If your expensive smartphone, Apple bling, other gear or gadget was a gift and naturally, part of your minimalist lifestyle, that's legit. But spoiled brats are preaching minimalism in ways that make those of us who don't use or dwell on the term, although we live it, scratch our heads. So what is it?
Creativity is the condiment. But far from making a (Youtube) show out of it, saving money — building assets rather than liabilities (i.e., refusing to live on borrowed money) by living simply within one's means — decluttering, not being needy, not suffering from FOMO, and being an ethical person of unquestionable value who practices sustainability, is the goal.
Nail it, and like an eagle or jaguar, you attain self-sufficiency and become financially indomitable.
The following is not for people who are set in their ways. It's what works for me. And I'm sharing it as part of my Previously Unpublished Series to help receptive readers drastically improve their lives:No (Paid) Gym Memberships, Expensive Coffee, Dangerous Adventures or Routines
Love coffee? Sorry. I spend $0.00 on coffee just as I do on alcohol, drugs, prescription and narcotic. Because I don't do any of that. Sure, I drink coffee WHEN offered as (see #8 below) legit minimalists aren't picky. But mathematically and financially, that makes for a healthy lifestyle choice.
I recently accompanied a fitness freak to a gym miles and miles away on our way to pick up his repaired car afterwards. And working on my laptop while waiting for him, I noticed that like him, every gym member walking in, jacket and all, was shivering in the cold. Meanwhile, as described here, I take cold showers year round, and wear t-shirts or light gear while others need jackets.
Don't waste your money.
Peloton is a scam, just like your expensive and insecure smartphone, as discussed at #3 below. People waste a fortune just to die needlessly climbing Mount Everest or similarly unnecessary feats. You don't need a sit-stand desk either, unless someone, or your organization is willingly offering it. Only a gentle exercise of imagination, at a cost of $0.00, as above (bonus video at bottom).
You CAN stay in shape, thrive, eat well, and live long — all things considered — simply by creatively shunning the fads and being a legitimate (“legit”) minimalist. My lazy definition being: One who isn't lost between self-indulgence and obsession, but is simply a student of sustainable living. Indeed as the world's oldest married couple advised on Reuters: “Don't overdo anything.” Which is precisely why I share what I'm learning or doing via item #11 on every #iTHiNKLabs Weekly release.
I don't do credit cards.
I aggressively paid off, and closed my last credit card within a 3, if not 6 month period back in 2000.
My former Merrill Lynch visa card, which I had for over 20 years, started at Platinum after being approached by the firm, downgraded well after a decade and eventually closed after years abroad, was based on my purchasing power at any given time. That's how I started and ended my relationship with the then investment brokerage. And if you need a VISA card for practical reasons, that's the only type I'd recommend. Nothing based on borrowed money, overdraft services, etc. Because remember, legit minimalists are all about limiting their liabilities so they can have freedom, which is an asset.Which brings us to core data security, data privacy, and other cybersecurity reasons why the above is also a smart way to live. Click or tap the image above to appreciate the risks, threats, and damage.
So how do I pay for stuff, especially online?
Cash, lots of creativity, and a great deal of OPM & OPR. For example, although I have very limited wants, people OK with the above risks, order things I need for me. Or, happily (offer to) fund monthly or yearly service/license, say, as their way of saying 'thank you' for some invaluable help provided.No Smartphones
If you're new to my blog, this is probably news to you, but I don't use smartphones.
I mostly pass on the ones given as gifts, fix or hack as necessary, and move on. But for a practitioner of ruthless efficiency as I am, they are a worthless distraction. And if you want a mathematical breakdown of money and time wasted on smartphones by an investor, click/tap and study the (image) above.
Practically all your smartphone service bills, your streaming accounts, your paid mobile apps and the technical and security issues (click/tap above) that accompany them, generally speaking, don't apply to me as I have no such liabilities.
I use a $16 Nokia that is only on when I need it. Approximately less than 15-30 minutes a day. And as an American who mostly spends time in East Asia, I spent only $7 in service in 2019. Most business conducted via fixed line or VoIP. And during my last trip, I was given a free landline (think OPM/OPR). Again, the Bezos link above explains how and when legit minimalists embrace use of a smartphone.No Barber Shops, Hair Salons Or Expensive Grooming
Sure. Go ahead. Click/tap the above if you're itching for a laugh. I couldn't help it either. But, I don't do barber shops.
