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Frugality vs Minimalism

Frugality vs Minimalism: Which concept is better for your finances? Many personal finance gurus and influencers talk a lot about both frugality and minimalism as a way to save money. That money you save can be used to pay off debt or build your emergency fund! While the goal of both is to improve your financial life, the method behind each is slightly different. If you are trying to adjust your budget and are considering either of these two methods, read on for American Consumer Credit Counseling’s outline of frugality vs minimalism! 

Frugality vs minimalism - they're two different things.

Frugality vs minimalism – they’re two different things.


First off, what does frugality really mean anyway? Frugality is all about finding the lowest cost option. Consumers who embrace frugality are the type of people who rarely pay full price for anything. They use coupons, shop sale and clearance items, and buy many of their clothes and household items at thrift shops. Frugal people are expert bargain hunters! They are likely able to stick to tight budgets because they can always find deals and low cost items they need.

The downside of frugality is that the cheapest option isn’t always a high quality option. For example, buying the cheapest household appliances might save you money in the short-term, but if they break easily and you constantly have to replace them, it’s more expensive. That can slow down your debt management progress. 


Minimalism, on the other hand, isn’t about always finding the cheapest option. In a society driven by extreme consumerism, minimalism is about living with less. When you live a minimalist lifestyle, you don’t need material possessions to define your success. While the items you do have might not be the cheapest, you’re still saving money because you aren’t spending money on anything unnecessary. This is similar to the KonMari Method, made popular by Marie Kondo. Minimalists don’t have overflowing closets or cluttered living spaces. They aim to combat mindless consumption and save money because of it.

The disadvantage some consumers find with minimalism is it may leave them feeling like they don’t have enough. It can feel constricting to only buy the necessities and never splurge on things you want.

Frugality vs Minimalism: Which is better?

While both frugality and minimalism have the same end goal (saving money), is one better than the other? Not necessarily. It depends on your lifestyle and financial goals. It also doesn’t have to be “frugality vs minimalism,” because you can use a combination of the two! You don’t have to hardcore commit to one or the other. Taking either to the extreme would be difficult for anyone, but that doesn’t mean either method is bad. Incorporating aspects of both ideas into your life can be helpful. Look for deals and clip coupons, but don’t sacrifice quality on the things you use a lot! Also, don’t buy anything in excess, but if you want to splurge on something every now and then, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure that splurge is in your budget first!

If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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