Minimalism vs Frugality


The way we live can have an enormous impact on our finances. Minimalism and Frugality are two lifestyle philosophies that usually come up in combination with the quest for a simpler life and financial freedom. But what is the difference between Minimalism and Frugality? And what are the pros and cons of the two lifestyle philosophies?

Minimalism vs Frugality:

Minimalism is the process of identifying what is essential in life and removing everything else, while Frugality is the process to acquire goods and services in a restrained, economical manner and make resourceful use of what’s already available to achieve a longer-term goal, such as saving more money, or financial freedom.

If you want to learn more about the two life philosophies, read on.


What is Minimalism in detail?

Minimalism has its origin in visual arts and music. In visual arts, artists started preferring simple geometric shapes, while in music, they began to compose in a straightforward literal style. It originated as a movement in New York City in the 1960s and spread across the world.

Minimalism, as a lifestyle, is about only acquiring essential things in life and eliminating all other unnecessary items. It’s an excellent way to declutter life and focus on what’s important. Many minimalists like simple, aesthetically, and visually pleasing things.

The primary objective of Minimalism isn’t saving money. It’s rather about reducing complexities in life. Minimalists tend to purchase rather timeless quality items than cheap items. Saving can, however, be a beneficial side effect of Minimalism, because as a minimalist, you only buy what you need.

Minimalists strive to be physically and mentally happier by owning less stuff. Owning less means more time to focus on more important things, such as social experiences.

Minimalists are more self-aware and, therefore, less affected by marketing and emotionally driven consumer behavior. Minimalists shop mindfully and think seriously before purchasing any items.

Owning less stuff can also potentially mean a smaller home. Living in a smaller home again leads to potentially higher savings.

Benefits of Minimalism:

  • Less financial worries
  • Spend more on experiences, rather than things
  • Focus on the essentials
  • Declutter life and live happier with less
  • Smaller footprint on our planet

What is Frugality in detail?

Frugality is all about being economical with money and cutting back on spending. Frugal people will shop when prices are low and are on the hunt for discounted offers.

Like minimalistic people, frugalists will own only what’s essential. Frugalists are self-aware and mindful when purchasing items. They will, however, be more concerned with the price of the things they buy.

Some questions frugalists think about:

  • Do I need a water cooker, when I can just warm up water in a pan?
  • Do I need to buy a power drill to hang up two picture frames, or can I borrow the power drill from a friend?
  • Do I need to eat out, or is it cheaper to cook at home?
  • Can I find cheaper, less expensive brands with similar quality?

Frugalists tend to set themselves a budget when shopping groceries or prepare a list with things they require and won’t deviate from the plan.

You can, for example, prevent impulse purchases by setting a 10-30 days limit before purchasing.

As with Minimalism, Frugality is not about giving up everything you love. It’s about giving up what you love less so that you can do more of the things you genuinely love. Or it can also be about doing things, just in a different cheaper way, which still lets you make the same fun memories.

Once you’ve started to go down this route, you might just get addicted. I have friends who are having a lot of fun to find cheaper ways of doing things. They made it to their hobby and have a big smile on their face when they see other people spending more money than them. They are stashing away tons of cash, and many people are surprised when they hear how less they spend. They find very innovative ways of how not to spend their money. And by the way, these people are not poor. Some of them are accountants and money market professionals. Another is a Christian who isn’t that concerned with owning things and could retire early. The majority of them are active investors that invest in financial assets or real estate. They have more fun to see the money growing on their accounts than to buy stuff that they don’t need.

Benefits of Frugality:

  • Less financial worries
  • Spend more on experiences, rather than things
  • Focus on the essentials
  • Declutter life and live happier with less
  • Smaller footprint on our planet

As you can see, the benefits are the same, just that as a frugalist, you might save even more than as minimalist because being frugal usually has the goal to save money. In both cases, you can then use the money for other things, such as investments or happy experiences, such as travel and other social activities.


Thoughts of styling a living room – Minimalist vs Frugalist

The Minimalist

I have a white floor in the living room. It would look aesthetically pleasing to buy this red designer leather couch, which will be the center of the room. I will buy a black side table, as also the TV is black. I don’t need any more decoration. I’ll be mainly in the living room to sit and read a good book or watch TV and relax. Therefore, I need one more reading lamp, but that’s it. Do I need pillows? No, not really. Do I need any shelves? No, because I have my books on my iPhone, and I don’t want anything else to take precedence over the designer couch. It’s a little more expensive, but it’ll last for ten years. Do I need any other decoration items? No, not really.

The Frugalist

I have a white floor in the living room. It would look aesthetically pleasing to buy this red designer leather couch, which will be the center of the room. But the price is ridiculous. I can live with the much cheaper red couch I’ve seen in Ikea. It was comfy, and I think it will suffice. I could buy this black side table, but I think I’ll instead buy a secondhand side table and paint it black. I don’t need any more decoration. I’ll be mainly in the living room to sit and read a good book or watch TV and relax. Therefore, I need one more reading lamp, but that’s it. Do I need pillows? No, not really. Do I need any shelves? No, because I have my books on my Vivo Android Phone, and I don’t want anything else to take precedence over the red couch, which will look like a designer piece. Do I need any other decoration items? No, not really.


Summary

As you might have noticed, the differences are relatively small, so why not combine the two philosophies wherever it makes sense. Decluttering your life, sell all the stuff you don’t enjoy any longer, and living this lifestyle can be pretty pleasing and good for your wallet.

Both lifestyles are not about taking the fun out of your life but rather thinking cautiously about what you need and whatnot, focusing on the things you genuinely love while getting rid of everything else.

Chris

Chris is an IT Project Portfolio Manager within the financial industry. Due to the nature of his role, he is engaged to study Financial Markets and is an active investor.

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