One of the keys to our minimalist journey is living within self-imposed limits in order to enjoy experiences together rather than acquire more stuff that we don’t need. My wife and I both had modest upbringings and so we are fortunately on the same page when it comes to money matters. Neither one of us grew up going out to eat at restaurants very much nor was it uncommon for us to wear hand-me-down clothes.
As our motto of “living large with less” suggests, we continue to practice the fine art of frugality even after all these years of being married. And make no mistake: frugal does not mean cheap. We simply believe in quality over quantity and are not opposed to spending more for better quality. For example, it is worth it to us to pay extra for Apple’s computers because we are convinced of their superior performance.
However, overall we prefer to live within our means by keeping our splurges to a minimum and staying out of debt. Vicki Robin, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life, rightly stated, “I buy my freedom with my frugality.” We practice the same principle in our lives and I thought it might be helpful to share some of our practices here. None of these pointers make a huge difference in and of themselves but together they do.
- Collect and wrap spare change to trade for cash at the bank.
- Use a rewards credit card to get cash back on your purchases.
- Exercise at home rather than getting an unused gym membership.
- Clip coupons for the chain restaurants you like to frequent in your area.
- Recycle bottles and cans and redeem eligible ones for cash if your area allows.
- Secure your money in interest bearing bank accounts or other liquid investments.
- Utilize your local library to read books, listen to music, and watch movies for free.
- Limit yourself to basic cable television and get high speed internet for streaming.
- Cancel subscriptions to newspapers and magazines and read them at the library.
- Drink water instead of costly beverages when you go out to eat at restaurants.
- Save gobs of money by avoiding vices like smoking, drinking, and drugs.
Louise DeSalvo writes in On Moving: A Writer’s Meditations on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again: “When [one bestselling author] was asked to describe his ideal day, he remarked he could never have lived such a day unless he’d rejected the idea of living in luxury. From when he moved to Paris with just ten dollars in his pocket, he’d learned that the only way for him to be free enough to live life on his own terms was to eschew possessions and to follow his instinct to move.”
Regular readers know that Linda and I have been on a minimalist journey [living in six furnished homes in as many years] since selling our house to become more mobile. We love it here in midcoast Maine so we renewed our latest lease for another year and are not planning to leave the area. So before moving into our present condo we needed a couple of nightstands and reading lamps, which I nabbed at a yard sale the day we moved here. We got a great deal on them and like them so much they may move with us one day.