISN’T ABOUT SETTLING FOR A DOWNGRADED LIFESTYLE

On the surface, minimalism looks like a downgrade. Minimalists look for the 1,500 square foot home even though they can afford the 2,000 square foot home. Some of them think 1,500 square feet is too spacious. They’ll drop down to 1,000 square feet or even live in an RV.

The minimalist’s car is old and beat up. Some of those cars are eye sores. They’re not the type of car you’d want for a first date. Minimalists track each dollar and make necessary cuts for their bottom line.

Some minimalists only have one TV while others don’t have one. It’s understandable why minimalism looks like a downgrade on the surface. You have less space and stuff.

Some people see minimalists as financially struggling individuals who downsize for survival. However, that is not the case.

Minimalists frequently see their downsizing decision as a significant lifestyle upgrade.

Focusing On What Matters

Everyone understand money’s impact on their lives. More money creates more choices and less financial stress. Less money creates the opposite scenario.

Your income alone doesn’t determine your level of financial stability. Your expenses play a more vital role than income. Expenses determine how much you keep. If you keep a minimal amount of your income after expenses, you might stress about your finances.

Minimalists choose the path of considerably reduced expenses to avoid money stress. Saving N35k/mo is the same as working for an extra N35k/mo. The money you save can go towards investments and actively grow.

Spending the money doesn’t give it a chance to multiply in your portfolio.

Minimalists understand opportunity cost. The dollar they spend on groceries can’t get spent on any other purchase or put into a portfolio.

More importantly, for the minimalist, those extra dollars can’t go towards vacations. Money stress forces people to make uncomfortable decisions about which jobs they pursue. Money stress can force someone to take on a 40 — 60 hour/week job with a tight schedule and little margin for error.

The minimalist doesn’t want to feel cornered by that possibility. Minimalists who embrace a freelancer mentality can’t imagine working on a tight 9-to-5 schedule. Spending less money each month creates more flexibility for how you make money.

Rather than work 40 hours each week, the minimalist may only work 30 hours each week. Those extra 10 hours per week tap into the benefits of minimalist.

While most people see a smaller house or a beat-up car, the minimalist focuses on a stress-free lifestyle filled with joyous experiences. Yes, minimalists stress about certain things just like anyone else, but money stress isn’t as prevalent.

Minimalism Gone Too Far

Although minimalism has its perks, some people use minimalism to make up for financial shortcomings. While it’s not true for each minimalist, you can tell based on their motivations for pursuing minimalism.

For instance, I’d buy a smaller house because lower mortgage payments gets more mileage out of my existing naira. Traveling is more valuable to me than having a large house. Plus, a large house increases the amount of rooms to clean and upkeep. I clean when necessary, but I don’t want to make it harder for myself with a larger space.

If you buy a tiny house to save money and feel scrunched up, that’s a problem. That’s when minimalism goes a bit too far. Some people happily live in an RV even though they could afford a moderately sized home. They like the ability to travel and don’t need excessive space.

The best example of motivations is intermittent fasting. This fasting exercise has different definitions, but the general consensus is that you eat for 8 hours per day and fast for the other 16 hours.

If you only do this to yourself to shave off your grocery bill, you might be taking minimalism too far. If you looked into the benefits of fasting (i.e., naturally increasing your growth hormones, reduce your chances of cancer, delayed aging, etc.) and did it for those reasons, you’re not an overboard minimalist.

In the latter scenario, you pursue meaningful health benefits and happen to save money on your grocery bill.

In the former scenario, you’re in a money pinch and feel desperate. It’s in this scenario where you should reconsider how you make income and search for better opportunities.

Minimalism isn’t about reducing your standards. It’s about redefining your standards and what you don’t need in your life. A simpler life is less stressful and provides more flexibility.

That’s the power of minimalism and why many people embrace it.

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Edward Eni

Edward Eni

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The Mediocrity Slayer | Creating that ripple effect of awareness and positivity | Spreading knowledge to help others get their mind and their lives right.