Why are so many Millennials choosing Minimalism?

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“Millennials” has become quite a buzzword over recent years. I’m sure you’ve heard the term thrown around often – accompanied with several misjudgments including, (but surely not limited to) entitlement, self-absorption, and laziness. As a millennial (also known as Generation Y), I find this generalization absolutely disheartening. Some of the best people in my life are millennials. They’re beautifully selfless, giving, and hard-working individuals. These are the same people working long hours for low wages – who work 2-3 jobs just to feed themselves. Some cannot even afford a roof. Consider the fact that I have more friends who have been homeless than have not. Most of my peers have been or are undereducated, underemployed, or living below the poverty line. Most of which is simply a direct consequence of the Great Recession of 2008 – which is, in fact, the year I, and my graduating class, turned 18 and became adults.

Luckily for me, I was able to get a quality education from a top-rated university in New York City. It opened doors for me that eventually lead to me publishing my first novel, along with many new and exciting experiences that followed. However, even with receiving college funding from loved ones, as well as through government financial assistance, I found myself in debt, underemployed, and living far under the poverty line shortly after graduation. The job market seems to become more and more rigorous each day as the cost of living continued to skyrocket. I found myself clipping coupons and washing clothes in the tub (because going to a laundromat was just too far out of our budget).

I remember being in college and not being able to afford textbooks. Today, I can gladly say that I know how to order international edition textbooks for a 1/10 of the price (now legal in the U.S.) – that’s after digging for a PDF copy online.

Perhaps it started earlier than that – when I accompanied my Grandpa – we sorted through public trash cans, picking up recyclables to trade in for cash. Because that’s $10.

In truth, it was my economic reality that truly drove me towards a minimalist lifestyle. And, sure, you could say it was not a choice. In fact, last time I checked, you needed money to participate in materialism and that we did not have.

Does the principle of minimalism bring me joy? Very much so. Not contributing thoughtlessly towards capitalism does bring me joy. Giving, borrowing, and sharing with peers gives me joy. Supporting ethical and sustainable businesses give me joy. Investing in experiences give me joy. And, I think this is also what gives many other Millenials joy.

The worst recession since the Great Depression

Well, we all know the economy is shit. I know. You know. Your Mom knows. How many times have I had a friend reach out to me, discouraged over the job market, at their wit’s end, and I, without a doubt, respond with, “I know it sucks – the economy is shit.” Well, it is. We don’t make enough to live – no one does. My best friend, a single Mom living alone with her daughter, lives in one of the most “affordable” states in the U.S. (Alabama) and she barely makes enough to survive. She is probably experiencing the best case scenario, and even the best case is kind of terrible. Why is that? Well, that’s because we’re still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression.¬†

Mental Illness

Mental illness is incredibly common among Millenials with nearly 20% of them living with clinical depression and 12% with anxiety disorder. The cause? Stress. More specifically, financial stress and economic instability. After experiencing a late-term miscarriage in 2013, I found myself struggling with depression for several years. Thankfully, I was able to obtain the resources and healthcare I needed to take care of myself. Unfortunately, many millennials find themselves working for employers that do not provide healthcare and often end up going uninsured.

Capitalist Opposition

Many millennials feel strongly against corporate businesses and their capitalistic nature. They spend a lot less buying cheap and poorly made products from big box companies, and instead, opt in for local businesses. This leaves many retail businesses in worry as more and more millennials are not invested and severely uninterested in the experience of shopping.

Experience Investment

One of the core principles of minimalism is the investment in experiences instead of possessions. Millenials are also postponing marriage and growing their family in exchange for experiences with travel. They’re also uninterested in settling down (in one spot), which directly affects their interest in home ownership.

I sympathize strongly with my peers, and at the same time, I praise their positive, selfless and hard-working nature. They’re dangerously smart, incredibly clever, so very loving, and they are paving the way towards our future. They’re engaged in social and political affairs with the largest voter turnout in history. They’re some of my best friends, and I root for them each and every day.

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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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I’m a work-in-progress minimalist,

living in an incredibly materialistic-consumerist world.

Who am I? We’ll let’s see – I’m also a penniless writer, knowledge-seeking, liberal millennial.

Well, mostly. I leave the cake and video game addiction out of most conversations. ūüėõ

So, I’ve had this blog for a little over 6 months, and in a way, I find that it is starving for a personal touch. I haven’t shared much about who I am and what I’m up to when I’m not counting the contents of my wallet.

Well friends, like most bloggers, I’m just a writer.

Writers seek to share experiences with others – both in way to connect, and as a way to serve others. I write for both. I like to think every word I put out into the world is a magnet. I’m pushing ideas out of my brain and into yours. I am attracting other like-minded individuals towards me.

What kind of stuff do I write? In the past I’ve written short-fiction, personal essays, novelettes, dramas (plays), research, critiques, literary reviews, among many other types of pieces. Currently, I have several work-in-progress projects including text-adventure/interactive fiction text-based games, radio drama, and translations.

