The minimalist trend is booming these days — and for good reason. There’s something to be said for prioritizing quality over quantity. However, the sense of competition that comes along with this trend is not so favourable. So, before I move on with this post, let’s forgo the concept of judging anyone who is “not minimalist enough,” or owns “too many things” to be considered a minimalist. It’s all about perspective, and the word can mean different things for different people — it’s the overall mindset that’s important.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the real point of this piece. We’re here to talk about the important purchases we all make in life, minimalist or not.
Taking the time to really think over your purchases and investing in high-quality goods means your possessions will last longer and mean more. This is a lesson I (along with many others) glazed over in my early 20s. This was before travel and living abroad taught me the pains of dragging around a lot of possessions that I didn’t really care about (and were garbage quality to be honest). Many moves over the years, and starting over in terms of countries, cities, and apartments, have taught me what purchases really matter and deserve their portion of your savings.
Travelling has been the most valuable thing to me in my life. It’s taught me more than I can ever explain here. That includes a whole lot of budget planning, problem-solving, compassion, and adaptability. I first moved abroad with $1000 in my bank account after finishing university. Since then, I’ve always prioritized saving for travel experiences, whether that means a week in Iceland or a month in Ecuador.
Whether your experiences are good or bad (I assure you, at some point you will have both), they are shaping you into a well-rounded and adaptable adult with the ability to understand and take many different perspectives on the world. These are qualities that you will appreciate having for the rest of your life and that will help you push through the tough times that we all face eventually.
A Good Laptop
As a young person in this day and age, you likely rely on a computer and the internet to some degree. It can be tempting to buy cheap when you’re used to scrimping and saving, especially when you’re just getting used to making some of these bigger purchases. But, that can be a mistake.
A good laptop should last you a minimum of 3-5 years, depending on care and use. With that said, I know those who buy new laptops on an almost yearly basis because they either cheaped out to begin with or simply didn’t get what they wanted in the first place. If your computer doesn’t meet your needs to begin with and you replace it during its usable lifetime, you need to reevaluate your purchasing decisions.
Buying my current laptop second-hand allowed me to get the one I really wanted without paying the full retail price. At three years old, it still runs like new and is still exactly what I want. However, keep in mind that buying electronics second hand can be a bit risky, so do your research first.
You know the importance of sleep, but you likely still underestimate just how much having a good quality mattress, pillows, and bedding can improve your sleep quality (and quality of life).
This is one of those areas where skimping in the beginning will hurt you down the road, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to break the bank. Take your time, do your research, and don’t immediately rush to the cheapest option when buying things like mattresses and pillows. These are things you will use every day for a prolonged period of time (mattresses in particular, of course), and buying low quality will come back to haunt you every day. Get it right early on and you will be rewarded every morning that you wake up well-rested.
Learning to cook, and specifically learning to enjoy cooking, is one of the best things you can do as a young adult. Investing money in quality cookware can drastically improve how you view the experience of cooking and preparing your own food. It makes the process easier and the end result more consistent.
Yes, cookware can be expensive, but the motivation to cook more for yourself will help you save money in the long term. As an added benefit, getting interested in quality over quantity may even lead to improvements in your health as you begin to appreciate simple and fresh flavours and ingredients.
Fitness and/or Sporting Equipment or Memberships
I know I just said a very similar thing about cooking above, but finding a fitness activity or sport that you love is another hugely important thing you should do as a young adult. Once you do find that thing you love to do, invest in it, commit to it, advance your skill in it. If you haven’t found it yet, the best thing you can do is try a lot of different things (give each one a couple of chances — you can’t always trust the first experience) until something sticks.
For years, I used a $20 yoga mat from Walmart. Then, for my last birthday, I was gifted a beautiful and high-quality Manduka mat that quickly became one of my favourite possessions. I definitely thought my old mat did the job when I used it, but having a good-quality mat has definitely given me the motivation to truly commit to my practice. I’ve advanced far more than I ever would have expected in these last months.
Learning to love physical activity goes beyond the physical benefits — seeing your improvement gives you motivation and confidence. You can do this at any point in your life of course, but down the road you’ll always thank yourself for starting now.
What important purchases would you add to this list?