When you think about simplicity, do you ever think about how much it costs? Do you think about it being something that saves you money? Do you ever associate simple with cheap or frugal?
A couple weeks ago these two words were swirling in my mind: simplicity and frugality. I think sometimes we can make a blanket assumption that to lead a simple life, that means we save money too. However, when I broke this concept down, it didn’t necessarily make that much sense. Here’s why…
- Buying Quality Over Quantity. When you think about minimalism or simplicity, you’ll often find the concept of buying quality products over super cheap items. The idea is that something of quality will actually save you money in the long run because it will last you longer. Compare that with buying a ‘great deal’ that you have to replace ten times over. Being simple here might cost you MORE money at the start. I saw this personally when my hubby insisted on buying really expensive camouflage clothing for hunting. He argued that if he purchased the best quality it would last him many, many years. I had to wait a few years to see if this was the case, and he was right! I can’t say I loved it when the credit card bill came, but I have appreciated the many years since where we haven’t had to purchase a ton of hunting gear.
- Simplicity sometimes means paying for someone else to help you. When I think through the complicated parts of my life, sometimes the solution to help me simplify means that I need to delegate that task. Sometimes that means paying for an oil change, or hiring an electrician, or even hiring a teenager to help with landscaping chores. In these cases, I spend MORE money compared to doing a task myself, but it simplifies that project big time.
- Simplicity in subscriptions. For years I resisted signing up for something like Chewy.com or Amazon subscribe and save programs because I’d pay a buck or two more per bag of dog food than I would at my local store. However, I kept running out of dog food and having to make special trips to go pick some more up. Once I signed up for a program like this, I have never once run out of dog food or even really had to lose mental energy dealing with this regular need in our home. Is that worth a few bucks? As my Swedish ancestors would say, “ya sure you betcha!”
- Less time searching for a deal. Have you ever looked online for a promo code for specific brand? If you ever have, you may search on easily five or six sites before you find one that works, or come up empty-handed. Do you value your time? How much is it worth? Is a 10% promo coupon worth that time? Looking for a great deal can take a lot of time and depending on what you’re purchasing, it may or may not be worth the effort.
So, do I actually save money by seeking to live the simple life? In the immediate season of life, probably not. My credit card bill actually looks higher sometimes, in fact. However, if I consider the long-term savings, and what I trade for that slightly higher upfront price, I think most of us actually would come out ahead. Time with family and friends is worth the cost of paying an expert to help with some tasks. The peace of mind and mental energy saved is worth every penny of a subscription service. The higher quality item is often worth the higher price tag if it means saving me another shopping trip, less waste, and a better consumer experience.
Is simplicity a cheap way to live? Not always… But, do I feel richer because of it? Most definitely!