Becoming a Minimalist – How Filipinos Can Live Cheap Yet Fulfilled and Happy

I once wrote about minimalist living because I was intrigued by it. For a time, I didn’t know what being a minimalist was about. I only came to learn about it due to Leo Babauta’s blog. He has several articles on this blog explaining what it means to be a minimalist.

I have learned that minimalist living can mean different things to different people. The differences have to do mainly with the magnitude or by how far people are willing to go to live minimally.

Those who espouse a minimalist life often talks about two important life aspects to deal with.
  1. the things we own
  2. the things we do

A Simple Idea

Minimalists aspire to live a clutter-free life. So it’s no wonder they want to own only the things they need. They want to get rid of excesses. If they could live on only two pairs of clothing, they would. They learn not to obsess with material things. They don’t love objects. For them those things are the clutters that do not add value to the quality of their lives.

Minimalists also aim to make profitable use of their time. They want to engage in activities that means something to them. Activities that make them happy and give life meaning are what they try to do. They don’t want to be busy just because everyone else is busy.

Minimalism and Personal Finance

Why would I want to talk about minimalism in this blog, you may ask?

When I think about personal finance, I know success in it can only be achieved with the right mindset. Whatever strategies I share can mean nothing to someone who just doesn’t have the heart to change his ways.

I agree that being smart with your finances is not just about ticking off a set of checklist. It’s more about the way we live. What can make us happy are the things we spend money on. How we view the future influences our investing decisions.

So in reality, the person we are trying to conquer is our own self. We want to be protected from our own wrong behaviors about money. It’s about developing the self-discipline to do the right thing consistently.

But that’s just easier said than done. Changing your lifestyle is never easy. In fact, many who have tried can attest how hard it can be.

I know changing the way you live is difficult but it should not be impossible. You may struggle through the process but people have shown that it can be done. If you set your mind to it, you can do it.

Minimalist Life as an Option

So when I think about that, the idea of going for a minimalist life makes perfect sense. It aligns very well with most of what smart personal finance is all about.
  • A smart financial advice is to live within or below your means. What better way to achieve this by being a minimalist. If you strive to own only the things you need, you’ll be in a better position to live with what you can afford.
  • A smart financial advice would tell you that money is only a tool. It can’t buy you happiness or bring meaning to your life. The same thing can be derived by living a minimalist life. You’ll know that focusing on the essential will draw your attention away from just thinking about how to get rich all the time.
  • A smart financial advice would tell you that a problem with spending habits is often an emotional fight. Your view that material objects can make you happy leads you to buy stuff you don’t really need. A change in perspective is called for to solve this problem. Being a minimalist is a very good option. It encourages you to develop the skills to resist the materialism and consumerism that are everywhere around us.
With all that said, I realize minimalist living is not for everyone. Some wouldn’t even know what minimalism is about. A few would read about it and dismiss the idea. Others would like it and try it but would fail and go back to the way they were.

But for some, minimalism may save their financial lives. I believe those people deserve to hear about it as an option. It is mostly to them that I dedicate this post.

Photo Credit: 55Laney69 (Creative Commons)

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