I’ve been thinking lately about the topic of letting go and how difficult it can sometimes be. Whether it’s a job, physical possession, or relationship of some type, it’s never easy to do. It can be so freeing though. A host of new possibilities await once the first step into the unknown is achieved. For myself, this involves leaving the job I’m currently at.
About 2 months ago I was browsing slickdeals.net and came across a non-stop roundtrip ticket to New York City for only $104 from Denver. Having visited NYC last summer, I was eager to return and experience more. The only hitch? The ticket was through Frontier. Having never flown with them I had only stories to go on about how they charge extra for everything (seat choice, carry-on bags, snacks, etc.). I bought the ticket on the condition I only bring one bag that could fit under the seat in front of me. (You only pay extra if the carry-on bag has to go in the overhead compartment.)
I almost always avoid the hassle of checking a bag, but I usually bring a change of clothes for each day. Sometimes I don’t even know exactly what I will need. What if I end up wanting to wear that dress shirt and not this one? Minimalist travel really makes you consider exactly what you’ll be doing and every item you’ll be bringing. The challenge of 7 days in NYC left me with figuring out how to minimize my usual packing list even further.
I did a quick google search and came upon this fantastic article by Regev Elya entitled “Minimalist Travel Gear Packing List: Luggage & Bags Not Needed.” He does such a wonderful job of listing different multi-day-wear clothing that I won’t bother trying to top it right now. The point of this article will be to detail my experience traveling with less and using some of his suggestions.
[Read more…] about Minimalist Travel Packing
Frugality is a way of life with merit not just as a tool for achieving financial independence, but as a means of supporting minimalism through anti-consumerist habits. As such, the Art of Frugality is a skill worth learning. To begin, imagine what you would do if every year you had an extra $1000. Would you travel more? Be more charitable? Beef up that retirement plan? Now consider the following. On your way to work you stop and get a cup of your favorite brew for $4. (Sure, it’s a cliché but so many people do it’s almost too easy.) Over the course of a work week, those coffees cost you $20 ($80/month and $960/year). This is for coffee that you could have brewed at home (or work) for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t drink coffee? Look at other aspects of your life. Maybe you dine out a lot when you could cook more. Or spend too much for convenience when the slightest increase in effort could save you. The point is, every dollar spent here-and-there adds up.
Yesterday I was sitting downtown talking with someone when Minimalism was brought up. They believed to be Minimalist meant they would have to give up all their possessions. Thankfully, this is not true (unless you want it to be).
Minimalism asks us to look inward and be honest about what our priorities are. Those things, material and immaterial, that aren’t adding value to our lives should be scrapped. The most well-known example of this is decluttering physical possessions. You can probably look around your home and find items you haven’t used in years. Being honest with yourself, why do you continue to keep these items? Maybe you tell yourself you’ll need them within the next couple years. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. In the meantime, they’re taking up space. If you donate the items (or sell them if they’re in good condition), someone else could be getting value from them instead. In the future, you can try to borrow from a friend or neighbor if that item is needed.
Maybe you’re interested in pursuing FI but are unsure where to begin. If you read “Welcome to Financial Minimalist” then you know it starts with a mindset and a good budget. I’ll admit that delving into the world of finance can be overwhelming at first. Since it is not often taught in schools we have to rely on other sources. Doing a google or book search for personal finance brings thousands upon thousands of results. With so many options it’s easy to see why people become unsure how to proceed.
Budgeting is important because it helps us understand how our money is being allocated. If we spend more than we make it leads us into debt. However, if we track our spending then we can cut down on excess and make our money work for us (through the magic of investing and compounding!).
This post will give you an idea of where to begin.