I've been cutting and trimming my own hair since arriving in Scotland for grad school and deciding I could do a better job than the £15 or more I paid for a shabby cut. That was in 2000. Do the Math(s), in terms of savings.
Alas, like racism, we know that society has a long way to go overcome discrimination based on hair texture, despite California's recent landmark law. So, particularly if you're a Black woman, I respect whatever you feel you have to do to safeguard your dignity, your career, and specific circumstances.No Pointless Shopping, Seasonal Gift Exchanges, Valentine's/Flowers, Dating, etc.
If I have a gift for you, you get it right away.
I don't lose sleep over cards, giving just to receive, or carefully timing gifts. And while I've been fortunate enough to never be on the dating scene, I learned 3 valuable lessons eons ago:
Sure, once upon a time, I believed in some of the above. But I've learned that genuine people — in business, public, or private life — never (quite) disappear, nor need you to spend to prove your worth. Avoid high maintenance people and dating such people or buying flowers if you want to be a legit minimalist. Indeed, everyone who knows me knows where I stand. I don't respect my own birthdays. Everyday is Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, etc. And if you have to buy a gift to keep a relationship well-oiled, you're swimming in dangerous waters.
Do you know people who buy big name brands that don't look good on them? Amusing, isn't it? Got style, limitless imagination, and execution prowess?
Nurture them. Be self-ware. Avoid wastage. And leave simpletons you try but can't change to waste money or clamor over expensive fashion brands that, objectively speaking, often look ridiculous on them anyway. Because, as above, the Corvette LT1 C2 included, it's not what you buy, or in my case, what's given to you as a gift. It's what you do with it that counts.
I had to throw a lot of nice, expensive clothes away or pay for oversize baggage in airports by the early to mid noughties, which made me dread packing before trips. In one instance, I raced to board a plane waiting for me to depart after my check-in plus customs ordeal, only to feel embarrassed for boarding the plane noticeably sweating profusely. As I apologized to the passenger next to me, a calm Danish man, he smilingly responded: “It could be worse. You actually smell good.”
It was after that incident I started to quietly rethink this aspect of my lifestyle, the wastage, which I detest, and carbon footprint included, my negative impact on the environment. And needless to say, blaming the fashion industry was the last thing on mind.
When I say I don't shop, I mean: You'll never see me ordering something online or walking into a store or mall to buy something for the sake of fashion. Sure, I did a little bit of that when I was younger. But money was always hard to come by. So I've always been wired to make everything that becomes mine last as long as possible.
As a result, my wardrobe is a combination of years of gifts and highly surgical/specific shopping. Meaning, buying only what is absolutely needed in a given moment, toward a strategic end. 2 or 3 of the same, if it's good value — price and durability-wise — then holding on to it for years. For example, my Nokia (mentioned at #3 (above), is the second of 3. The first one has a repairable broken screen. The third remains in its box, brand new. And if you google the price of cellphones, including those marketed to seniors the U.S., you won't find anything that cheap. THAT's value.
Truth be told, I can't recall the last time I bought clothes. Probably almost 15 years ago. Yet from New York to China, I have — pardon a little Trumpesque hyperbole for fun — “the best” clothes(!)
Further, I've been profiled by fashion photographers while running errands in public wearing old clothes, and later appearing in their fashion magazine. Plus, having started as a teen in the fashion industry in New York City, as a creative, I know I can make anything presentable.
You too, can adopt this attribute. The ability to save lots of money is exponential. And you can start by living the mantra: If you take good care of things, they'll take good care of you, and you'll be on your way to reaping the same rewards of passion and aesthetic-fueled minimalism behind Tesla!Never Travel On Borrowed Money
I've never had a “holiday” or “vacation”. All trips thus far, essential. Strategic.
I am no social media “nomad” either. And fall far short of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's ideal.
As a matter of fact, I'll never fly American Airlines again as they charged me $100 for a lighter version of the same luggage I last entered the U.S. with, via Taiwan's EVA Air. But one small victory I can claim is: All my international and local trips in the last several years have been paid for. How?
