QUALITY VS. BUDGET: ARE HIGH QUALITY GOODS THE RESPONSIBLE CHOICE

QUALITY VS. BUDGET - This Wild Home.jpg

I would say this is the number one debate I have with myself recently. You see, I’m a self-diagnosed shopaholic who got into minimalism about a year ago. After a full year of purges (that are still on going) I’ve realized there’s a lot of crap I had that I didn’t need, but a lot of crap I don’t have that I do need.

It’s a blessing and curse really, I have to shop now. That’s awesome. But there’s just so much filling out that I have to do that our budget can’t handle buying top quality everything.

So let me start by saying, this is just for stuff that we need to improve the quality of our living situation.

So no, I don’t have a list of exclusively needs per se, but I don’t have a list of just wants either. The things I feel good about buying these days are things that add a little comfort and function to our lives. Like jeans that fit or an entertainment system that doesn’t leave exposed cables for the kiddo to get into.

So not we’re going to die without it stuff, but not eh, I just want it stuff either.

THE ARGUMENT FOR QUALITY

Obviously, quality goods are usually more expensive. That’s the whole reason to have this debate in the first place. They’re not necessarily budget friendly in the short term.

But that’s just it: the short term. In the long run, you definitely get your money’s worth. You don’t have to replace the items as frequently, if ever. They usually look better, fit better, work better. Just all around, it’s a better purchase.

The idea of buying something cheap at this point seems silly, unless it’s something you have to have right this second. In an age where we understand what is quality and what isn’t, why wouldn’t you just save for the quality item? You’ll probably like it more, you’ll use it more, it’ll last longer. It’s most likely made with better materials and in a more sustainable, eco-friendly environment with well paid workers. Quality goods are purchases you can feel good about all around.

Literally the only downside is the price tag.

THE ARGUMENT FOR BUDGET

The price tag. That is the part I just can’t get around. I just can’t shake the fact that I have debt. I have a very small savings account as it is. How can I feel good about spending $100+ on a shirt, whether I need it or not, if I still can’t see the light at the end of my debt tunnel?

The bottom line is, on a budget it’s hard to move past the idea that for the price of one, high quality shirt, you could buy a low quality shirt and and entertainment system and maybe have money left over to put into savings or debt.

It really does beg the question: are high quality goods really the more responsible choice?

When your budget is tight enough as it is, should you really save for your items? Is in not more responsible to buy the less expensive, though lower quality item for the sake of your family’s future?

THE CONCLUSION

I think when it comes down to it, it really depends on where you are in life.

Right now, when I have close to $50K in debt, $1000 in an emergency fund, and maybe a couple hundred extra bucks coming in a month. should I really be spending it on a high quality entertainment system? Probably not.

I mean, are we in a hole? Are we starving? Are we living with the bare minimum? No. We indulge here and there in little luxuries. That doesn’t mean we have room in the budget to spend on high quality things, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of things either.

In a few years, if we keep buying the low quality stuff for a while and save what we can. When our debt is gone and all of our income after basic bills is ours, you better believe I’m going to be indulging in high quality items.

They’re still a no brainer… if you can afford it. If all your money is yours to keep and you don’t owe anyone anything, you’re doing a disservice by buying low quality goods. But until your money is yours, you can’t afford the luxury of quality.

What’s your take on quality vs. budget? Do you go for high quality items or stick to your budget strictly?

Photo by Becca Tapert 

MINIMAL MILLENNIALS

MINIMAL MILLENNIALS - This Wild Home

"Who are you buying this for? The person you are or the person you want to be?" - Cait Flanders

It's a difficult question to answer. Especially for younger minimalists, it takes time to learn what you really want in life. You don't really know who you want to be, what you want to do, or how all those things will change throughout your life. 

If there's something I've learned, it's that growing up comes with a lot a waste. A lot of wasted time on things that didn't really matter, wasted feelings on people not worth your time, and wasted money on things that won't stand the test of time. 

It's all trial and error. It's learning what's out there and then applying it to yourself. You have to try things out, take risks, and then change everything if you find it's not for you. In a way, it makes minimalism feel unrealistic. It makes it seem like something you have to wait and start when you've finally figured it out. 

The only problem is, one day you'll realize no one has it all figured out. We all change throughout our lives, but that should never stop us from starting something right now

WHY MILLENNIALS NEED MINIMALISM  

  • The inflation of housing prices rising faster than wages.

  • The expectation of college for skills that don't truly require a degree to learn paired with rising education prices and massive loans we're encouraged to take out at a young age.

  • The saturated job market requiring even more schooling and more loans with no guarantee of a steady job that pays enough to support those loans.

  • A lack of growth potential in the job market leaving us with the lowest wage jobs in our field.

