Saturday, November 4, 2017

Newest Adventure: Frugal Minimalism

Newest Adventure: Frugal Minimalism 

      A little background
     Sometimes life throws you curveballs... you think "Ok you can breath now things are falling into place"... then in an instant they fall apart.  At the beginning of the year my husband and I made a big move from the middle of nowhere Southern Ohio to a more Northern town on the outskirts of two major cities.  A new job for him and a new life for our family.  About the time we finally got settled and called this place home, something happened.   He had to change jobs and a 45 minute commute suddenly became a hour and 30 minute commute one way with the joy of a significant cut in pay. What was comfortable and easy for a few fleeting months was quickly replaced with; to be honest sheer terror of making ends meet.

     I am still in the beginning phases of trying to sort this all out and adjust. We still have each-other and that's the most important.  In an effort to make the best of a "shitty situation"  I have discovered Minimalism a sister concept to frugality.  We all understand the concept of being frugal and stretching our pennies but most are not familiar with minimalism.
     Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists describe it as " Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.
That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. " 
    We as a society tend to be consumer minded about everything and are taught from childhood that "stuff & things" will make us happy.  Especially  those of us who are in our early 30's stuck on the cusp between Gen X and Millennials.  We were the first to have computers in our elementary classrooms (though clunky and equipped with those huge paper covered floppy disks lol) .  We sat in front of TV's for longer than other generations and many of us were "latch key kids", the TV and colorful commercials kept us from being lonely.  We were told we were on the edge of technology and that so much awaited us..  but received crushing debt from school loans and credit cards... the banks offering easy loans then raising interest rates, with the housing market becoming unsteady. I watched so many friends lose homes, jobs, and end up back at home time and time again. 
     And what does the world continue to scream down on us while we are in worse shape than our parents at our age? BUY BUY BUY more more more! Stuff makes you Happy! Stuff makes your kids Happy! Spend away your pain and depression! Who cares if you spiral down after seeing the debt of your "spend away your pain" spree!  I see so many memes urging you to YOLO (you only live once) or to Buy that thing you want and treat yo self"  Yeah Treat yo self lol... treat yourself to not being able to pay your rent or other responsibilities. 
   Minimalism rejects this, encourages you to live below your means (reasonably of course) so that you can save for your future or big purchase, so you can live uncluttered, so you can enjoy your space and learn to value and appreciate the possessions that you have.  Quality over quantity. And this idea FASCINATES me! I've always been as my husband would say cheap lol (I prefer low maintenance). So on several levels this idea seems an ingenious way to combat the consumerism 
     Only problem is... for all my "cheapskate" ways .. I admittedly have hoarder tendencies.  I am a clutterbug and hang on to everything thinking I may one day need it. And my frugal thinking mind says if I have it; I won't need to buy it.. which seems rational to a point.  Till you find boxes, and drawer, and closets full of "stuff" that you "may someday use" however someday may never come.  Thus my journey of freedom is beginning. Learning a New Balance between spending, saving, making ends miraculously meet, and yet letting go of all that "stuff" the world tells us we need, but we really just for a fleeting moment want.  

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