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Minimalism is often associated with being frugal or “cheap”, but really they are two totally different things. In fact, through minimalism, I’ve learned an important lesson about investing in myself.
Before I got inspired to minimize, I prided myself on saving money. On being cheap. The coupon clipper, deal finder, clearance rack queen.
I bought oodles and oodles of stuff–baby stuff when I was pregnant (and even before), maternity clothes, clothes, clothes, clothes. Craft supplies, scrapbooking materials, DIY things. So many things. Craft stores, Amazon, Target, Kohls…I could find the deals and I thought it was making my life better.
But instead, the clutter was overwhelming, and the dollars added up. Cheap drugstore makeup, nail polish, hair gel. The toxins piled on and the quality of life went down.
When my daughter was a few months old, I melted down into an overwhelmed mess. It had to stop. And certainly, there had to be a better way to live.
Now to be clear, when I say “invest in yourself”, I’m not saying waste money and be selfish. Truly investing in yourself is quite the opposite–it’s a better use of your money (aka, investment), and it allows you to get the most use out of each item you own.
The downside of a bunch of cheap or clearance deals is that you don’t value them, they’re typically poor quality and they aren’t made to last. Cheap items usually end up broken or are treated as disposable.
In an effort to be more sustainable and take care of our stuff, higher quality investments will return far more value, enjoyment and overall, get more use over a greater period of time.
Does Minimalism Require a Higher Investment?
In general, the focus of true minimalism is getting rid of the distractions and excess in order to focus on the most important things.
That usually means reducing clutter and stress in order to make life flow simpler and with grace and ease.
This is where many minimalists do focus on quality over quantity. It makes more sense to invest in an item that you’ll use for years, instead of a few weeks or months. And truly, the word “frugal” does mean getting the most out of each investment you make, regardless of the dollar amount.
Bargain hunters, cheapskates, and the like would be more concerned with dollar amounts… Frugal just means you’re super aware of what you’re spending and using. Can you be cheap and a minimalist? Sure, but it will require far more energy and effort from you to find high-quality items at bargain prices!
How Minimalism Changed My Approach to Purchases
As I started to donate and sell boxes and boxes (and more boxes) of cheap stuff I’d accumulated over the years, it was a huge eye opener to just how much I’d actually spent, and how little (if at all) most of the stuff was used.
Clothes with tags. Baby stuff new in packages. Books and courses still in shrinkwrap. Unopened office supplies. It was, in many ways, utterly humiliating and heartbreaking. All this stuff was sitting untouched in my house while so many families in our community, and the world, desperately needed items like these.
They could have used them, while I did not.
This realization made me see how wasteful our society is as a whole, and also how consumerism feeds a continuous need for more, without ever giving a thought to truly caring for, repairing and sustaining the items we already have.
With minimalism, I’ve kept the best items, and let go of the rest. I have a capsule wardrobe. A simple kitchen. Curated bookshelves that bring me joy. It’s been a huge focus of mine to look inside my soul and make sure to only keep the things I love and use. Things with meaning and purpose.
All the rest–someone else can use them more than me.
Switching from Disposable to Sustainable
I’ve been a clearance rack fast-fashion shopper all my life. I thought it was about getting good deals. Why pay $40 for a shirt when I can get it for $5?? If only it were that simple.
Two years ago I watched the documentary “The True Cost” on Netflix. It was shocking, sickening and caused me to take a hiatus from shopping. I no longer desired to go clearance rack shopping. In fact, I really didn’t even want to set foot in fast fashion consumer stores at all.
The fact was, all those clearance rack clothes I’d purchased over the years? They’re gone. They stretched out, ripped, stained, or lost appeal.
When first looking into sustainable clothing, I had a common response. It’s SO expensive! I could never afford it…
But over time, I realized I couldn’t NOT afford it.
A few weeks ago, I placed an order with Movement Global, a small Canadian shop that designs organic, eco-friendly, sustainable and versatile clothing. I saved up for months to make that order of basics: a reversible skirt, camisole, reversible t-shirt, versatile wraps, and a reversible tank top.
Though they are pricey, they are a modular design where they can be worn in numerous ways. I’ll share more about that soon! The thing is, though I had to save for a long time, the quality is impeccable, and when cared for correctly, they should last for many years to come.
Season after season, sustainable and versatile items–clothing or not–require an investment but deliver amazing value. I’ve also done this in the kitchen–swapping out plasticware for durable glass Pyrex containers and Mason jars.
Self-Care & Body Care – What You Put On Makes a Difference
Hitting the milestone age of 30 has been eye-opening to me. I never could stick with a skincare routine before, and now, my body lets me know where I’ve been slacking. The hormonal acne, wrinkles, and imbalanced energy have made it clear that self-care is vastly important.
In my 20s, I just went along with it, but now, I realize that balancing my hormones and taking care of myself can no longer be ignored. I ditched the toxins years ago, but I didn’t fully implement a natural self-care regimen either.
I thought it didn’t matter. That I couldn’t afford the best products, so why bother.
Only it did matter. A lot.
Learning to understand my hormonal cycle was the beginning, and finding ways to naturally balance them is an ever fluid journey. But the more self-care I prioritize (time to read, write, meditate, pray, exercise, stretch), in addition to proper skin care routines, the more balanced and creative I feel.
After trying many DIY and cheaper versions that didn’t work, I invested in Young Living’s skincare and makeup lines. It’s still difficult for me to remember to follow the steps every day, but when I do it consistently, the results are worth it!
I’m still frugal about it–I use it sparingly and make the most of it, but the high-quality essential oils and ingredients ultimately make it worth every penny to me.
Final Thoughts on Investing in Yourself
It requires a mindset change to learn to invest in yourself wisely and carefully. Seeking versatility over novelty. Looking for action over the price tag.
Researching what works better and benefits your health more, and knowing that the investment into health and self-care is worth it.
Minimalism taught me to spend less on frivolous stuff (I rarely go to stores, especially Target, anymore). Even though I invest in higher quality things, I’m not actually spending more money than I used to. I’m just spending it differently.
I never valued quality before, but now I purposely choose it. Because it matters to take care of yourself.
Related Articles on Minimalism
- Minimalism If Your House Isn’t Picture Perfect
- More Life, Less Stuff || Why Minimalism?
- Our Minimalism Journey || Photos of What Our Home Really Looks Like