Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard some pretty funny comments in reaction to minimalism and our website:
- “I read your blog, and I got hyped. Made me feel like I was a minimalist, and it felt awesome.”
- “Sometimes I’m about to buy something and then I think of you and your minimalist lifestyle, and then I don’t buy it.”
- “I thought about what makes me feel rich after reading your post last week. Everything makes me feel rich, so I can’t be a minimalist.”
The common thread surfacing through these three comments is that minimalists try not to spend money on ANYTHING. This couldn’t be more incorrect—at least here at Wall Street Minimalist. You shouldn’t worry extensively about how much you’re spending, but rather what you’re spending it on. Obviously, there’s some beautiful merit to scoring solid deals on the things and experiences you consciously intended to purchase, but our focus at WSM isn’t on “how much something costs” as much as it is “was that something necessary.”
Last week’s post helped you determine what it is that you value (i.e. what does rich mean to you). This week, we want to build off that. Minimalism strives to take the question of “what does rich mean to me” and remove STUFF from the equation as much as possible. When faced with this question last week (what does rich mean to me?), some of you might have thought about awesome clothes, nice cars, big houses, cool electronics, or random house knick-knacks. None of these things are inherently bad. But the combination of STUFF without differentiating or weighting their value leads you to mindlessly spend money on things that provide you hardly any value.
Instead, try to focus on EXPERIENCES. Like traveling, dates, events, outdoor recreation, museums, and being with friends and family.
Think back on your life to this point. What memories are you most fond of? What events stick out in your mind? Guaranteed, no one thought about the time they bought their first car. Or when they got those super cool high heels from Nordstrom. I’m sure your mind shot straight to the vacation you took to Paris. Or the time you and your friends hit Vegas. Or the warm, sandy beaches of a Zakynthos, Greece beach. When you look back on your life, it won’t be the iPhone 8 that you remember. And it definitely won’t be those cute jeans you bought when you were 23. Now before you freak out and think I’m going to go Chuck Norris on your vibes, let’s clarify a few things.
I LOVE my GoPro and our camera equipment. Do you think every minimalist is lugging around a drone, a couple GoPros, multiple attachments, and a DSLR camera? Probably not. Does this mean I’ve given into consumerism? I would argue that minimalism is a focus on de-cluttering your life of the stuff that doesn’t matter and filling it with the experiences that do. Our GoPros and camera are vehicles through which Hannah and I relive the experiences we have together. Minimalism is deeply personal. You only have yourself to reconcile with each time you purchase something.. and your spouse if they told you not to get that something…
Your purchases should be completely intentional. I want to give an example of how this works. When you go shopping, you’re not looking for an awesome button-up shirt. Instead, you noticed that a navy blue, short-sleeved minimalistic button-up without any patterns would look great on you and is missing from your [already] simple capsule closet. So you go looking for that ONE piece of clothing to purchase. If it costs $20, great! How about $100? If it is exactly what you came looking for and will last a long time, get it. When you shop intentionally, seeking out “deals” becomes less important. The deals you used to seek out were probably for things that you didn’t need to buy anyway.
All this talk about minimalism being highly personal, and you still have no idea where you should start for yourself… How do you decide what your personal minimalism looks like? Go check out the email we sent you introducing this week’s article. At the bottom of the email, you should find a link to our supplemental materials. And if you aren’t already subscribed, use our this link here, and we’ll send you everything!
This week’s step and supplemental guide in our Bootcamp are crucial as we move forward into the topic of credit cards next week. Check out Hannah’s post this week about her journey to minimalism – AMAZING article and very helpful. We can’t wait to hear from you!