I think a lot of people equate being a minimalist to being frugal. While this may be the case for some people (after all, there is no one size fits all rule for minimalism), my own personal brand of minimalism is less about not spending and more about intentional spending.
For example, I may have kicked my mindless shopping habit, but I am not afraid to spend money on things that bring me joy or add value to my life. After all, minimalism is not about sitting in an empty house, counting your possessions and your pennies; it’s about finding time and money to do more of what you love.
Here are seven things I never regret spending money on – let me know in the comments if you agree or if not – what is on your list?!
GOOD QUALITY FOOD
For me, food is one of the great joys in life. There is nothing I love more that a truly amazing meal (be it eating the best noodles in the world on the streets of Chiang Mai or dining at Mamasan in Bali – hands down one of my fav restaurants in the world.)
It’s about quality over quantity, whether you’re eating out or cooking at home. In my kitchen I have a simple eating philosophy, which means I splurge on grassfed beef or Tasmanian cheese (drool) but I forgo freezer meals or prepackaged snacks. (And if you can support small, local businesses at the same time, it’s a huge bonus!)
SERVICES THAT IMPROVE YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE
When you spend money on services, you are buying time (the one thing everyone says you can’t buy!) I don’t believe you have to ‘DIY’ everything; if you really hate housework – hire a cleaner. If you’re not getting results at the gym, hire a personal trainer. If you desperately need some time to yourself, hire a nanny.
I know that services are sometimes expensive, but it’s about looking at your values and prioritising your spending. You might be surprised at what you can afford.
QUALITY ITEMS THAT SERVE A PURPOSE
Comfortable shoes that you wear season after season. A hand crafted kitchen knife made to last. A leather tote you’ve been using since university (for me, that’s a long time now.)
I’m talking about well made, quality items that serve a distinct purpose in your life. I had a pair of denim Levis shorts that I lived in for twelve years and they only just fell apart. I mourned them (boo hoo) but it was also incredibly satisfying to actually wear something out and then replace them (actually, I’m still holding out for the perfect pair.)
In today’s disposable society, there is something deeply gratifying about knowing you’ve made a good, quality purchase!
LEARNING NEW THINGS
I love learning new things (it’s one of my core values and if I’m not learning, I’m not happy.) While everyone’s values are different, I truly believe that investing in learning is investing in yourself.
I’ve done online courses (where I learned tons about blogging), adult education courses (I learned to sew and paint … sort of, but regardless I had a lot of fun), and I’ve done single day programs (like learning traditional weaving in Guatemala!)
I’ve also spent money on books, travel, and conferences; all experiences that have helped expand my mind. When I learn new things, it’s not always about the skills I learn (although of course they help), but it’s also about how I feel about myself. Learning makes me feel confident and proud of myself – something that money can’t buy.
A HOBBY THAT BRINGS YOU JOY
My husband is a ‘natural minimalist’; he had no problem moving to Australia with nothing more than a backpack and even after living here for several years has hardly any possession.
Except he has a record collection. And he loves it. When we aren’t travelling, he’s always playing records, cleaning his records, reading about records or even just staring as his records. (He may kill me for sharing that, but it’s true!) It’s clear that his records bring him a lot of joy.
I may tease him, but I’ve never once looked at his collection and thought it was a waste of money, because I see the smile it puts on his face.
TRAVEL + UNIQUE EXPERIENCES
If you’re a regular reader (or even if you’ve just had a quick look around) it’s probably pretty clear to you that travel is a huge priority in my life.
Travel is a great teacher; you learn about the world and also a lot about yourself. But it’s also incredible fun – and this leads to wonderful memories that, as time passes, only further enrich your life (unlike many material purchases, which weight us down with time.)
Taking this one step further, when I’m travelling I always try and find room in my budget for special experiences, like hot air ballooning in Turkey (mind blowing) or more recently trekking in Northern Thailand. Spending a little extra (with quality operators) can take your trip to a whole new level!
GIFTS + CHARITY
Last but certainly not least, I never regret being generous. Once I learned to give without expectation of anything in return, I found the true joy in giving.
I’m not a big holiday person, but I love to surprise friends and family just because I’m thinking of them or when they are not expecting it. (It’s easier to give meaningful gifts this way, because instead of feeling last minute pressure to just ‘find something’, I buy things when I come across them.)
I also believe that giving to charity is important. Even when I’m travelling, I always make sure I’m donating on a monthly basis (after all, if I can afford to travel then surely I can afford to support a worthwhile cause.)
Imagine what would happen if everyone helped out, even in a small way? Money donated to charity always feels like money well spent to me.
What are your thoughts? What do you never regret spending money on? Let me know in the comments! x
photo credit (top): Jeff Sheldon // Used with permission