When I tell people that we are moving into a trailer, I get a pretty mixed bag of responses. Overall it’s extremely positive and those who know us understand the logic behind what we are doing. But there are some people that don’t quite grasp it. Instead they assume and imply that pure frugality is the motivation behind our drastic lifestyle change. Alas, it is not. There are some major differences behind minimalism and frugality.
For the record, I have nothing against certain aspects to frugal living. Everyone loves a good deal, but gaining an appreciation for craftsmanship and product integrity has given me a new perspective on exactly what a ‘good deal’ is, while simultaneously becoming a more conscious consumer.
Unfortunately, in a genuine effort to save money and get the best deal possible, those aiming for a frugal lifestyle often find themselves wrapped up in bulk-only deals, piles of coupons and inadvertently become excessive consumers. In the past, I was guilty of falling prey to the big box stores tricks and sneaky marketing efforts. Subconsciously convincing me if I buy two for the price of one I’m getting this amazing deal. (I’m not…I simply just paid more for that one shirt to cover the price of the second.) Target used to suck me in every time. Their dollar spot is a frugal person’s heaven. That’s why I wrote this post on resisting the Target Temptation.
Having a frugal mindset in the world we live in today can be rather contradictory to its original intentions.
The true definition of frugality is to lack wastefulness and focus on savings. But it seems that those looking to simply spend the least amount end up purchasing more in bulk to drive down the price. The end result is a lot of excess, low quality goods and sometimes going over budget without realizing it.
This excess just sits…unused, wasting away until the ‘smart consumer’ decides to eventually trash it after enough time has expired to not feel guilty about the original purchase.
Spending two hours on a Sunday clipping coupons in order to save a few dollars on the next grocery run is not actually saving money. That time wasted clipping coupons could be spent with family, working or enjoying simple down time. Time is a precious commodity that should not be wasted.
Blindly choosing the lowest, most economical option may seem like the right thing to do in order to save money, but if you’re having to buy that product four times more regularly that a higher priced, but more durable, well-built product, well then once again, frugality just became your enemy.
I consider many aspects of modern frugality wasteful and economically ignorant.
On the other hand the focus of minimalism is quality of design. The term actually originated from the minimal arts movement of the 1960’s. By way of using the least amount of elements to create the maximum effect in return. In the more modern world, minimalism, has evolved into an all-encompassing term for a highly intentional lifestyle. Minimalists are opting to purchase less frequently, with the utmost care into why and when they choose to add new things into their life.
There are many different ways to achieve a minimalistic style of living. But at the end of the day, it does boil down to design. Everything we do requires design.
A great design can make all the difference.
The choices we make daily are the instruments we use to compose our lives. These choices design our environments, emotions, preferences and determine in what terms we want to live.
I look at minimalism as a way to clear a path for me to live a life filled with adventure and happiness.
By common definition, it is easy to see how many could interchange the two terms. But I believe they couldn’t be any more different.
We are moving into the trailer to design a life we want to live. Removing the excess from our lives we are essentially giving ourselves a blank slate. Our goal is to create a life rich with experiences and unforgettable moments.
The only thing we plan on having in abundance is happiness. And that is always free.