My husband are I are completely debt free. In fact, we have spent most of our married life with little to no debt excepting one car payment and a couple hospital bills which are paid off now.
Do you know how unheard of that is? Debt seems to be the American way of life but it’s not the minimalist way of life.
So if we don’t buy stuff and we keep life simple what do minimalists spend money on?
We Became Minimalists By Necessity
I’m not trying to brag. I promise you we didn’t become minimalists because we love uncomfortable chairs and stark surroundings. We didn’t even become minimalists because we wanted to.
We, like a lot of people, found the minimalist lifestyle by necessity.
We just didn’t have much money and as newlyweds we lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment. In an effort to make our home comfortable we limited purchases and got rid of stuff when it became redundant.
But slowly, we started to realize that having with less was giving us so much more in return. More time, more freedom, and a bigger life!
How was it possible? The secret lies in how we spent our money, and also how we didn’t spend it.
What Minimalists Don’t Spend Money On
So what are some of the things minimalists don’t spend money on? A lot of things.
The day after we got engaged my husband said we should probably look for a bigger place. I said we could just try to make the apartment work for a little while. Not only did I not want to be tied down but I wanted to save money on one of our biggest expenses.
So with that one decision we chose not to spend money on larger housing.
Next, as I mentioned before, we were very careful about what we bought because we always had to ask ourselves “Where will we put it?”
That question alone saved us an untold amount of money. I didn’t buy a bunch of decorations or kitchen gadgets, we didn’t buy a bunch of new furniture, and my husband’s board game collection was successfully contained to one bookshelf.
We stayed in that studio apartment for almost 10 years. We could have bought a home but we chose not to spend a huge amount of savings on a down payment. Another reason we didn’t want to buy a home is cause we know home maitainence doesn’t come cheap.
In fact, we worked to be content with what we had in a lot of ways including not buying the brand new phone or computer just because we could.
Last but not least, we didn’t spend money on new cars. We had used cars and still do. Having a good car that runs is important to us but having a fancy new car isn’t.
So what are some things minimalists don’t spend money on?
- Random stuff, clothing, gadgets, and home décor.
- Larger housing to store all the stuff we don’t need.
- Unnecessary ownership.
- Brand new replacements for perfectly useful things.
What Minimalists Spend Money On
When you look at the list above you may think, that’s most things. Minimalists don’t buy anything! But that’s not true.
In fact you would be surprised that minimalists spend money on lots of things. Some of these things minimalists spend money are just different things than you may be in the habit of spending money on. But some of them may be the very same things you spend money on.
For example, even though I’m a minimalist I still run out of shampoo, break my phone, and have to replace my car once in awhile. I even buy clothes, shoes, and fun stuff like board games!
The main difference between what minimalists buy and what non-minimalists buy is intention. When you are trying to keep your life simple you are very careful about what you buy. You want to make sure you aren’t buying unnecessary items and you do your research so that you buy the right things.
Minimalists also tend to spend (maybe more) money on things that aren’t things. Let’s explore what that means.
A big reason we stayed in our little apartment for so long was that we saw that our low rent, low maintenance situation allowed us to save money every single month.
That savings came in handy as newly weds who had unexpected hospital bills and car repairs. It also helped us be able to go on some pretty awesome trips!
Because minimalists don’t spend a lot of random money on junk they don’t need they tend to spend money on their own futures. They do this by saving regularly. And when they’ve got saving down they might even invest.
As I mentioned before, I still have to buy stuff, at an alarmingly regular rate for a minimalist.
In the course of our 12 years married we have bought 3 cars, several smart phones, plenty of clothes, lots of board games, and tons of other random stuff like an inflatable kayak and water bags for our favorite hobby!
Minimalists do not have a problem spending money on necessary purchases. In fact, minimalism is all about making life easier so if we need something to function as normal people who have jobs, wear clothes, and like to have fun, we spend money on it!
The only difference is, we actually make sure that “necessary purchases” are necessary and not just transient “wants”. Minimalists spend money on whatever they actually need to enjoy life.
Another big thing that most minimalists spend money on is education. I’m not just talking about college. Minimalists appreciate lifelong learning and usually feel that classes for painting, exercise, cooking, dancing, and music are well worth their money.
When minimalists spend money on education of any kind their goal is to gain the knowledge and skill. They may even pursue a certain kind of education or training in order to get a job that allows them to further simplify their life.
For example, I have been learning everything I can about blogging and working hard at it so that I can eventually blog full time and live anywhere I want and have a simple life doing what I love.
Minimalists Spend Money on Experiences
I’ve gone on some really cool trips but I have very few souvenirs. Why is that? Because we simply had better things to spend our money on.
When we travel we take tours, go to museums, have ziplining adventures, take wine tastings, and eat awesome local food. We collect experiences and memories instead of things.
In fact, most minimalists tend to spend money on experiences instead of things. We don’t think twice about spending a little extra money renting a kayak or taking an excursion because we are not spending our money on stuff that will just become clutter.
Even in their daily life minimalists will consistently choose to spend money on experiences instead of things.
We will buy a kayak and use it every weekend instead of going to the mall all the time.
Or we will work on learning an instrument, have friends over to play board games, or take a hike instead of spending money on the latest and greatest stuff.
Spend Money On Others
Something I really love about my husband is his very generous nature. And what I love about minimalism is that it allows him to be that way.
We save money regularly because we live below our means and don’t buy junk. That means that we can do nice things for friends, take our parents our for dinner, or help someone out without worrying about it causing a problem with our budget later.
Because we don’t spend more than we need to on ourselves we are also able to be pretty active in a volunteer work that matters to both of us. We also donate to an organization we trust to help others regularly.
If you become a minimalist I guarantee you will find your abundance filling the scarcity of others. And because there is more happiness in giving than in receiving, generosity is always the best thing to spend money on.
What Will You Spend Money On?
So now you know. Minimalists spend money on all sorts of things all the time. The difference lies in what they spend money on.
Minimalist’s choose to spend money on experiences, true necessities, personal growth, and others. They choose not to spend money on extra stuff that is bound to become clutter.
What about you? How would you like to spend your money? Would you like your money to take your further in life? Try spending money like a minimalist!
How to Think Like a Minimalist
I think that minimalism is something that everyone needs in this crazy modern world. But the word minimalism scares people. Let me assure you, it doesn’t have to be scary! After all, making life simple should make life easy!
So how can you create simplicity in your life? How can you simplify your home, your schedule, your chores, and even your goals? Is it possible for minimalism to help normal people like you and I?
Absolutely! That’s why I wrote Doable Simplicity (minimalism for normal people). To help normal people like you and me make simple living an easy and beneficial way of life that helps them do more of what matters.