I have had at least one message in the past day or two that suggests that living a minimalist lifestyle will hurt the chances of an economic recovery.

Balderdash.

For the past decade or more some people have been spending themselves into oblivion and where did that get us? The economy still tanked.

It wasn’t a minimalist lifestyle that caused it.

And what of the economic downturn?(I love these phrases that governments and economists have come up with!)

I am very sorry that companies have downsized and that people have lost their jobs.

I am sorry that times are tough for some people and that they are struggling to get by financially.

But I was not the one who told them to go out spend beyond their means either.

From what I have read from numerous comments on this blog is that in a lot of cases it was a bit of a wake up call for a lot of people.

It forced them to look at their spending habits and analyze what the hell was going on.

It forced them to live a much more frugal, minimalist lifestyle. To examine their priorities and figure what really mattered in their lives.

A lot of them got rid of a lot their stuff. They sold it or gave it away.

They reexamined their spending and their priorities.

And you know what?

They were happier because of it.

How much stuff does one person or one family need for crying out loud?

Huge houses filled to the rafters. Garages overflowing so that you can’t park your car in them.

Come on!

I am not against spending. I like nice stuff. But I save my money for things and I pay cash. I think long and hard before making a big ticket purchase.

Do I really NEED this item?

Most of the time the answer is no.

I have no athletic shorts. My girlfriend had to convince me last week to get a pair for walks and working out.

I will obviously use them. So I did end up buying a pair.

What I am against is just the mindless consumerism. Spending as a national pastime!

Why?

To make ourselves feel better?

There is no correlation between spending and happiness. Oh sure you get a little bit of a “high” at the time but it quickly wears off.

One thing I notice when I am out in a store(yes I do go to stores at times!) is just how unhappy people look.

Is it just me or do people seem sour!

Would it kill you to smile and be a bit cheerful?

My girlfriend always comments on how I say hello to everyone. People I meet on the sidewalk when out for a walk. And I am an introvert!!

Smile and say hello. It ain’t gonna kill ya!

Anyway, living a more simple, minimalist lifestyle is okay. Everyone needs to eat. We need clothing and shelter and some material goods.

Minimalist living is just about being smart about spending.

It is about freeing oneself from the shackles of mindless consumerism.

It is about priorities and being debt free.

It is about figuring out what really is important in your life.

Minimalist living can be whatever you want or need it to be for you.

Want to go all out and be an extreme minimalist that lives a self sustaining lifestyle off the land and off the grid?

Go for it! I commend you. I kind of like that idea but my girlfriend isn’t quite there. Not yet anyway:)

Oh yeah and I have a teenage son. Damn. Just kidding!!

Or maybe just cutting your possessions by a third or in half is enough.

That’s okay as well.

I want to just to travel forever. I don’t really want stuff that ties me to one place. Yes I am a bit of a dreamer. I am a Sagittarius after all!

It’s your choice. And that’s the beauty of it.

Stop listening to the doom and gloom economic forecasts.

And stop comparing your life to the lives of others.

Just live your own life. Make your own choices for you.

Minimalist living hurting the economy. Please!

So what do you want your life to look like?

Stressed about money and bills and all the clutter and stuff you have? Arguing with your partner about money problems? Sounds like fun.

Or a more free, calm, happy and simple existence?

An existence where you get to dictate how to control your life. Not the other way around.

The choice is yours.

What’s it going to be?

I LOVE comments

Please Like this if you are still on Facebook and share it with the world. Thanks and have an awesome day!

“Live Simply”

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52 thoughts on “Living A Minimalist Lifestyle Will NOT Kill The Economy

  1. It is a shame that we are being encouraged to consume as a way of having a buoyant economy. Of course, if we did spend less I think that the economy would have to alter but that doesn’t mean we therefore be living in abject povery with no money for healthcare and such like.

  2. I believe the truth to what you say. I am following your blog because I want to go there. To become simpler. It is hard. I have a long way to go, but I am trying. I like that you are not an extremist. You realize that it is hard to change a lifestyle that has become a habit.
    Keep up the good work!
    Thank you!

  3. The only thing I can say is, “Amen!” It was after my husband’s job loss (after loss, after loss) that my eyes truly opened to just how ridiculous our spending had been in the past. We’re taking it one step at a time, but living a more simple lifestyle has been a huge blessing. I personally think our government should take note!

    1. Governments! An evil necessity? They can run deficits of billions or trillions and oh well. And then they tell the average person to tighten up their spending habits. Let’s think about that for a second. I don’t think they live in the real world.

      There was a piece in the paper today about a 16$ glass of Orange Juice that some government person had charged.

      That had better be some damn good oj!

