Things you must spend money on, even if you are a minimalist!

Published: March 7, 2021 at 9:35 am

Last Updated on March 7, 2021 at 9:35 am

When I wrote the last article about how a minimalistic lifestyle can help you save money, people had some obvious questions and apprehensions. Some were sceptical that a lot of skimping may take the joy out of living and some others were worried about society and extravagant families waiting to judge them.

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While society will judge you for whatever you do and your frugality or minimalism will always be misconstrued for you being a miser, you must know why you are following this lifestyle in the first place. Is it only to save money? Is it to save space? Is it for your mental health? We all have our reasons and essentials and non-essentials are a personal affair. No two individuals are the same and that is why we call it personal finance.

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As a naysayer when you say that too much skimping will take the joy off living, you need to know how much is too much and who decides that? I, for instance, barely ever visit the beauty parlour. For me, it equates to spending money to buy an hour of boredom. My husband, on the other hand, will not mind shelling out a few thousand in the name of grooming or self-care. When I tell him that I hate paying for salon services, he labels be a miser, so do some other friends and family members that I know. So, in a judgmental society like ours, what is it that we can spend money on or skimp on without being judged. Nothing! Well, that is right, you cannot escape judgment. 

But, is there a list of non-negotiables that you must spend on despite wanting to be a minimalist? Yes, there is. Here are some things that you must spend money on, even if you are a minimalist:

  • Food: Did you say, that is obvious? Well, most of us know it is. But, do we look at food expenditure the way we should? Spending extravagantly on restaurant meals and alcohol bills is not what you’d call spending enough on food. Spending on healthy meals and to achieve a balanced diet is what is necessary. Now and then I get into a discussion on one of the mom forums where people argue that ghee is too expensive or buying cold-pressed oils is beyond budget. While, this is again a personal choice, knowing what is conducive to good health and saving up for it is wiser than saving for the newest model of iPhone while the current one is working perfectly. Isn’t it?
  • Safety equipment: Opting to hold your child in your lap instead of buying a car seat is not being minimalistic. And no, it isn’t a personal decision either. The same goes for other safety equipment such a wall plugs instead of shoving the wires into the socket or safety tested cooktop/stove. And do not save on the helmet if your state doesn’t mandate it.
  • Self-care: Self-care has a different meaning for different people. For some, it is long hours in the salon, just a cup of coffee for some others. For me, it is a few good books or craft supplies. Figure out what genuinely makes you (not your neighbours and society) happy and do not shy away from spending money on it.
  • Gym/ yoga class subscription or workout equipment: I cannot emphasize this enough, investing in your health is never a bad investment. Go ahead and pay for that Taekwondo class or get home that treadmill. But only if you attend the class and use the equipment regularly because there are cheaper alternatives to drying towels than a treadmill 😉.
  • Self-development programs/ courses: Never shy away from paying for that digital marketing course you always wanted to take or those painting lessons. Whatever be it, if you get to learn something, acquire a new skill or brush up an existing skill, go spend on it. You will either get an amazing hobby or something you can change into a side hustle.
  • Good quality footwear: My articles may sound that a lot has happened to me and people I know but I still think that I am the perfect person to tell you about the perils of cheap footwear. Thanks to years of buying pretty and cheap footwear off flea markets and street stalls I developed severe heel pain. It was so debilitating that I couldn’t keep my feet on the floor. Plantar fasciitis they call it and it is a result of poor footwear. So, compromise a bit on vanity and opt for only high-quality and comfortable pairs because your feet go through a lot. They carry the entire weight of your body and thus need to be pampered enough to support you till you die.
  • Health Check-ups: An annual health check-up is non-negotiable. It will ensure that you stay healthy as well as save money in the long run. Remember, it is a lot more expensive to be hospitalized for an illness than health investigations and preventive medication.
  • Dental care: Regular dentist appointments, changing your toothbrush every 3 months or investing in a battery-powered toothbrush are all investments and not expenses. Dental health is critical to your overall health. Yet, it is one of the most ignored aspects of healthcare.
  • Health Insurance: Health insurance premium may look like an unnecessary expense but is a great saviour. Trust me, hospitalization expenses are no joke and while you may want to leave your well-being to god, it is a good idea to cover the unforeseen expenses beforehand.
  • Term-Insurance: Why should I be paying the premium year on year without the guarantee that I or my family will get it back? Your term insurance plan is a cushion to your family in case of your untimely death where you may be survived by dependents. It is great if you outgrow the term and do not get anything because in that case, you don’t need it either. (Hint! You can still earn or draw income from investments and your liabilities/responsibilities are majorly taken care of)
  • Education: Kids need to study at good schools, get books and stationery required and attend tuitions if they need help. The same goes for adults looking for higher education prospects. Money spent on quality education is money well spent.
  • Experiences: It is always a good idea to spend on experiences than on things. It goes a great way in achieving a life of substance than material. Book that hiking trip today or take that vacation and create memories that will make you feel fulfilled.

Is there anything else that you think is non-negotiable? Do let us know.

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Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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