I am also very passionate about access to high-quality education, unbiased journalism, and building a informed society. I think our power is in what we know. Without this, we cannot make informed decisions in our day-to-day lives, ultimately, preventing us from improving our quality of life. We are not truly free until we’re given the necessary tools to think for ourselves.

Becoming detached from material possessions, and being a mindful spender, is equally about my family’s economic survival as well as a revolutionary act. More stuff = less money. More stuff = more trash. More stuff = more poor working conditions. More stuff = less space. More stuff = more cleaning. More stuff = more stress. That’s my spin on minimalism. What’s yours?

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Peapod Grocery Haul – $28.09 Per Week Budget/Meal Plan

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I can’t even begin to explain how much I am loving Peapod right now, and how much of a bargain it has been for me and my family. When it comes to feeding myself and my husband healthy and wholesome meals (for the most part ūüėõ ) for very little money, this really is where it’s at.

So, just to start, I’d like to let you know that my order came out to over $100. About $20 of those dollars went to household items such as toilet paper, dish soap, and cat food to last the month. The rest? Food for nearly 3 weeks.

It could last a bit longer depending on how much we actually end up eating on a day-to-day basis. We also aren’t quite at bare fridge/freezer yet. We have a 3-4 days, if not more of meat in the freezer. We also have frozen vegetables, and leftovers in the fridge. Regardless, I calculated this food plan for 21 days.

I’d like to also throw it out there that I will probably be going to the street markets once a week and spending a few more dollars on fresh fruit for snacking and smoothies. I might also pick up some rice. I also took it upon myself to “shop the pantry”, therefore there are some items I will be cooking with over the next 3 weeks that I already have at home.

Though my meal plan is still sort of a rough draft, this is what I have in the works right now:

Breakfast:

  • Waffles
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal (in pantry)
  • Smoothies

Lunches:

  • Sandwiches
  • Smoothies
  • Leftovers

Dinners:

  • Italian sausage, Peppers, and Potato Bake x3
  • Spaghetti & Meat Sauce x3
  • Beef Stew x2
  • Teriyaki Chicken x3
  • Spanish Chicken Stew x2
  • Classic Roast Chicken x3
  • Tacos x2
  • Chili x2
  • Oven-baked Fish Fillets x3

The idea behind this meal plan, (and for the most part, all of my meal plans), is buying and cooking in bulk and eating leftovers for 2-3 consecutive dinners. It is also using the same ingredients, with different seasonings, for many different dishes. Stews are very inexpensive to cook and it makes a TON!  The stews, as well as the Italian sausage bake will all incorporate the same vegetables. Chili and tacos are both very low-cost, especially if you buy your beans dry and cook them in bulk for the week. (However, this week, I did buy them canned because they were less than 60 cents a can.) The fish fillets are indeed frozen Рvalue size bag of 12 for $3! Teriyaki chicken is very low-cost and simple as well. It only calls for (the cheapest cuts you can find) chicken, soy sauce, sugar, and a few fresh ingredients such as garlic and ginger which I keep on hand.

This is really handy for families who have differing work schedules and don’t spend a lot of time at home during meal time. It not only saves time and money, but when it comes to soups, stews, and chili, it really does get better the longer it cooks and the more times it is reheated on the stove.

I honestly really enjoy the process of cooking, but I realize that a lot of people just don’t have the time/don’t want to invest the time in cooking when they could be investing that time in doing something else (leisure activities, for example). I’d rather be spending my free time playing video games than cooking and cleaning! No lies here!

 

 

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Reminder: Check A-L-L Grocery Catalogs!

 

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When I load up my Flipp app, there are literally hundreds of catalogs that pop up. On a regular day (or week), I usually don’t bother looking at any of the catalogs for stores that I don’t frequent. To be honest, I am probably missing out on deals I’m not even aware of. In truth, it is kind of a pain to skim through tons of catalogs, but in the long run, you do save money. Effort always pays off.

 

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Minimalist in Manhattan Update

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Hey gang,

Summer is officially here! What does that mean? Seasonal fruits popping up at your grocery stores, BBQ-ing, and outings with family and friends to local parks and beaches, among many other things. I’ve noticed some very obvious changes in sales at our local grocery store that has somewhat made budgeting difficult over the last few weeks. Aside from eggs and cold cuts (such as hotdogs), everything has been insanely over priced!

Before I meal plan for the week, I’m going to check out all the catalogs for nearby grocery stores that I don’t usually shop at to see if prices are any better.

Anyone else experiencing a spike in prices?

-Jocelyn

 

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Frugal Tips – Shop Your Pantry!

Today was a great example as to why it is important to shop your pantry before going out to buy something else.  Let me explain.

This morning my husband woke me with news that there was an error alert on my desktop screen. Of course Luna (my cat) decided to sleep on my keyboard last night. She somehow  managed to manually reset my computer! (LOL) I was not surprised; this is definitely a Luna thing. She has turned off our Xbox One with her tail, as well as reset the internet Рquite the trouble maker! Unfortunately, I spent the remainder of the day getting my laptop back in working order!

