Minimal Is Not (Necessarily) Frugal

by Randy Murray on May 6, 2013

A minimal life is not necessarily one of deprivation. Frankly, I’m not interested in depriving myself at all.

On the other hand, abundance, having EVERYTHING, isn’t necessarily a life of luxury. It can be overwhelming to have too many things.

For me, a life of luxury and great comfort comes from having only the things that I need. Those things serve me. There is nothing extraneous, unneeded, or that causes me extra effort. I’m made more anxious by unnecessary clutter. Clutter, to me, means work.

I avoid spending money on things that I don’t care about so I can spend money on things that make my life better. With less effort, I can focus on the things that I want to do. That’s why I’ve used Apple computers, Macs, for almost thirty years. I need what computers offer, but I HATE wasting time trying to make the damn things work. With Macs I can spend more time doing (writing) and less time being a computer specialist. I get great pleasure from using well made tools. I put a Wolf range and oven in the kitchen because I love cooking and demand a lot from my tools.

There’s a balancing act here. Yes, I’d love a Rolex, but I won’t buy one for myself (this one, in blue, white gold, no diamonds, if you’re buying). I have a couple of nice watches that cost less than $300 each. But I find that most days I wear the $30 Timex Expedition that I’ve had for years. I think that it is simple, functional, rugged, and good looking. I don’t need a watch at all, but don’t typically wear any jewelry and I’m like the feeling of a watch on my left wrist. Wearing this simple watch makes me feel good.

The frugal thing to do would be to not own a watch at all. Living a minimal life doesn’t have to mean not owning things. It can mean, and I choose it to mean, owning only the things that matter.

For me, there’s no reward in being uncomfortable for the sake of living a minimal life. I find that having less, but better made, more purposeful things does make my life better and freer.


Minimal Is Not (Necessarily) Frugal by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Luke Arms May 6, 2013 at 9:01 am

Now, let’s watch Amazon sell out of those Timex Expeditions.


Randy Murray May 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

I should have set it up to get a cut!


Don Hamilton May 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

Yes Randy. I’ll bet that would have provided some frugal funds.


Greg Gorby May 12, 2013 at 8:38 am

I agree with the whole idea of buying products that are simple, functional, and well made. Over the years, I have spent a ton of money on unnecessary “things”. After a recent divorce, I have been following the minimalist postings on Facebook. I came to realize that is just the lifestyle for me. The less I own, the better I feel. I did, however need a work/everyday vehicle, so for around 5K, I purchased a 7 year old Ford Taurus. Just the ticket… comfortable, dependable and reasonably economical. Keep up the encouraging postings!


Randy Murray May 12, 2013 at 9:04 am

Good for you. We recently sold our well maintained and still great, but unneeded 1999 Ford Taurus to my brother for my nephew to drive. I’m sure that he’ll bet many happy years out of it.


Jacob@CashCowCouple May 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

It’s definitely important to prioritize spending. I’m not sure I would agree with the Apple vs PC comparison. I’ve owned a PC for years and haven’t had any trouble writing or figuring out how to use one. To each his own…


Randy Murray May 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I’ve used PCs and Macs extensively since 1985. I’ve found that I get more use our of Macs (longer trouble free life) and higher resale value from them. Here’s a test: go to your local Best Buy or other retailer and compare the top PC laptop to the Macbook Pro (That’s what I currently use). The quality difference is stunning. I could build a PC from parts, but I gladly buy and use Macs.

Thanks for commenting!


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