reviewed by Kareem mahmoud

Have you ever wanted to explore new ways to improve your financial health? Have you been curious about changing lifestyles to suit your economic needs? Do you lean towards a simple, sustainable lifestyle? If the answer is yes, you might want to try minimalism!

Let’s start from the beginning; what is minimalism anyway? Minimalism is a recently popular lifestyle that goes against consumerism. It promotes healthy living by owning fewer possessions and advocates ethics of simplicity and idleness. According to Babauta, minimalists are people who cut off unnecessary things, recognize what is important and essential, make everything count, live joyfully and lightly, and “edit, edit,” which means that their quest of being minimalists is ongoing and always requires certain alterations.

Okay, it may seem that minimalism takes a lot of work and dedication, so you may be wondering: why do people practice it? Well, as we’ve witnessed so far, a remarkable amount of people strive for healthy wellbeing as much as they strive for money and wealth. Many of them believe that possession will provide the satisfaction they desire to make them happy. However, it is evident that it is not true; money buys comfort, but certainly not happiness. Evidence shows that high consumption lifestyles and materialistic values  degrade a person’s wellbeing and psychological health.

This is one of the reasons why people seek a minimalist lifestyle; they consider it a tool for happiness and comfort and a detox from a capitalist, materialistic society that thrives on consumerism. In fact, an experiment was conducted among multiple participants; they were required to adopt a minimalist lifestyle to evaluate if it has any benefits. The results came out positive towards a healthier wellbeing. Participants recalled feeling:

• Autonomous: free, liberated, and aligned with values.
• Competent: feeling in control of their environments and less stressed and anxious.
• Having mental space: saving mental energy, reflecting internally and externally.
• Aware: reflecting and being mindful.
• Having positive emotions: happy and at peace.

Since minimalism is a strong advocate for consuming less and living sustainably, you must’ve noticed how much money you’d be saving! Yes, since a minimalist lifestyle requires you to focus on things other than spending money here and there, it encourages you to better your financial health. According to Lopez Palafox (2019), since the 1930s, women have tripled the number of clothes in their closets. It brings us back to the concept of consumerism and materialism that is contaminating our minds and creating a lot of waste. In a world of “too much,” minimalism comes to save the day as it seeks to reduce everyday consumption by encouraging mindful purchasing instead of compulsive buying.

Many minimalists take it one step further by adopting a “zero waste” strategy. Okay, we know, creating zero waste is impossible, but this strategy relies on limiting waste as much as possible by redesigning, repurposing, recycling, or upcycling. For example, instead of buying glass jars, repurpose your emptied glass coffee jars and use them again for additional storage instead of throwing them out!

Also, other minimalists advise reducing one’s home size or investing in smaller homes rather than going for mainstream houses. According to Lopez Palafox (2019), the tiny home movement started rising in 2008, after the financial crisis. They usually vary between 100 and 400 square feet, depending on the person and the house. This is a drastic difference when you compare it with mainstream American homes that are usually 2,426 square feet.

Moreover, the average cost of tiny homes depends on whether you want to build your home or buy it, whether you want it affordable or luxurious. Either way, it’d still be cheaper than an average home. Let’s make a small comparison: according to research, in 2017, the average price of buying a tiny home was $59,884; however, the average cost of a mainstream house would be$200,000. Well, it turns out that it’s not a small comparison after all. We’ll let you do the math to calculate the exact difference. But think of all the money you’d be saving! Less money to invest in your home, less water, less gas, fewer overall possessions: this is the perfect scenario for a minimalist.

When it comes to minimalism, there is a learning curve. No one can change their lifestyle overnight; no one can get it right on the first go; no one can be the perfect minimalist. It is hard, and it depends on the individual; it depends on you and what works for you. So our advice to you would be, take it slow and learn as you go!

Charlie Tohme

Kareem Mahmoud

I am a medical doctor from Palestine and currently a postgraduate student of International Health at Heidelberg University, Germany. Over the past years, I have developed an interest in digital health and telemedicine. In parallel to pursuing my Masters degree, I am working on a digital health publication based in Germany.

Hausen, J. E. (2018, September 22). Minimalist life orientations as a dialogical tool for happiness. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03069885.2018.1523364?journalCode=cbjg20

Lloyd, K., & Pennington, W. (2020). Towards a Theory of Minimalism and Wellbeing. International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41042-020-00030-y

Lopez Palafox, C. (2019). When Less is More: Minimalism and the Environment. Environmental and Earth Law Journal (EELJ), 9(1). https://lawpublications.barry.edu/ejejj/vol9/iss1/5/

Mangold, S., & Zschau, T. (2019). In Search of the “Good Life”: The Appeal of the Tiny House Lifestyle in the USA. Social Sciences, 8(1), 26. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010026

Meissner, M. (2019). Against accumulation: lifestyle minimalism, de-growth and the present post-ecological condition. Journal of Cultural Economy, 12(3), 185–200. https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2019.1570962