When I refer to my minimalist sides, many people tend to confuse them with being cheap. To me it is more a matter of needs. Funny enough, a French-Canadian accountant just wrote a book titled “En as-tu vraiment besoin?” that could be translated as “Do You Really Need It?” Since then, what we now apply for over five years has become quite trendy around.
Our minimalist moves
- Our car is 8 years old and we don’t expect to change it before another 2-3 years, even though we are now a family of five.
- I have the same winter boots for 6 years. I don’t see why I would change them since they are still in perfect condition.
- After 7 years in it, I repainted all my house for low cost instead of redecorating it all or buying more furniture.
- I don’t buy new clothes more than 3-4 times a year because I simply have enough to wear. My husband buys some only 2 times a year or on special occasions.
- We keep all our appliances and electronic devices until they break. If it can be repaired at low cost, that’s what we go for. That includes cell phones, TV, washer, dryer, toaster, etc.
On The Other Hand
We are married and have three children, I do horseback riding (which is far from cheap), my husband does Ironmen and we enjoy our family vacations. So we made minimalist moves on materials things to make experiences easier to achieve. We don’t believe we need that much material (we have more than truly needed too to be very honest), but we do believe we need experiences to build ourselves and our children into better persons.
The trick is to make the difference between a need and a wish. And you can do it to the extreme. In his book, Pierre-Yves McSween goes as far as: “Do you really need kids?”, “Do you really need to get married?”. It can be shocking to ask, but these are fair questions. Do you, as a person, really need to be a parent or are you doing it because everybody does? Did you even asked yourself the question?
Many people wish to get married, but why? Is it worth the couple thousands you’ll spare? Do you really need to do such an expense to be happy? Honestly speaking, no.
That becomes a wish. Just like a new car or a family vacations. So how to make the difference if a wish is not just another toy?
Balance, balance and more balance
The real balance resides in your profound values and priorities.
According to the author of the book I’m referring to, it also resides in the future. For example, if getting married means you’ll never get to retirement because of debt, then it’s not worth it. As an accountant, he is a big defender of savings and investments. As we live older and older, it is important to save to maintain an interesting lifestyle. According yourself too many treats now could result in having no treat at all later. Isn’t worth thinking about?
One necessary question
Unfortunately, we live in a consumerist world in which owning things is encouraged. And that is why a question as simple as “Do you really need it?” is necessary. I often ask myself this question before buying something. I go through the same process for experiences. Although the human being is happier with experiences than things and rarely regrets them, some experiences are more visceral than others. Bring into all this a little treat from time to time and you have your own “need” balance. What is truly worth it for you. What will make you a better person than yesterday. What might change you even more in a couple years. What will give you a life you’ll enjoy until your time comes… in many, many, many years! 😉