I help people in priceless ways, like designing entire career paths, business plans, security/risk consulting, helping a startup entrepreneurs save money or teaching priceless negotiating tactics that help movers and shakers avert heavy losses.
Consequently, offers and invitations come. Business or personal, they pay. And occasionally, I ask.
That's my typical answer to the question: “But what about food and healthy nutrition?”
I don't waste food. And I'm often ridiculed for saying: Food is food. McDonald's and fast food snobs, nota bene. There are creative ways to make any meal nutritious, preserve it, recycle it. And failure of imagination is to blame for being a snob about any of that.
Moreover, it's one thing to have legitimate and natural, even, life-threatening allergic reaction to certain foods. I respect that. And we won't get bogged down by googleable research involving healed gut and food sensitivity. But I was once in so much pain after a mushroom and rice meal that coincided with my first ever processed matcha tea that it felt like someone had poisoned me and I was about to die. I rarely take medicine, and was alone in a host's house, so I decided to sleep it off.
When I woke up some 2 hours later, the pain had disappeared. This was in the U.S. And although I've been eating mushrooms all my life, I also recalled that months prior in China, a mushroom meal made me feel like throwing up though I never did, while it digested. So naturally, I've taken the hint that perhaps, I should focus on other foods so long as I have options.Nevertheless, the key is to balance flexibility, tolerance and open-mindedness against the temptation to be picky, especially about food. A typically Western habit that the late Dr. Wayne Dyer lamented. Click or tap above.
Nail it though, and you'll discover that that's where minimalism meets creativity, and evolves.
From tasty cuisine to organic fruits, veggies, nuts, etc., for over a decade in China and Japan, my cooked or ordered food was often provided by people I'd helped in various ways as cited above. And what struck me whenever I remembered to be grateful, was how healthy, nutritious food was always in abundance, even when late by a day or two.
Contentment is a byproduct of doing right and treating people right. So, wherever you find yourself, eat whatever is presented to you, what the locals eat; what hasn't killed them. And overtime, that very habit positively calcifies into minimalism that has mileage.No Unnecessary Apps, Streaming Accounts & The Like
Mobile apps don't run my life. Only mostly free productivity desktop Apps run my 5 or more test machines/laptops, all of which I didn't buy. OPM. Click or tap above for technical insight.
You want (mostly) 100% FREE apps that earn you real money or enhance your career. And what about tablets? See All The Reasons Why the iPad Pro—like iPad 2018 and other iterations—is as useless as the 1st generation iPad, which I have.
Do the Math(s) as you read the following:
Mine is an almost 100% subscription-free life. 15 or 30 minutes of Reuters.TV (now Reuters Videos) through any web browser is really all the World News (covering everything from business, lifestyle to security) you need. You may supplement that with the BBC, which you can listen to via NPR, WBUR.org, etc. Or the New York Times, Reuters; perhaps CNN and MSNBC. But it's generally better for your health and wellness to avoid sensationalist media, "Action News" or local news.
It's been over 15, maybe, 20 years since I bought an album. I often don't know the name of the latest artist or movie star. And even when a new album or single is trending on Twitter, I ignore it, because preoccupied with productivity, legit minimalists opt to discover all those things by accident.Got a Tinder or other dating site account? Click/tap above to avoid falling for the next scam.
I don't do cable TV, movie or music streaming accounts. A contented life offline is more fulfilling.
You don't need a smart TV. Plus, I can assure you based on counseling and mentoring I've done since childhood: If you need any of these things to fit in, impress friends or neighbors, you have a mental strength problem.
I don't use computer monitors. Just a flat TV (not connected to the internet!) hooked to my laptops. With an internet connection that TV serves me all the entertainment I need.
Youtube, like Twitter, is simultaneously an entertainment powerhouse, an open university, and a powerful personal development resource. Whatever your age or purchasing power, you'd be doing yourself and kids a favor if that's all you stuck to. Or perhaps the occasional PopcornFlix and similar free movie sites? The point being that the latest movie ends up on such free services anyway.It's Normal For Legit Minimalists To Have A $0.00 Heat Bill (And Warm Body!)
I don't pay a cent in electricity bills. And at the risk of sounding inconsiderate, hacking your body is smarter than worrying about keeping visitors warm, as the latter is a luxury slippery slope to a legit minimalist. So how to do the former?
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