Minimalism

Minimalism is an incredible movement growing across the globe. At its core, minimalism is about removing the clutter and simplifying our lives. We are constantly on the go so it can be difficult to pause and ask ourselves, “Will this purchase add value to my life?”.

One of the most popular episodes we’ve done on our 5 minute podcast series was on this same topic of Minimalism. Check out the video below to listen to our take:


(Interested to hear more of our 5 minute episodes? You can view all ~25 here.)

While working on this episode, one of the great takeaways I had was from Grant, my co-host. Somewhat contrary to its nature, minimalism becomes an ADDITIONAL layer to how we can spend money.

Instead of asking ourselves what the financial benefits are of investing our money instead of spending it, we can ask ourselves a different question: “Does this purchase add value in my life?”

“Will it make us happier?”

If you’re curious to know more about this, then I highly encourage you to check out the documentary Minimalism. Dubbed, “A Documentary About The Important Things”,  it is available now on Netflix.

At an hour and 19 minutes, this documentary does a great job of introducing at least a dozen completely different viewpoints. We hear from people who left their high paying Wall Street jobs to travel the world. We also hear from people all over  the country downsizing their homes.

The core elements and results from the stories are the same. Each individual has been positively impacted and made happier because of Minimalism.

My big takeaway is everyone implements Minimalism in their own unique way.

I think that’s how you know a movement is really going to continue to grow. I’m happy to see what it turns into!

Have you, like us, been taking a Minimalism approach in life and not even know it? Did hearing about Minimalism spark changes in your life?

-Matt

P.S. My post last week detailing the 17 strategies we used to save $50k last year was featured on a few notable sites! Those features happen because people like you see the message and spread it to other people. So, thank you!! It is a remarkable feeling to have accomplished what we did in 2016, but it is a greater feeling to share what works and what doesn’t work. Hopefully you’re already implementing a few ideas for your money goals and I look forward to sharing more tips and tricks throughout 2017! 🙂

16 comments… add one
  • Jay Jan 27, 2017, 6:48 am

    Great article. I feel lucky to live in the internet-age where almost everything I want/need is accessible via laptop or iPhone. I honestly am starting to feel that physical assets are a drag on lifestyle. Thanks as well for mentioning the minimalism documentary, I have been meaning to watch that so appreciate the vote of confidence!

  • The Grounded Engineer Jan 27, 2017, 7:41 am

    The documentary on Netflix opened my wife’s eyes as well as mine. Last year we paid off $97k in debt, mostly student loans. I enjoyed your article last week on how you saved BIG TIME.

    Going into 2017, we plan to save more but also implement our own form of minimalism. We recently moved into a newer house and in the process we made five trips to Goodwill to donate things we never use. We are going through the same process to get rid of things we don’t need as we unpack into the new house. But you had a key point – minimalism is different for everyone and you need to define what it means for you and your family.

    Great article, Matt. And I love the podcast!!

  • Ms. Montana Jan 27, 2017, 8:43 am

    We have been going through creating a more minimalist house for the last year. With 5 little kids, it feels like an ongoing project. But with each layer we simplify, the easier the rest of our lives gets.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Jan 27, 2017, 9:13 am

    I completely agree with you that everyone has their own brand of minimalism. Some people are fine with all their earthly possessions fitting into one cardboard box. For me, it’s about streamlining my purchases and belongings. It helps to take a minimalist approach to fight clutter and avoid excessive purchases.

  • TPOHappiness Jan 27, 2017, 10:51 am

    We saw the documentary on Netflix as well and as it turns out have been slowly moving in that direction for the past 2 years. It’s refreshing to be systematically uncluttering and simplifying our lives.

  • Financial Slacker Jan 27, 2017, 10:55 am

    We’ve made great progress moving toward a more minimalistic lifestyle. We’ve cut out buying so much of that stuff we really don’t need. Now when we spend, it’s more for experiences rather than stuff. The side benefit of that approach is experiences don’t take up space in the garage.

