In reading and commenting on various minimalist blogs I came across an interesting observation. Minimalism doesn’t necessarily equal frugality, and frugality doesn’t necessarily equal minimalism.
There are certainly people that are both minimalist and frugal, and it may be possible that the majority of minimalists are frugal. In a way it goes with the territory. As a minimalist, you don’t place a high value on having stuff, so you don’t accumulate much stuff, so you don’t spend much money on stuff.
Yet there are those that fall into one category, but not the other. I consider myself to be in the minimalist category, but I’m not always frugal. We have reduced our lifestyle and purged a majority of our possessions putting us in the realm of minimalist. Yet I also believe that money should be spent for our enjoyment.
We save for retirement, we save for a new car, we save for our daughter’s college, and we save for emergencies. Once we’ve met the needs of that saving, and we’ve met the needs of our must have expenses, then we have an amount left over. This is our spend-on-wants amount. I make pretty good money in the IT field, so I have a little more freedom to spend than some. Yet I’m not a Doctor or Lawyer, so I have a little less freedom to spend than others. I try to spend on the items and experiences that bring the most joy into our lives.
My parents are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They are cluttered and on the verge of hoarding. Yet they are frugal to the max. They clip coupons, eat from the value menu, and don’t do much fun stuff unless it’s free. They frequently shop at Big Lots and they love a good sale. They are frugal, yet they aren’t minimalistic.
Sometimes minimalism doesn’t equal frugal and vice versa. There seems to be a large gray area between the minimalism and frugality.
What do you think? Where do you lie on the minimal-frugal scale?