Think, breath, spend - It could help you long term!
Early last year, I purchased three pairs of jeans because I had worn through my previous pairs. These new jeans included fancy activeflex technology, which enhance comfort and longevity. Something you should know about me is that I love wearing jeans. Although I have some slacks, I have denim on 98% of the time. With that said, I vivaciously purchased three pairs, a dark, a midtone, and an acid wash, at about $40 each from a prominent jean company, with hopes that they would last for the long haul.
As I sit writing now, the midtone pair with the “long lasting” label sewn in, has been sitting somewhere in a landfill for about 3 months now, with the least wear, due to a tear in the leg. The acid wash pair is getting a tad drafty between the legs, with the dark wash not so far behind. Also note, I have washed these jeans likely a mere three times to reduce wear and tear and preserve colour.
Next to regularly buying new pairs, having to pitch my denims that I fall in love with over the course of a year is quite frustrating. Of course, as a minimalist, I shouldn’t be placing such importance on an object, but when these objects are on and they make me look and feel great, I can’t help but to feel a bit disappointed when a tear tears us apart. So what is one to do? And what does my denim life have to do with minimalism and finances?
With some research on reddit and a mediocre google search, I have deduced that investing in an expensive pair of jeans, or three, might be my best bet. However, the issue is that shelling out upwards or over $100 per pair is stiff, especially if I’m in the market for more than one pair.
Let’s take a second to zoom out here and consider these circumstances. I am looking to make an investment on something that will not give me financial returns (aka a liability, or expense), and it has a large upfront cost. So how can I justify this purchase which meets my financial and minimalist values?
If we consider that one pair of jeans was $40 and lasted a year, then to make the purchase worth my while, if I spend $100, the quality of the jeans should last me at least 2.5 years. Given my mediocre research, some folks were saying their more expensive pairs often lasted five years, or sometimes more. Now if this were true, one pair at $100 would be much better than $200 over five years. Not to mention, that would be four less pairs of jeans in landfills, four less times walking around the mall trying to find the perfect new pair, four less denim disappointments… you get the idea.
So the next question that pops up is “where do I get the money to make this purchase?” Minimalism plays a key role in this. I am a major fan of the need/want/like system for budgeting. For me, this is where my financial magic happens. When I need to make a big purchase, I look at my budget or throw together a quick one, and look at what likes, aka the icings on the cake of my financial life, which can be scraped off or reapplied easily, to see where I can make room for a new purchase. (If you’re interested in learning about budgeting, check out my new video here.
Furthermore, this is why it is useful to have a nest egg, or a little pile of accessible cash in case a major purchase is needed, like after you jump in a pool with a phone in your pocket (guilty!). On that note, if you buy a phone outright, rather than on a contract plan, you’ll save a good chunk of cash! The same goes for buying in bulk, although it may be a lot of cash up front, over the long-term you could save money. Bear in mind bulk buying is best for items that have a use, like food or paper towel.
In this weird and whacky account of denim anecdotes and cake metaphors, I simply want to show that sometimes it seems daunting and expensive to buy the better version of something or generally make a large purchase. However, if you take a moment to consider the long-term advantages, you just might find yourself ahead…. in a five-year-old pair of jeans.
For more and other minimalists finance, you can find me at Facebook at Austin Silvan