Why You Should Live Minimally Even if You Can Afford an Extravagant Lifestyle
By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist
Consumerism is good for the economy but detrimental to your life in various ways. Instead of pursuing extravagance, embrace minimalism even if you can afford to live like royalty because of these eight benefits.
Part of a series on Minimalism:
- What Is Minimalism? A Beginner’s Guide
- The Benefits of Minimalism: Guide Examining Pros & Cons
- Minimalism and Sustainability: Their Many Shared Benefits
- Environmental Benefits of Minimalism
- What Is Eco-Minimalist Architecture?
- Minimalist Eating: How to Reduce Food Waste
8 Reasons Why You Should Live Minimally
Consumerists are greatly responsible for climate change, constantly buying goods to satiate never-ending desires. Globalization helps make products low-cost. This incentivizes developing countries to burn more cheap fossil fuels, like coal, to run manufacturing plants and swell the coffers of diesel-powered cargo ship operators.
Consumerism and globalization have been instrumental in lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty. However, such a path to prosperity has resulted in environmental unsustainability. Untold amounts of fossil fuels turn into greenhouse gases just to manufacture and ship the products you buy from across the world.
Agriculture is also a significant global polluter. Converting forests into farms, meadows and pastures limits the planet’s ability to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide and store it in trees and soil. Cropland fertilization and animal husbandry are notorious sources of methane — 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide at causing global warming.
Moreover, materialism drives up mining activities, too. Building electronics requires metals and rare earth elements buried in the ground. Extracting, refining and transporting these finite resources disturb ecosystems, increase pollution and spark conflict.
Minimalism can meaningfully curb climate change. Forgoing stuff you can live without reduces your household’s carbon footprint. Inspiring others to do the same and instilling minimalist values in your children multiply your positive impact on the environment.
Shopping less decreases the waste you generate at home. The nonrecyclable and nonbiodegradable packaging of the items you consume eventually congests landfills or pollutes marine ecosystems, endangering the health of humans and wildlife. Food waste decomposes but emits methane.
Buying no more than what you need and owning things that last matter to be part of the solution — not the problem. If you lead a leaner life, you’ll naturally gravitate toward circular products promoting sustainability at every turn.
Reducing consumption helps contribute to a greener environment. However, reusing and recycling on top of that makes Mother Nature smile. Working with what you already have doesn’t undo any ecological damage your possessions may have caused but prevents them from causing more harm.
Donating unwanted, usable items to charity and repurposing old clothes, sheets and towels are practical ways to give existing goods new leases on life. Cleaning, separating and recycling plastic, cardboard and glass helps reduce the need to source new materials and generates eco-friendly jobs.
Choose used items if you must buy something new. Supporting secondhand markets for the following helps increase the profits of circular economy participants:
- Exercise machines
- Hand tools
- Musical instruments
- Sports gear
- White goods
- Yard equipment
Not all preowned items are of good quality, so buy those in superb condition to use them for a long time and reduce waste at home.
Living comfortably is different from splurging on luxuries. Your necessities will most likely remain the same even if you have the means to indulge your family in lavish goods.
If you feel the urge to upgrade your way of life for status because of society, fight it. Giving in to the pressure will result in lifestyle inflation, which can harm your financial health over the long term. Even if you fancy extravagant living, reject it and adopt a minimalist mindset to increase your savings. You’ll be able to build up your rainy day and emergency funds.
Does this mean you can’t have the best things in life? No — you should enjoy what your money can buy. Just don’t overdo it.
Being a luxurious minimalist can reconcile living less and relishing opulence. Decide what’s essential to your family, buy the highest-quality items you need and ignore everything else. Adopting luxury minimalism allows you and your loved ones to enjoy more comfortable living without cluttering your lives with unnecessary possessions.
We are all tempted to buy things we don’t need sometimes if we have money to spare. It could be a sports car that doesn’t fit a family lifestyle, a designer handbag you’re too scared to take outside or a piece of luxury furniture that’s not actually comfortable.
If you have the money to achieve the life you want, you have more freedom to choose things that serve a purpose for you. If you’re designing your own home, for example, you can choose a layout that works perfectly for you and your family. Don’t get distracted by fancy features that won’t fit your lifestyle.
Being thoughtful with your purchases will help you avoid feeling buyer’s remorse or ending up with a home full of clutter you don’t want.
Making money is one thing, but keeping it is another. Wise rich people keep a low profile to avoid attracting unwanted attention from individuals with malicious intent.
Flaunting your wealth in public or on social media is a grave mistake. It will make your loved ones abduction targets, attract car thieves and carjackers, put your house on burglars’ radars, and encourage cyberattackers to hack your online accounts.
Spending less on unnecessary stuff frees up more resources for things you deeply value. Are you keen on financially supporting causes close to your heart? Do you have itchy feet to visit foreign countries, taste authentic exotic cuisines, explore pyramids and other wonders, immerse in various cultures, and discover new horizons? Is creating fun, lasting memories with your friends and family your dream? Living minimally can help you achieve all that.
What you own ends up owning you. Having superfluous possessions can make you anxious because you worry about where to store them, how to keep them in good condition, and whether they’re safe from the elements and larcenists.
Being a maximalist can give you gratification, but fleeting joys differ from true happiness. Materialism isn’t good for the soul and can affect your health. It correlates with obsessive online shopping, so get help if you must.
On the contrary, minimalist values nurture the spirit. Upholding them means your house will be emptier but your heart will be full.
Being born in a consumerist society programs you to believe that more is better, but that’s a lie. If that were true, the wealthiest people would be the happiest. Use your money to solve your problems instead of creating new ones it can’t remedy and have the freedom to pursue what you think matters in your heart.
About the Author
Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.