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.


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