Despite first appearances, frugality and minimalism aren’t always natural bedfellows.Although both are underpinned by the virtues of reining in spending and thinking carefully about purchases, considering needs versus wants, and whether an item will really make a difference in your life, in practice, they can be annoyingly opposing ideals.
If you want to be frugal then quite often that entails keeping items for re-use that someone who is ‘ultra-minimalist’ would discard. For example, take our hair cutting kit which basically consists of clippers, scissors and a huge bag of different clipper attachments to cut hair to different lengths. It also includes a beach towel that has seen better days which is used to catch hair.
Frank and I cut our hair at home. He does his own and my sister trims mine when I see her and Frank takes the razor to my head when I haven’t seen my sister and my hair is all over the place (he’s a brave man!).
Cutting our hair ourselves saves a fortune, which the frugal me can’t help but love (plus my no spend year has zero budget for hair maintenance). However, the part of me that wants to reduce our possession gets frustrated with the amount of hair care paraphernalia we have to keep in order to be frugal.
Another example would be the enormous amount of tools we have in our back bedroom, just waiting for us to finish renovating our house. We’d rather save the money and do the work ourselves than pay someone to do it for us (and again, I can’t spend any money employing someone anyway this year) but it does mean we have a shed’s worth of tools in our home.
When we’ve finished the house (whenever that may be!) we’ll donate or sell the tools we have but until then I have to put up with them. Some of them I’ll have to put up with forever because we need a tool box for repairs.
While I’ve got rid of the ‘just in case’ items like spare wrapping paper and a drawer full of pens, my frugal nature means I hold on to things that will save me money in the long-term.
I think we’ve found the balance but sometimes it’s hard not to want to get rid of the clippers and tools – I just have to keep reminding myself how much these items save me, and realise they’ve bought themselves a place in my home.
Let me know which items your frugal side makes you keep hold of!