Minimalism

7 Things You Will Never Regret Spending Money On

November 17, 2015

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?!

Minimalism isn't about frugality; instead it's about intentional spending. Here are the things I think are worth investment - what's 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.


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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.

(I currently support the UNHCR Refugee Agency and World Vision, but everyone has their own causes, choose what speaks to your heart.)

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

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  • Christine

    Yes to everything on this list! I love the saying ‘less stuff but better stuff’. It’s also better for the environment when you invest in something that lasts over many years versus having to replace it year after year. A good pair of winter boots was one of the best investments I’ve made, especially being from Canada 🙂

    • Hi Christine, that’s so true isn’t it? Buying cheap usually ends up costing more in the long run. I’m glad you enjoyed the list, thanks so much for commenting!

  • I also agree with literally every item in this list. I think it’s actually a perfect list. 🙂 For myself, I would particularly emphasize food, travel, and learning things. Awesome post. Hope you’re having a fabulous trip!

  • Food is ALWAYS worth it haha. That’s what I spend the majority of my money on, really. But I never regret spending money on adventures and travel that involve family and friends.

    • Hi Catherine, thanks for stopping by! YES!!! Good food is my weakness, glad I’m not alone 🙂 So true about friends and family … and when you’re really lucky you can mix all three (food + adventure + friends!!) I went to Bali earlier this year with some of my lovely food friends and spent a fortune but it was sooooo worth it.

  • Yesssss! SO good. Actually, I wrote a post like this a while ago and oh my gosh how much we agree! Travel, food, learning, giving– all things we cherish.

    • Kindred spirits 🙂 I’ll have to check out your post, but it doesn’t surprise me because I always agree with so much of what you write! (Although you always manage to to be much more eloquent!!) Thanks for commenting x

    • Hi Daisy! I’ll have to look up that post – it doesn’t surprise me how much we agree though, I always feel like your posts express exactly how I feel. Kindred spirits 🙂 Thanks for commenting x

  • Great writing as usual, Jennifer. I laughed out loud when you mentioned your husband; reminds me of when I look at my photo collection haha.

    • Hi Daisy, sorry I’m so slow replying to my comments this week. I saw that you were in Turkey – I’m so glad that you did the hot air balloon trip because it was seriously one of my all time FAVOURITE things ever! Glad you had fun! x

  • Yes! I agree with you completely. I always say I don’t set budgets because I just spend money on what’s good value to me. I don’t spend much on clothes but spend on travel. I had my iPhone 4 for years and years and was happy to spend the money on a new one when it broke recently, but I wouldn’t spend it until it actually wore out. I’d rather spend that money on food, yoga and hotels but not everyone would. I agree its all about spending on what’s important and good value to you.

    • Hi Joella! I’m the same about budgets – I use to need them (although they rarely worked) but now that I’m in a better headspace about values and spending I don’t find I need it. Same as you – I just bought a new laptop without blinking an eye, but my old one was a very outdated netbook from 2008 (that cost less than $300 new then!) It finally died so this time I just got what I really wanted. Anyway – thanks for the comment and for stopping by! x

  • I love this list. I especially agree with quantity over quality. People think I like buying expensive things, but what they don’t realise is that a £80 pair of shoes will last me longer than a £10 pair. I also think anything that improves your mind – classes, podcasts, books, apps – is ALWAYS worth the money. Thanks for sharing the post – was definitely having the same thoughts this week!

    • That is so true about shoes especially! I find that cheap shoes always hurt my feet and wear out quickly, meaning wasted money (plus more in the landfill!) Thanks so much for you comment 🙂

  • I finally got a chance to check out your blog, Jennifer, and I’m loving it!! I completely agree with this! I’m starting to buy more pricey, quality items that will last a long time, but I admit that I still love the cheap $10 shirts that last a season.

    And p.s. – before I started traveling, I had a makeup collection that i loved just looking at… so I totally get your husband ;).

    • Hi Anna! Thanks for stopping by ? HAHA about your makeup collection, don’t worry – I used to feel that way about shoes. x

  • Kelsey Larsen

    This is a great post, Jennifer! Thank you for this! This is a great topic to refresh on during the crazy holiday season!

  • Hi Jennifer. I love your blog, it’s gorgeous! I totally agree with the Learning new things. Even though I cannot bring myself to spend money in some areas in my life, I have no trouble spending money to learn things

    • Hi Morgan, thanks so much for your sweet comment about my blog! And I’m glad to hear you enjoy spending money on learning too – it really enriches our lives. x

  • Frugal Millennial

    I take frugality to an extreme (in the name of paying off all of my debt in just three years), so I was surprised to find that I agree with all of these! Great list!

    • Haha – that is reassuring then! I can be extremely frugal about somethings .. but other things not 🙂 Congrats on paying off all your debt so quickly! Cheers Jen

  • Maria

    Agree with all of these.. Stumbled across your blog recently as I’ve been going through a rough time, and am enjoying your posts which are helping inspire me. A thank you. But a question if you don’t mind, how do you afford to travel as often as you do? Wondering how to make it happen for me at some point?

    • Hi Maria – thanks for commenting! Of course I don’t mind you asking, I completely understand. I actually wrote a whole post about it because it’s something I get asked often > http://www.simplyfiercely.com/how-i-afford-to-travel/ If you have any specific questions or need advice about travel feel free to leave me a comment or to get in touch!
      Also, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through a rough time. I’m so grateful (and touched) that some of my posts are inspiring you. Good luck with everything x

  • thegrrrr8est

    I certainly agree with the learning new things…but I do wish I had my time and money back for the two college degrees I hold. A total waste of both time and money. If I had a kid today and wanted them to get truly educated, I’d give them a Eurail pass and a credit card to Amazon for books. Sadly, colleges have become nothing more than profit centers.

    • I totally agree. I actually originally mentioned something along those lines in my post … but I decided to keep things simple and took it out. I believe in education, but Universities costs have spiralled out of control (and the quality is definitely debatable!)

      I studied off and on for almost 5 years and ended up quitting school to travel. I’m not saying my way is the right way, but I’ve never regretted it.

  • I agree with everything on this list (FOOD!), but especially the ‘hobby you love’ bit. I have, erm, a lot of books. I’ve been trying to take a more minimalist approach to my possessions lately, but while that’s easy with things like clothing (I can’t even remember the last time I bought any clothes), it’s much harder with books. Part of this is that I don’t just derive joy from having beautiful covers on my shelves and plenty of reading material to choose from, but also that one of my core values in life is supporting writers and encouraging the creation of new literature, and one of the ways for me to do that is by spending money on literature. I’d much rather spend £13 on a new hardcover from my favourite author than £13 on a cinema ticket to a mediocre film, anyway.

    • YES!! I love this response so much! As part of the minimalist community, I know there is such a focus on not owning things, but at the same time I think that it’s important to support artists and craftsmanship. Thank you so much for highlighting this! ??

  • Kamiele M.

    Hi there..I just found your blog and am really enjoying it so far. I’m at the very beginning of my minimalist lifestyle. The thought happened initially before I went on a 10 day European excursion with my mom and has only heightened since returning to the states, which has caused great grief, lol!!!! I’m still soul searching, but I know travel, charity and great food will take the cake. And savings, of course!!! Cheers!!!

    • Hi Kamiele! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment (and I’m so sorry for my slow reply!!) That’s awesome that travel helped inspire you to be a minimalist. It was definitely the same with me! Good luck with your journey and thank you so much for reading (and heck yes about great food!) xo

  • Travel is my favorite thing to spend money on. I didn’t even want to pay for my wedding until I was able to work it into a “vacation” to Tahoe. LOL.