  4. Some random thoughts: 1) I loved your saying how you say hello to people on your walks even though you are an introvert. I am the same way: a strong introvert but I always am extending myself to people when my husband and I walk at night. I am always shocked at how I am usually the one making the first effort to connect. But you are right, most Americans are MISERABLE because they spend time competing and consuming. 2) I lived in Europe for six years. I had no money but my life was rich beyond belief. Europeans live life and that is their priority. 3)The whole point is that you spend less money on crap that doesn’t last and more money on stuff that does. This has NOTHING to do with why the economy tanked. It tanked due to the greed of the 1%. Anyone who says to the contrary is misinformed and/or part of the 1%. We buy VERY little, my husband makes a normal salary, I work part-time as a server in a restaurant and make crappy money, but we can afford to spend two weeks in Europe on vacation every year as well as nearly two weeks in Portland, Oregon each December. Our house is paid off since our early 40s since we bought a lovely house that was below our means. We live in a VERY expensive state (NJ), and our property taxes are very high so we have learned to live on less and it is highly gratifying. We only buy diesel VWs (which get from 45-54 mpg) and pay for them in cash and keep them at least ten years. My New Beetle is presently 14 years old. I am always laughing to myself at how people are so shocked at its age but these are the same people who are envious that we can afford to pay for a vacation in Europe every year. We buy very little but when we do buy stuff, it is top-quality (like the German-made Miele washer and dryer we just bought). I love my life. I have loads of time and enough money since we do not waste it on crap. I never go to malls. I detest shopping. I love living and love traveling.

    1. Spectacular comment and insight.

      You have realized what so people have. To live below your means. To spend LESS than you make. Such a simple concept and yet so few get it.

      Yes it is a different world in parts of Europe and elsewhere than in North America.

      Buy quality items that last. Save for them and pay cash. Don’t wast money on useless crap. Again simple concepts.

      Good for you and your husband on your minimalist, simple lifestyle that works well for you.

      And thanks for saying hello:)

      1. Thanks for the response and thanks for all your supportive blogs. It is so uplifting knowing we are not the only ones on this path of simpler living.

    2. This might seem strange, but I can’t imagine having a holiday in Europe every year, spending two weeks in Oregon every year, living in an expensive state and purchasing quality German washing appliances (where quality is completely subjective) as being part of a minimalist lifestyle. It’s almost as if you’re advertising how much money you spend on the things you do spend it on.

      I don’t begrudge you for having money and spending it, but that seems to go against the grain of a minimalist lifestyle, as I understand it. Then again, I’ve had different experiences which have given me a slightly more extreme view of minimalism.

      1. Carl – I have to disagree with you. Minimalism isn’t about never spending money. It’s about examining your life and priorities and spending less on things that aren’t a priority so you have more money/time to spend on the things that are. Many minimalists value experiences over stuff. Maybe you would rather save and buy more free time, while someone else values traveling. It’s all good. The key, I think, is that it’s a careful, conscious decision rather than blindly following the Joneses, advertising, etc.

      2. Everyone’s path is different.

        Save money, buy quality items that are “needed”(this is subjective) that will last a long time.

        Life should be about living and experiences. If that means Europe than so be it.

        Thanks so much Carl for your comment and perspective.

        Great comment.

      3. Minimalism is very personal and we can’t impose our definition/ rules of it on others.

    3. Wise words!
      I think that Americans became dominated by the power of money and their lenders. A great deal of them allowed themselves to become slaves of their morgages, spending and buying on credit. In Europe, it hapened the same, with the results anyone can see…
      As you say, life can be much richer with less money.

  5. Hi Mr. M (for minimalist)–I like calling you that–hope it’s OK. 🙂 This cycle of overspending and squandering money is concretized in us and the government. The government and mass consumerism keeps pushing us in the same direction but I am doing my best to go the other way. Breaking this viscious cycle will not be easy but we can do it. What’s that saying?–“if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten”…..If enough of us change–the government will have to follow. We are on the cusp of great change everywhere and this is part of the revolution. Great blog!

  6. The opinions you express here are my opinions too! And I really don’t see how this can be denied. I’ve studied economic theory, and I understand why the government promotes spending etc, but it isn’t like we’re burning all our money and running away into the hills! We will still be making purchases, just not on useless or unnecessary things that waste our money and time!

  7. I am a consumer. But I try to consume consumables, like food and wine. I’m not just going to go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of plastic crap that I don’t need with the thought that it might help the economy. I am going to go to the local farm market and buy some delicious ingredients that will give me a wonderful meal. My money is still going into the economy. My way. We will have to change. We will have to buy things that we truly need and love. We will then own them for years instead of owning 10 crappy versions that we can’t even find because our houses are too messy. Say it is a watch. When your watch is broken you will fix it. You will be helping the economy by supporting the person that fixed your watch. See how commerce can still occur in a land that doesn’t hoard or overly consume. Living within your means can be hard to do but being out of debt (which we are not yet) is a great thing to obtain.

