Minimalist Lifestyle. What is it?
A great question that has many different answers in the Minimalist world. As a general rule, it is scaling down and minimizing your life. This can be MANY different things to a number of different people.
Minimalist Living, as some may call it, can be anything from the visual appearance of a streamlined living space with an arrangement of minimal furniture, no clutter and/or merely a simple approach with your lifestyle.
The minimalist lifestyle to me is a way of life that doesn’t require the big fancy house, shiny sports cars and “keeping up with the Joneses”. In fact, I could care less about what Mr. and Mrs Jones have anyway. I bet they are riddled with debt. No thanks.
A big part of my simpler life was getting rid of the mindset that I need to have the BMW (although I love the 80’s models of the 6-series), big house and designer clothes to impress my friends. As a matter of fact, along with the Joneses, almost everyone that I know that looks like a million bucks owns virtually nothing to their names (financed to the max) and have minimum credit card payments that they can barely make (high interest). Some even personally lease their cars to have a low payment. Leasing a car is worse than renting one – they are still responsible for all repairs and more than likely when the lease is up, they will have to pay more for the mileage overage to even be able to just give it back and walk away with nothing. How financially smart is that?
Now, don’t get me wrong…I dress nice (not name brand) and drive a decent car (10 years old but near perfect). I wear Italian suits ($40 – $120 each – I will share sources) for my profession, but I do not “break the bank” to live this way. As a matter of fact, when I lost my job in 2009 (11 years with the company), I continued living very well! Everyone was yelling about how bad the economy was (and still is). How bad the job market was…along with everything else.
What it came down to is that although THE economy was horrible, MY economy was excellent! Even after losing my 6-figure job.
Most people live paycheck to paycheck. Most are two paychecks away from complete financial disaster! I was once at that point and was so overwhelmed with debt that I was not only swimming, I was drowning in it.
When I grew up in upper middle class America in a well-to-do suburb, I felt that I needed to perpetuate this lifestyle and keep the image of success. My parents originally moved to this area because the school district was excellent. It was and still is the #1 public school district in Ohio. Yes, it was “public”, but you had to pay the outrageously high property taxes there to be part of this “public” school district. Even though we were situated in the middle of a somewhat larger metropolitan city, our village had it’s own police, fire and sanitation departments. We had our own village council and even our own public dump site. Others within the larger city could not use any of these unless if you were a taxpayer of the village that was within the city limits of the larger area. I know, sounds weird, but that was the way it was.
My battle came in my late 20s when I moved to Chicago. My credit cards were maxed out and I couldn’t even keep up with the minimum payments. My debt, due to the 25.7% interest rate, accumulated to about $40,000. The job that I took in Chicago paid me exactly that as my yearly salary. Living in Chicago certainly isn’t cheap. Basically, I was screwed. I even considered bankruptcy. Luckily, within a few years, I was able to completely get out of it. I did not do this by keeping up with the Joneses. In future posts, I will go through everything that I did to do this.
The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with the minimalist lifestyle to help others get out of debt, eliminate the depressing clutter, along with anything else that I can share that may possibly improve the lives of others.
Please come back often and allow me to share this with you. I consider myself to be a “Go-Giver” and my approach with a lot of things in my life is to help those around me, in turn helps me help myself.
Less is Positively MORE!™