Is being frugal really necessary in order to lead a minimalist lifestyle?
When many of us hear words like simplicity and minimalism, we automatically think of frugality. Cutting back to the barest of minimums. Watching every penny. Worrying about all outgoings.
Well, my life is pretty simple, but it looks nothing like this.
My version of living simpler doesn’t mean living frugally at all. In fact, I live a fuller life than ever. I have travelled more for pleasure in the last few years than at any other time in my life. In fact, as I write this, I have just spent the last three months travelling around Asia.
I go to my fair share of live concerts, seeing musicians and bands that I love, and I can still be found wearing the odd designer shirt and jeans. My choice of eyewear is certainly not the cheapest spectacles I could find.
I will always take you up on the chance to try a latte at the newest coffee shop in town.
What can I say? I like a little comfort and adventure. Does that make me a walking cliché? I don’t think so, but I’m also fine if you think it does.
Simplicity is a Gateway to Living Well
For me, embracing simplicity into my life has meant stripping away from distractions and living more intentionally. Seeking a life with more focus, clarity and meaning. Living monastically isn’t part of my remit.
I still consume, but I’m much more careful about what I consume. In terms of material possessions, I’ve realized that I need a lot less than once thought I did.
I’ve become more comfortable saying no and turning down requests that don’t fit with my life priorities. This is such a simple concept, yet so many of us give up our ability to say no too freely.
None of this feels frugal. I certainly don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything—far from it. These are just intentional decisions that support me living my version of a simpler life.
The upside for me has been more focus, more purpose and more white space in my days for adventure, or just staying still occasionally. I feel like I dictate the pace of my life more than I have in the past.
Comparisons are a Race to the Bottom
Too many of us get caught up spending time comparing ourselves to others, rather than getting in touch with ourselves and really uncovering what it is we want most. Once we’ve uncovered this, we can take steps toward supporting it. Our actions, plans and daily tasks can align and take on new purpose.
Ultimately, living a simple life should mean living well and without depravation. What that means for each of us will have slightly (or very) different flavors. That’s as it should be.
Live simple certainly, but live simple your own way.