Today’s Challenge: Could you live a minimalist lifestyle? Why or why not? OR What does minimalism mean to you in the context of your ideal lifestyle?
It’s no secret – my family history has a severe case of materialism in it. My parents were always relocating every couple of years to newer, bigger, better houses and our home was always outfitted like it was about to be featured in an interior decorating magazine.
We even had a room with white furniture that I didn’t dare go into for any other reason but to clean it. My mom would always jokingly say, ‘not even the Queen of England could sit down on that couch‘.
Growing up my parents were like the black ‘Joneses‘, we weren’t really rich by any means, but back in the day in my neighbourhood, being black and middle class didn’t go together all too often (unless of course your last name was Huxtable).
You can imagine how surprised, actually maybe a tad bit horrified my parents were when we decided to move to what has been ‘lovingly’ (yes, that’s sarcasm dripping :)) been referred to as ‘the armpit of Ontario‘ – Windsor.
Truth be told, Windsor was even a wee bit of a culture shock to me, but it’s absolutely been the perfect place for my ideal lifestyle – I kid you not! Fellow Windsorites please take your jaws off the floor ;)!
Minimalism to me used to be about paring down to the bare essentials, no excessiveness and no overspending on wants, but I realize that you can live minimally without Iiving like a pauper. Actually you can do it and almost feel like a King.
For eg, I’ve told you about the SUV we got rid of because we live downtown and work from home. Well, I used to think mainly rich people were chauffeured and switch cars weekly until we found out with Enterprise we could do the same thing on weekends for only $9.99 a day. They pick Nathan up, hand over the keys to a new car that’s usually filled with gas. We use it, drop it off and he’s chauffeured back home for free. Every weekend we can have a different new car for less than 1/5 of what we used to spend and there’s no maintenance, repairs or insurance. Plus we get points which we end up using for free longer trips to visit our out of town family.
Moving to this border-town also has a ton of other benefits aside from it’s breath-taking waterfront (sorry Detroit, I think we got the better end of the deal :)).
The cost of living is lower, which also means your average service is lower. Even a frugalist like me doesn’t feel guilty paying for a regular housecleaner and lawncare. We’re also minutes away from the border so we like to do our shopping there – Trader Joe’s is the bomb! They take the chore out of groceries. Crap. Did I just said bomb? I guess you know I’m old already :).
We also got rid of cable, which you can really do from anywhere. With our Apple TV and all the network apps available I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing. It’s actually more convenient because I can watch TV whenever I want to (and I can even take my shows with me to Thailand using a VPN). God, I love technology!
And my favourite part is this:
Our house – you know the thing we call ‘asset’ that Robert Kiyosaki wisely taught us (in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad) is really a liability? We’ve found a way to make it work for us via Airbnb. Not only do we get to meet really great people but it helps fund our trips. And fingers crossed when we rent it out while we’re away this year, it will cover our expenses here and in Thailand (where meals are a buck, massages $5-$10 and mountain-view condos, furnished to the nines at a fraction of what it would cost here)!
So I guess my point is with a bit of creativity you can definitely minimize (spend the budget of a minimalist and feel like a King).