By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large
I’ve talked about minimalism off and on through this space, as well as through the Christian Money Plus members-only site, and I’ve done so with some admiration for those who have been able to make the break from a consumer-oriented lifestyle…to one centered on owning as absolutely little as possible. In my own life, while it would be inaccurate to say I have devoted myself to minimalism, I have been slowly winnowing my possessions in the interest of working to get my life to as uncomplicated a configuration as possible. Granted, coming to have a truly uncomplicated life involves more than just unburdening oneself of physical trappings, but it is funny how much of your life can be altered by owning more…or less.
In that same vein, there’s a good article…recently published on Lifehacker…that asks the question, “What if I could never buy anything?” The author, Eric Ravenscraft, doesn’t ask you to ask the question out of deference to philosophical concerns; his purpose is to encourage you to live, as much as possible, the idea of being unable to purchase anything ever again, in order to help ensure that you’re living as financially sound an existence as possible. His position is that if you reprogram your mind to think of consuming anything, going forwarded, on an as-needed basis…and take the matter of buying something because you “want” it and putting it permanently in your rearview mirror…you will take amazingly good care of that which you already own, and, as a result, save all kinds of money in the process.
Even though living a simpler life is not really the point of Ravenscraft’s article…while financial solvency is…what he puts forth is another narrative by which you can have both. I have largely reconfigured my own life this way explicitly because of the dual benefit it provides; I want to be sure that, for the rest of my days, financial worries are a thing of the past, and also, I want to live a life that affords me the mental space to appreciate “the little things.” There are different psychological mechanisms you can employ to help arrive at those places, and Ravenscraft’s is certainly a good one.