With all the “-isms” around, do we really need another one? In this case, we do.
Minimalism is when you remove all excess until only the truly essential and important remains.
Most people think minimalism is easy when you’re rich. You already have a lot of stuff to get rid of, you can make even more money by having a garage sale, and if you ever need to buy something worth buying, you have the money for it.
This wasn’t true for me. I come from Mossel Bay. It’s a holiday town, known for its beautiful scenery and white beaches. It’s also a small fishing village with a drinking problem. I was a junior tax accountant / bookkeeper for a local auditor’s firm. My salary was R 3,000 per month.
R 3,000 per month. From 2009 until 2012, I was just being frugal.
Then, I found minimalism. I was 22 years old and living on less than the minimum wage introduced on 1 January 2019 made sense. I already had nothing, so now I can just be content and still have nothing.
At first minimalism gave me a name for what I was! I’m not poor, I’m a minimalist!
Frugal or minimalist?
Being frugal means you get by with less. Being a minimalist means less is better.
After trimming the down the nothing I had, I started looking at my commitments. Studies, full time job that paid peanuts, photography gigs and stupid Amway. There was way too much stuff going on, and making no headway with any of it. I got rid of the photography and stupid Amway – I made no money from it. Minimalism helped me clear my schedule.
Eventually I moved to Cape Town and things got easier. The move to Cape Town was just as easy, because I could haul everything I owned in one trip in my, then 17-year-old Nissan 1400 bakkie.
Being a minimalist made me think twice about what I bought, what I spent money on – now that I had some – and what I really need in my life.
I still buy stuff, don’t get me wrong. I just make sure that everything I own has a purpose in my life. And eventually that way of thinking spilled over from my stuff to my relationships, finances and commitments.
André Bothma is a volunteer contributor to Just One Lap. He is a husband, father, minimalist, personal finance enthusiast, tax expert, PC Gamer, guitar and Dungeons and Dragons player, Arsenal supporter and debt free. Follow him on Twitter.
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