  8. I am in absolute agreement with your perspectives. Also, to those that say that not buying unnecessary items is contributing to our poor economy: it has more to do with privatization of resources and American-based corporations shipping jobs out of country. Why would you buy things from companies that are taking the jobs and resources out of our economy to begin with? As long as our economy is based only on spending on unnecessary items, and not on actually producing necessary items (or, much of anything) within our own borders, it will always be a house of cards.

    1. Good points. I am not an economist. I heard recently that 40 years ago 70% of the American economy was manufacturing based. Today it is something 30%. Please do not quote me on those numbers.

      Now the vast majority of the American economy is service industry based.

      Not sure what all this means but I love your comment!

      Any economists out there who can help us??

  9. It’s also worth pointing out that with the quality of a lot of the stuff being produced, we have to keep buying the same thing over and over due to planned obsolescence. I’ve lived less than a quarter of a century, but even I’m noticing a difference; I have a sweater that I’ve worn for 6 years that is just getting to the point that I may need to get rid of it or repurpose the fabric, but shirts I’ve bought in the last year are already so thin I have to wear an undershirt. (I’m probably being overly cynical, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s why sheer tops are a new trend – stores don’t even have to pretend they’re thick enough fabric to cover you up)

  10. Hi there!
    It’s great that so many others are also thinking about this issue!
    I started to write about this in a blog as well some weeks ago on http://gooddaytolive.wordpress.com/ out of the desire to exchange on living more simplistic and downshifted. Good to see that others think the same way, as in daily live you unfortunatelly don’t meet that many of those people.
    Cheers,
    Woodpecker

  11. I agree. How silly it is that our government and mega-corporations tell us that spending is the only way to cure our economy. As if that’s what caused the crash (yeah right), not the fact that the banking industry has unwound all the regulations that kept our economy in balance.

    I worked at a bank for a short time, and the one thing I saw when there was that the vast majority of people (I’m talking 70% here….) had less than $500 in their accounts, checking or savings. Most people live paycheck to paycheck. If people had $2000 saved, they were doing damn good. It was shocking – we are a nation of debtors and people who lack savings. Why are we this way? And how will we survive if suddenly everyone is out of a job? The majority of people will not have any savings to live off of, not even for a month! It’s truly frightening!

    In China, people are encouraged to save. Saving money, having money in the bank, is the backbone of a strong economy. And I agree. Our government should be telling us the same thing. This consumer mentality that is pushed on us is not advantageous to us as individuals or as a nation.

    1. Brilliant comment. Yes people are living paycheck to paycheck. One missed paycheck and they would be scrambling!

      And emergency fund?! Forget it.

      People feel entitled I guess.

      and yes I have glanced at bank slips at the instant bank machine. Not much in most people’s accounts!

  12. I think I read something by Dave Ramsey that using consumer spending as our key economic indicator is faulty because it doesn’t say much about how financially fit most people are. His whole thing is that the accumulation of wealth is so we can give it away, not buy more toys.

    For me, “minimalist living” is a spiritual endeavor. I don’t want to be a slave to my stuff, and I also need to consider the conditions for the people who make the things that I buy so cheaply and casually. I enjoy nice things as much as the next guy, but if I don’t keep my impulses in check, I can grow greedy and wasteful, which limits my ability to glorify God with the tools I’ve been given.

    Enjoying the blog!

  13. To your point on consumerism…I make it a practice to “shop” by way of thinking about it, shopping for the best deals, reading the reviews, comparing features and prices and actually looking at the item if it is in an actual store versus on the internet. Then, I make the clear decision to buy or not to buy.

    Investing the time and not making an impulse buy allows you time to evaluate the buying decision and to come down from the high you get when you go shopping. The cool part is, much of the time after I do all that I often walk away not buying it unless I truely need it. And that feels even better! If you then get non-buyers remorse and decide you really need or want it, go ahead and buy it.

    1. Right. Curbing impulse buying is a great thing to do. And taking AT LEAST 24 hours to think about a purchase will usually make us realize we don’t need the item in the first place.

      Great tips for all of us to try and use!

      Thanks.

  14. I’ll try not to go off on a rant, but I think the real problem is that present-day capitalism is based on a growth economy. It almost has to be in order to support all of what I call the non-productive segment. What I mean by that is, there was a time, long ago, when everybody either produced something or performed some necessary service. If you go far enough back in time, people directly bartered their good or service for someoene else’s that they needed. Money was invented as a means of exchange, broadening ones ability to barter.

    Along with the invention of money came the possibly necessary evil of banks as a place to store our money. More recently, more and more people’s income is based upon nothing more than shuffling other people’s money about while taking a cut for themselves. Speculators, investors, and the like make no product no perform any necessary service, yet they consume goods and services, so there must be continuous economic growth to support these parasites.

