The DIFFERENCE Between Mimimalism and Frugality

Our foray into RV’ing forced us into an initial period of downsizing.  From there we have faced many choices and challenges in how to live in (first 230 sq ft and now in about) 380 sq ft. Our initial goal was not frugality, nor was it minimalism. But the longer we stay out on the road — living daily with the reality of restricted living space — the more the ideals and advantages of minimalism invade and take over my life.  0f7827e7ae5c1129baa7f363cfc3757f

I refrain from frequent reprints of other people’s writing, but I’m going to make an exception today. I blog as a way of processing the world around me, not to publish lots of articles. But this piece addresses a creeping disease that needs a little more attention.

We hear a lot about how many people are disadvantaged today; how economic downturns have hurt their lifestyle, how big business has injured them, how… well, there’s no end of causes that are being used to excuse how people are behaving.

There are many reasons people choose the RV lifestyle. Travel is one of them.  But there is also a percentage of the population that do so because their Plan A, and Plan B, and Plan C have run amok and they need the cheapest lifestyle they can find.  And some folks think that RV’ing may be it.  As a result they arrive in a campground in an unsafe vehicle and they trouble their neighbors for ways of staying there more cheaply, bending the rules, etc., etc.. bigstock-Frugality-45115990

RV’ing isn’t a particularly ‘cheap’ way to live. It can be, but it can also be a very expensive way of living.  And buying a cheap RV usually gets you … a cheap RV; which is to say an RV with more problems than you may know how to address.

reprinted from: Lauren Jade Lately


When I tell people that we are moving into a trailer, I get a pretty mixed bag of responses. Overall it’s extremely positive and those who know us understand the logic behind what we are doing. But there are some people that don’t quite grasp it. Instead they assume and imply that pure frugality is the motivation behind our drastic lifestyle change. It is not. There are some major differences behind minimalism and frugality.

For the record, I have nothing against certain aspects to frugal living. Everyone loves a good deal, but gaining an appreciation for craftsmanship and product integrity has given me a new perspective on exactly what a ‘good deal’ is, while simultaneously becoming a more conscious consumer.

Unfortunately, in a genuine effort to save money and get the best deal possible, those aiming for a frugal lifestyle often find themselves wrapped up in bulk-only deals, piles of coupons and inadvertently become excessive consumers. In the past, I was guilty of falling prey to the big box stores tricks and sneaky marketing efforts. Subconsciously convincing me if I buy two for the price of one I’m getting this amazing deal. (I’m not…I simply just paid more for that one shirt to cover the price of the second.) Target used to suck me in every time.

Having a frugal mindset in the world we live in today can be rather contradictory to its original intentions.

The true definition of frugality is to lack wastefulness and focus on savings. But it seems that those looking to simply spend the least amount end up purchasing more in bulk to drive down the price. The end result is a lot of excess, low quality goods and sometimes going over budget without realizing it.

This excess sits…unused, wasting away until the ‘smart consumer’ decides to eventually trash it after enough time has expired to not feel guilty about the original purchase.

Spending two hours on a Sunday clipping coupons in order to save a few dollars on the next grocery run is not actually saving money. That time wasted clipping coupons could be spent with family, working or enjoying simple down time. Time is a precious commodity not to be wasted.

Blindly choosing the lowest, most economical option may seem like the right thing to do in order to save money, but if you’re having to buy that product four times more regularly than a higher priced, more durable, better built product, then frugality just became your enemy.

On the other hand the focus of minimalism is quality of design. The term actually originated from the minimal arts movement of the 1960’s. By way of using the fewest elements to create the maximum effect in return. In the more modern world, minimalism has evolved into an all-encompassing term for a highly intentional lifestyle. Minimalists are opting to purchase less frequently, with the utmost care into why and when they choose to add new things into their life.

There are many different ways to achieve a minimalistic style of living. But at the end of the day, it boils down to design. Everything we do requires design.

A great design can make all the difference.

The choices we make daily are the instruments we use to compose our lives. These choices design our environments, emotions, preferences and determine the terms by which we live.

I see minimalism as a way to clear a path to live a life filled with adventure and happiness.

It is easy to see how many could interchange the two terms. But I believe they couldn’t be any more different.

We are moving into the trailer to design a life we want to live. Removing the excess from our lives we are essentially giving ourselves a blank slate. Our goal is to create a life rich with experiences and unforgettable moments.

The only thing we plan on having in abundance is happiness. And that is always free.

Have a great day and stop by tomorrow to chat why don’t you….


5 thoughts on “The DIFFERENCE Between Mimimalism and Frugality

  1. Fabulous article! Thanks for sharing it today. I really identify with the desire to downsize these days, since we really don’t have a lot of family around anymore. I love our home and have always been so grateful for it, but the older we get, the more work it is to upkeep, too. Downsizing in a quality way is definitely something for us to think about in the future.


    1. I have never been one to spend a lot of time reminiscing. I have reminisced more because of this blog in the last 5 years than ever before, but not so much because I’m thinking back as much as looking for illustrations of things I’m trying to say.

      With that as a given, my people loved to save things and downsizing has been amazingly liberating: physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

      But I see a lot of folks who confuse downsizing with being frugal; and others who attempt to rename being miserly, as being frugal. They are not the same. You can be frugal while abounding in grace, kindness, compassion, etc..; those who are miserly are miserly in whatever they do and usually the people in their lives suffer because of their obsession — and obsession it is.


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