  • Jax Jan 27, 2017, 11:20 am

    I am slowly moving towards a more minimalist mindset. Mr. Beach Life and I went to Toys R Us on Christmas Eve to kill time (kid was with his mother’s family and it made little sense for us to drive back and forth so we were looking for things to do.) The consumerism we saw was disgusting-especially for so much that was just going to end up in a landfill. I love stuff, and I love looking at stuff but I don’t bring much “stuff” home. I’ve stopped shopping for clothes just to have something new and now only shop when I need to replace an item. I still have a long way to go in sorting through the possessions I inherited.

  • Matt Spillar Jan 27, 2017, 12:25 pm

    Great post Matt. I recently watched and wrote a blog post review of the new Minimalism documentary, I really enjoyed it. I never really considered myself a minimalist, but I think in a lot of ways I actually am. I question almost all purchases now with, “does this add value to my life?” I think my favorite part about minimalism is that, like you mentioned, it’s different for every person. There’s no specific rules on how much you can own, what you can buy, etc. I used to think it meant you could barely own anything, but after learning more, it really just comes down to making sure everything we own has a specific purpose and adds value to our lives. I think minimalism will continue to grow, and more people will start to think this way. With less consumption and clutter, stress is reduced and life is much more simplified.

  • FIscovery Jan 27, 2017, 3:19 pm

    it’s amazing how many of us have stuff in the garage, closets, attic that are there to die – we just cleaned out the garage and honestly about 75% has been in there for close to 20 years – what an unbelievable feeling to get rid of all that stuff – not an easy task though given our innate hoarding tendencies and emotional attachment to things – – wife and I simply threw away each other’s stuff, made it easier 🙂

    next up attic, not going to be easy but will be great once done – – our little way of being part of such a large movement.

  • Lisa Jan 27, 2017, 5:15 pm

    I loved how the documentary showcased different kinds of minimalism. There really is a “flavor” of minimalism for everyone!

  • Independent Hoosier Jan 28, 2017, 2:10 pm

    About 4 years ago, after a “sabbatical” from my previous career, I decided that I had too much stuff. I began donating, giving away to friends and family, selling, and everything else that goes with decluttering. To the point that friends and family noticed and was asking me if everything was okay.

    Man, it felt awesome. Anyone that has been practicing minimalism knows that feeling of “not being overwhelmed when you open the closet door and shit just falls on you.” It literally kicked off a different path in my life towards more meaningful relationships, better control of my finances, and overall feeling of happiness.

    Fast forward about a year and I happened to hear about The Minimalists and was like “I’ll be damned. I just thought I was crazy.” I had no idea that minimalism was a thing. I went saw Josh and Ryan speak at an old theater in Indianapolis and they are the real deal. They were only supposed to speak one show, but so many people came out and stood in the rain they did another immediately after. They are truly solid guys.

    Great podcast, gentlemen.

    Really

  • Financial Coach Brad Jan 29, 2017, 1:51 pm

    I’ve just added that movie to my Netflix queue. 🙂 Thanks for mentioning it.

  • Physician on FIRE Feb 1, 2017, 4:26 pm

    I like the concept; implementation is a struggle.
    -PoF

    p.s. this is my attempt at a minimalist comment

    • Matt Feb 1, 2017, 4:36 pm

      There’s a lot of people out there that would be willing to help. Many of them would probably do it for free.

  • Matt Feb 1, 2017, 4:34 pm

    I think it’s interesting that people are consciously asking themselves if a purchase will bring value to their life. It says quite a bit about the consumerist lifestyles most of us grow up with and how advertising and marketing campaigns push us to buy the newest and best of everything there is, even when we don’t need or want it. It’s truly a bizarre world that we live in.

  • Steven Goodwin @ MyFamilyOnABudget Feb 2, 2017, 3:40 pm

    I’ve listened to their podcast for a while on and off. It is pretty interesting how they take each episode and boil down one topic to focus on and how they can use it with a minimalism mindset. I haven’t yet watched the documentary, might have to check it out.

    I would say that I’m starting to get on the minimalism mindset, but we’ve been pretty intentional with our money since 2011 when we started our financial journey and continue to try to squeeze more and more out of our income to create the lifestyle that we want for ourselves. Currently, this means that we took a pay cut for me to stay at home and take care of our two girls full time in order to preserve some of our sanity from having to be in so many places at once and allow us to slow down a little bit.

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