My Extreme Frugal Habits & Minimalist Spending Behaviors
I'm talking about frugal habits with my friend Shireen, and we're also discussing minimalism and frugality.
Shireen and I each created a set of questions and combined them to see how different the answers were. I am answering questions about things I consider to be wasteful spending and vice versa. Click here to see her answers about frugal habits.
Would you buy a designer bag?
The first question is, would you ever buy a designer bag, like a Dior bag, for $5,000? My answer is, yes, I would if we made enough money and I wanted it.
For me, it's not really about having or not having nice, expensive things. It's about how you got them and what is relative to your income.
Would you ever stay in a luxury resort for $500 a night?
I think this goes along with the last one. It depends on how much money you make. It depends on how much value it would add to your life. If we were rolling in money, we could spend $2,000 a night in a hotel.
Do you have to spend that much money to have fun? No. We love camping, and we found a spot where we can camp for free, and we have a great time doing that, too. So the amount of money does not necessarily equate to the amount of fun.
Would you ever do the no-furniture, extreme minimalist idea?
For me, the answer is a hard no. I get the idea of having no objects, but I value comfort. I don't want to be frugal because I want people to notice. It should seem normal that you were clever and saved a lot of money.
What are your non-frugal, non-minimalist habits?
My non-frugal habit would probably be buying Portland Leather. It was more expensive, but it lasts forever, so I'm definitely into buying more expensive things that will last longer.
Another non-frugal thing we do is go on vacations, visit our family, and go on trips. One of our goals is to bond as a family and have fun times as a family and go and do fun things.
We are meeting one of our goals by going on vacation. It's not necessarily a money goal, but it's a relationship goal, and I think those can be just as important as financial goals.
What is extreme minimalism to you, and how far would you go?
This is a complicated question because I'm married to another human being, and he has different opinions than me. I am much more willing to do extreme minimalist things than him.
So we often meet in the middle, trying to figure out how to reach our goals together and still be happy with our quality of life.
What do you do with gifts that you don't like?
I do not have the best answer for this, but when someone gives you a gift, it leaves their possession and is now in your possession. So it doesn't have anything to do with them anymore.
They made the gesture of love, gave you the token, and now it is released into your care. So what you do with that item should be technically totally your business. Keep it, love it, gift it again, donate it, whatever.
Does minimalism work with kids?
Minimalism itself could work with kids, but it could be pretty expensive because you're not saving anything extra.
You have the least amount of possessions humanly possible, which means that if you have more than one child, that coat is not in the closet waiting for another one to grow into, so then you have to buy another one.
I think frugal minimalism can work with kids if it's about spending as little money as possible. If you are into hand-me-downs and keeping stuff from your older kids to use with your younger kids, you can save a ton of money, but it does take some space.
Does extreme minimalism work long-term?
I would say for most people; it doesn't. I think it can be a great short-term goal. I also think this extremeness can lead to burnout and yo-yo budgeting, as I like to call it.
Yo-yo budgeting is one day you're saying you're not going to buy anything. Then you realize there's no wiggle room in your plan, so you blow your budget, and you don't get closer to your financial dreams because you decided to be extreme.
What is the difference between minimalism and extreme minimalism?
I want to be mindful of the things we bring into our home and not have excess things cluttering our lives and minds.
I also don't want to be stressed about having only 30 books. I think minimalism can look a lot of different ways, but it's about being mindful of the things you have in your house and not keeping things that you don't love and are not useful.
When I'm thinking about extreme minimalism, I think about having all your worldly possessions in your backpack. I'm thinking about those YouTube videos where they have thumbnails, and everything they own is on the floor in their thumbnail.
What type of person do you think minimalism works best for, and can it work for everyone?
I think minimalism works best for people that are set in their life. They found the thing that they want to do with their life. They know the kind of activities they are planning to do for the rest of their life and probably not raising children.
I think the principles of minimalism can benefit many people and not work for others.
Extreme frugal habits
Do minimalism and frugality work for you? Adopting frugal and minimalist habits is beneficial to many people. Comment below to share what part of the frugal living journey you're on.
I’m not frugal but more aware of what I buy and what I really need or want. I like red wine but I have no issues with someone making my wine and me bottling it, and can save $500//year. I also love reading but do not want the bulk of keeping a book so I buy ebooks and I cannot buy another until I finished the one. My goal is to de clutter my house before I pass so my kids will not have the burden.