BLOGMAS Day #2 // Hallmark Holiday

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Christmas, once a sacred holy day, and arguably an ancient pagan tradition, may now seem like nothing more than a Hallmark Holiday. This is nothing short of the hard truth.

Hallmark holiday” is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe a holiday that is perceived to exist primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a traditionally or historically significant event. (wikipedia.org)

However, even the commercialized, capitalistic, consumerist nature of my FAVORITE holiday is STILL founded on what I would consider good moral values. Heck, I’ll say it – I’m not even religious!

Trying to steer clear of *controversial topics here* *obviously that ship sailed 3 paragraphs ago* 

Despite this fact, I have humanist values that go hand-in-hand with the meaning of Christmas; which is altruism, humanitarianism, and social consciousness. Yes, we *do* throw mountains of money at big corporations during this time of year, but we often do it for others in the form of gift-giving. Although my goals are minimalist-focused, I recognize that a lot of the money spent by others during the holidays is meant well and often unselfish.

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I’m keeping today’s Blogmas post short and sweet (because I clearly over-wrote yesterday. LOL.) This is more of a conversation opener – an invitation for discussion. I’m genuinely curious about what you folks think! What are your thoughts on the consumerist nature of Christmas and how does that effect (or not even a little bit) how you spend the holidays?

Wanna read another Blogmas post? You can find them all here.

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Why You Should Stop Buying Cheap Clothes

I’d say my absolute biggest challenges is to stop buying cheap clothes – cheap merchandise in general. Of course, most of us don’t do it out of choice (I sure don’t – I’m poor, not picky!), we do it because that’s what we can afford and that is what is available. However, we do suffer a lot in the long run by continuously buying cheaply made stuff. (Similarly has been said about convenience meals, fast food, and other “junk” that is disguised as affordable, but really isn’t. I will get more into that in another post, though.) One thing to keep in mind is that cheap stuff usually = cheap labor. Buying from Walmart, for example, isn’t helping your local economy. We support our communities a lot more by buying local, buying fresh, and buying home-made.

On top of that, buying cheap also means you produce a lot more trash = overall hurting the environment. Cheap clothing will wear and break very fast. They get throw out at quicker rates, filling our landfills faster. Majority of the time, instead of repair, we often toss it, and buy another cheap replacement.

Many have also argued that buying well-made, sturdy products saves us money in the long run, and for the most part, it does. The problem is usually the initial investment. I’d love to spend $100 on a winter coat that will last me several years. However, I do not have $100.. I still need a coat. That’s the dilemma. For most of us, it’s about finding that middle ground. For most of us, it’s about going that extra mile, and doing our homework – meeting somewhere in the middle.

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Minimalism Meets Frugality: A Match Made in Heaven for New Yorkers

It is easy to confuse minimalism with frugality. Though minimalism and frugality stand for completely different things, they have a similar goal – which is to not overspend.

The name of my blog is “Minimalism in Manhattan” because I most identify with the idea of detaching from material possessions, financial pressure, and only making purchases that are valuable to me, as well as enhance my quality of life. I don’t buy stuff just because they are cheap.

Last time I went shopping, I went specifically to buy basic thermals and long sleeve tee’s for layering under my coat and to wear at home. Instead of raiding the clearance racks for absolutely everything else, I left empty handed. I don’t buy just because I can.

What makes minimalism so ideal for those living in metro areas is the fact that we don’t have a lot of space. I live in a small 800 sq apartment. Truth is, I don’t have the space to accumulate clutter.

That is what minimalism means to me, however, I also live a frugal lifestyle.

Not necessarily out of choice – in fact, I lead my life with frugality in mind because I don’t have the financial freedom not to.  This is a common reality for millions of Americans. Income inequality and the rising poverty line is a real problem here in the states. But alas, the system isn’t going to fix itself overnight.

In the meantime, there are ways to elevate some of that financial pressure by living a minimalist lifestyle with frugality in mind.

So, what does that exactly entail?

  • Buy affordable, not cheap. Cheap = poor quality. Affordable means within your budget. Can’t afford to purchase a product of quality? Then you save, coupon, and wait. You DO NOT buy the crap instead. Of course, this is situational, and a lot of the time a learning experience. Above all else, your purchase is geared to your specific needs. Spend just enough to meet your needs. Nothing more. Spend with reason.
  • Invest in hobbies. Investing in hobbies is a great way to enhance your quality of life, encourage productivity, and plant seeds of happiness. Do things. Make memories. Have experiences. The only hobby that is off limits is hoarding collectibles and memorabilia…for obvious reasons.
  • De-clutter and get rid of excess. Contrary to what you might think, you really don’t need 10 of everything. Do not stock pile anything that isn’t a basic need. What are basic needs? Beyond food and water, there really aren’t too many basic needs. There is nothing wrong with stocking your pantry, but don’t hold on to foods you haven’t touched in a long time. Face the reality that you will probably never eat that bag of red quinoa.  Stock piling toilet paper, dish soap and shampoo is also reasonable.
  • Do not own more than what you need or can use. This is pretty self explanatory – if it doesn’t work, throw it out. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it.

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Do you folks have any suggestions to live a minimalist or frugal life? Let us know in the comments!

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