Not to complain, but most of us have it pretty bad. I was one of the fortunate few who wasn't pressured to go to college and who had family that would've helped me financially if I had decided to go. Beyond that, my husband found a job with good growth potential which was very fortunate. It's not a situation that many millennials find themselves in. 

Even still, growth potential doesn't mean a final answer for paying off loans and the debt acquired having to move around to finally find a good job. Even those of us that have found a decent job still have mountains of debt and a cloudy financial future. It’s not like we now have an opportunity for settling down and buying a home. We can’t build a proper savings fund for us and our children. Even with a good job, we are a long ways away from financial freedom.

Bottom line, most of us start off in a hole and there are very few who find a rope to climb out of it. We watch generations before us owning houses bigger then they need with more stuff than anyone should acquire. Taking and taking while never giving. Setting a standard for success that is impossible to live up to. 

All of the greed in the world has created something awesome, though. It's created rebellion. 

Because of the ads that tell us we need more and people saying we're nothing until we have everything, more and more people are saying, “no.” They're saying they are enough as they are and a movement has been created to show that happiness is not found in climbing a corporate ladder and sitting in a giant, modern-day castle house full of all your treasures. 

Minimalism for millennials and future generations means less jobs requiring you to waste money to go to 4 years of college to learn something you could’ve figured out in a month on the job. It means less debt and more financial freedom. It means smaller houses with less stuff so we’re not spending our days maintaining junk that doesn’t matter. We can find happiness outside of all the things that eventually fills the world and ruins it for anyone that comes after us. 

It lets us think to the future, beyond ourselves. Our children will be saved from our struggles because we'll know what really matters, freedom

BECOMING A MINIMALIST AS A MILLENNIAL

It takes careful thought, but it also takes letting go. It takes time to learn who you are apart from other people. Finding any and every way to go out on your own and discover what is actually out there. Not just what oldies from an age before computers say is out there. It takes being yourself, unapologetically, and being honest about what is wrong and what it right, even if other people don't agree.

  • Let go of your future self. Let go of who you think you need to be. Put aside expectations and image and just think about the moments that make you feel happiest.

  • Try things out. Go on an adventure, take up photography, learn programming, practice a skill. Don't tie yourself down to learning one major or one subject. Let yourself explore everything and then be willing to drop things you hate, even if you're "in too deep."

  • Get rid of stuff, obviously. Let go of things from your past. Let go of the things that were acquired for a you that you may not want to be. Let go of the things you think you should have or that stress you out. Only keep what is good in your life.

  • Speak up. Don't be afraid to rustle some feathers and be honest about what you're thinking and feeling. The best thing you can do for yourself is to let yourself feel what you need to and talk to the people who need to hear about it.

Minimalism is about more than the stuff. It can start on the outside with external things, but eventually it gets to the inside. It tears down your walls, removes the people who bring you down and the tasks that waste your time. It helps you to find yourself so one day you can know: is this for me or the person I want to be?

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz 

HELPFUL TIPS FOR MINIMALISM

HELPFUL TIPS FOR MINIMALISM - This Wild Home

It’s no secret that becoming a minimalist has changed my life. It’s helped me find peace with where I am and where I’m going. Despite what it may seem, minimalism is more than just getting rid of things for the sake of having a cleaner home. The stuff is just practice for the bigger things. You start by getting rid of the things in your life that you just don’t use which leads to discovering things about yourself. You discover that you have more than just things that weigh you down.

But, with every trend there comes “gurus.” People who found a way that works for them and try to say it will work for others. You get people with the lists of things that people need. Some who say you have to only own this much stuff. It really turns a lot of people off to this idea that isn’t suppose to have a standard. It’s not suppose to be one type of minimalism. Sure, there are guidelines. But we all have different need and different desires. It’s not possible for any one lifestyle to fit every person.

I felt it was important to reflect on the things that inspired me to become a minimalist in the first place. I’m not one to see what others are doing and take it word for word. The people who truly inspired me were the ones who simply shared their story. The ones that guide without demanding. These are the people who share minimalism for exactly what it is. The open-ended, do it yourself, lifestyle that it was meant to be.

For anyone that is interested in becoming a minimalist for the sake of creating their own path to a meaningful life, enjoy my links to resources that really helped me a long the way!

MINIMALISM INSPIRATION

  1. A quick guide to minimalism.

  2. The podcast that inspired me to be a minimalist.

  3. A reflection on my journey to minimalism.

  4. An interesting post on why millennials are getting into minimalism. This is also my favorite blog as of late.

  5. A documentary on minimalism and the people who are living it.

  6. A list of lies that keep our homes and lives cluttered.

  7. An inspiring post on how minimalism helps you live fearlessly.

  8. A week of journaling prompts for creating a minimal life.

Photo by Saar Manche