    We need to go back to a relatively static “maintenance economy” where we produce and consume only what is needed, and eliminate the non-productive sector that supports even its necessary consumption by doing nothing more than the shuffling about of other people’s money.

  15. Great topic. I’ve come across this stance before. I usually try to address it in two points:
    1.) Purchasing power doesn’t have to be channeled into stuff. It can be used to generate experiences that lead to lasting memories and experiences that don’t clutter our lives.
    2.) The economy exists to serve us, not the other way around. The moment happiness and human welfare is no longer satisfied by consumerism, it’s time to look for a different way to live.

  16. Again another great post and reminder. It would be great if we could all be completely dependent on ourselves and grow our own food. I can see this happening in the future but I don’t think people will be able to completely live without their phones and internet. Also having more is definitely making us unhappier.

  17. Mindless consumerism can actually hurt an economy more than help it and that is something a lot of people don’t think about when they go out on their crazy spending sprees. I have worked in the financial field in one capacity or another for some time now (hey it pays the bills, hooray!) and I’ve noticed something about people’s spending habits; when they run up a huge tab on their credit cards (because it seems like the lending institutions and credit card issuers will give out “money” like it’s candy) and then just pile more and more, then only pay the minimum payment, carry a balance, accrue interest of at least 20%, get more cards, lather, rinse, and repeat – the average consumer gets themselves into a situation where they can never pay back this debt. Then we end up with these huge consumer debt ratios on everyone’s back and how is that healthy for anyone’s economy? Sure the companies could just write it off, but if we just wrote every thing off all the time no one would make any money ever. It’s a flawed system and that instant gratification of credit is entirely too tempting for many many people yet I see it so very often. So yes, living a minimalist lifestyle would keep you away from that trap too!

  18. What about HBO? Does that fit into a minimalist lifestyle? Have you seen Veep and Girls? These are two amazingly smart comedies produced and shown on “Stuff.” Nobody needs HBO, right?

    I just bought the Tour De France indoor cycle. You know the one they show on NBC Sports Channel (Formerly Versus). It was $1498.00. I will give it to the first person who can find a real review that doesn’t say it sucks. I convinced myself that I needed it because I work 60 hours a week, commute another 10 hours and take classes at night so I can one day make more money and that doesn’t leave much time for LA Fitness that I currently pay $37.50 a month to but haven’t been to in six months.

    Are you saying that I shouldn’t have bought the yellow and white plastic covered magnet in my living room because I didn’t need it? Have you ever played six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon? I am pretty sure if I cancel my Gym membership I am pretty sure Kevin Bacon will end up on Lifetime.

    But, you probably don’t have Lifetime, do you?

    1. I am actually laughing right now. Not sure if this was the point of your comment.

      I download shows and watch stuff online.

      Not sure about the yellow and white plastic covered magnet. I am sure it serves an awesome purpose.

      Thanks for commenting.

  19. It’s amazing how such a simple concept is so hard for some to comprehend. I always say the quickest way to give yourself a raise is to pay things off and have less/zero debt. A lot of people work harder to get the promotion to make more money which in turn they will spend more money. Instead living a simpler lifestyle negates the need for a big promotion, more work and the crazy need to make more money. Love the blog and keep the posts coming!

    1. I like this, and I would like to add, that with the promotion comes more taxes. So the benefit is less than you would expect, furthermore is it really a raise when you weigh in all the rising costs on goods and services that you buy? Sounds to me that we are all on a hamster wheel. I’m really impressed with all the wonderful comments that are being posted.

  20. I am with you in regards to consumerism. To me being a minimalist means living WAY below my means (60% of my income), I save 20% for retirement, and I use 20% to travel to Europe almost every year. I would WAY rather have an experience than a thing.

  21. What a great post, I’m with you all the way on this! Pretty much all of what you have said is applicable to what is happening here in the UK too. It’s a sad fact but it can be quite a lonely place following a simple lifestyle when most people spend their weekends aimlessly shopping for “stuff” – it’s great to hear that there are other like minded folk out there!

  22. I agree with a lot of what you say and do. My added niche is to store things that others like yourself throw and that I can see a use for. I classify myself as a part-time freegan.

  23. Well I think you mentioned in your posts back that living a minimalist lifestyle is a challenge that goes up against the consumerist world. As marketers turn wants into needs, things get a bit blurry for us consumers. Ask Seth Godin! lol. I actually like reading your blog and his side by side. It’s like two perspectives, two great, noble perspectives.

  24. I’ve been reading backwards through your archives and this is one of my very favorite posts so far. I think we’ve gone kind of insane in the past decade or two. During WWII we were encouraged to CUT spending, and guess what happened? We pulled through and came out stronger. Spending less is the answer, not more, and that should be obvious.

    “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results.”-Albert Einstein (from memory)

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