Anyhow, all of this had me completely forgetting that I had the Peapod delivery set for this afternoon! I missed 3 calls from Peapod¬†while focusing on my laptop fiasco¬†– one that they were in the neighborhood, another when they arrived, and a last one that¬†notified me of¬†out-of-stock items that did not make it in my delivery.¬†It is one of my favorite features about Peapod, yet the alert only works if you pay attention to your phone…

So, as you can imagine, I was completely thrown off from my meal plan I had put together for the next few weeks. Instead of going out to the store to pick up those missing items, we decided it would make more sense money-wise to first see what we had in our pantry.

A lot of the time we think¬†there is nothing to eat in our homes, but in reality, we have food – we just don’t really want to eat it – or don’t know what to eat it with, how to prepare it, ect.

This is a great time¬†to get creative and/or to check out some recipes online.¬†Tomorrow we plan to do just that! I’ll¬†keep you folks posted¬†on how well we improvise with what we already¬†have at home!

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Easter Haul: Staying Conscious In The Mist Of a Sale

When I go shopping, I always ask myself – will I wear this regularly? Even more importantly, I ask myself – what will I wear this with? Even if I love this piece of clothing, this shade of lipstick, or this pair of earrings, if I can’t foresee myself wearing this item right now -I won’t buy it. I only buy something because I love it.

Just because I have a gift card, doesn’t mean I should buy it. Just because it’s dirt cheap, doesn’t mean I should buy it. Today was a great example of this conflict. I have been doing quite a bit of shopping lately and I’m starting to notice¬†how much consumerism can¬†bother me. Spending money makes me feel guilty.¬†Have you ever felt this way?

I admit, I’ve been stressed down to my bones due to life’s usual ups and downs, and retail therapy – wearing something new, really brightens my day!

Truly¬†– minimalist or not, you should not feel guilty about treating yourself to something you love. Every once and a while, buy yourself something you love. It is a form of self-love. When we dress ourselves, we are loving ourselves and expressing ourselves too. When I wear a colorful floral top, or a bright shade of pink lipstick, I’m saying – hey! you know what? today I’m going to have a bright and colorful day.

Before I get anymore philosophical on ya –

Here is what I managed to snag off several $5 and $7 clearance racks!

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Floral print “swing” tops by Ambiance Apparel from Rainbow Shops, NYC.¬†
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Thick marble open-front cardigan (mid arm length) Рbrand unsure, Velvet elephant print (hippie, bohemian) wide-leg yoga pants by Hot Kiss. Super soft denim jeggings by Sapphire Red.
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Copy-cat perfume/body spray of Carolina Herrera fragrance.

 

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Budget Planner Addict – That’s Me!

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Organization, planners, and bullet-journals are becoming such a fad. And, I can understand why. When you’re organized, you get a lot more stuff done. For those who procrastinate a lot, like myself, having a planner prevents you from putting things off when you don’t want to do them.

My New Year’s Resolution to get organized has turned into a small scale obsession. Now, I don’t know how I can get anything done without my planner. I plan my entire life in this thing: appointments, work days, pay days, everything pertaining to this¬†blog, hobbies such as gaming and writing, money, budgeting, shopping lists, meal plans, cleaning schedules, misc. goals and projects – everything and everything goes into my planner. My whole life is in this thing and without it, it would be chaos and things would not get done – or at the very least, not as efficiently as they could get done. Does that sound a little nutty to you guys?

A lot of people assume getting organized needs to be expensive – but that’s hardly the case. I have spent less than $10 on all of my planner accessories, including the planner itself. It can be done on the cheap. Bullet journals can be custom made with a simple $1 composition book. Pens, stickers, tape, markers, highlighters, post-it notes ect. can be all bought from 99 cent stores. I bought all my cute accessories from Wish.com! They have tons of very affordable stationary accessories!

I live in a small space, and things can become cluttered and messy quickly without organization. I have papers, cosmetics, accessories, pens, ect. just scattered around my desk and in the living-room because I haven’t really invested in any kind of organization. I’m still in the process of getting rid of the clutter. Heck – we don’t even really have furniture. So far, I’ve picked up a pencil container to store all my stationary and school supplies.

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Then I realized that a large plastic pencil case from the dollar store can also organize just about anything else that is small Рjewelry, make up, nail polish, ect. I can probably also find a filing folder or binder at the dollar store for mail and misc. papers. Your neighborhood dollar or discount stores will more than likely have tons of baskets, bins, canvas boxes, crafting containers, and so on to help you get organized as well!

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Hollar.com Haul – Unboxing & Review

Hey gang!

So, after waiting in line for an hour at the post office, I finally got my Hollar package in hand!

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Everything looks great except these earrings, which are chipped in the skull and crossbones:

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All the pens have smooth ink, and nothing is damaged or opened. The only other thing to note is the the kitten stickers are raised (puffy). The red crochet scarf with a rose is missing from the photo. It is very thick and warm and the detail is impressive. I’ll get a picture of it up on the blog soon!¬†Click here to get $2 off your order!

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