When you realize that nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle as a young adult

By giving up almost everything, I have gained abundance. Focusing on what really matters has enabled me not to worry about acquiring things, or trying to impress other people. Putting my energy into creating meaning in my life has opened my mind to the true joys of the world.

Huangshan, China

In the past year, I have traveled through 23/50 of the United States. I have also traveled throughout China, Mexico, and Canada. I have no student debt and money saved up. Minimalism is the primary reason I have been able to do this.

Washington State

Because I am not focused on things, I am willing to keep in contact with family members and distant friends. These bonds allowed me to travel cheaply. Whether I slept on the couch, floor, or guest bedroom. It didn’t matter to me. A phone call and the cheapest plane ticket is all you need to set up a priceless experience.

Instead of buying things, I focused on excelling academically. This lead me to earn a full ride scholarship, plus $2000 a semester! Forty days in China cost me only $1800. People ask me, “how can you afford to travel.” The same people are the type of college kids to work relentlessly for $8/hour minus tax, only to let their grades slide. Scholarships are the easiest way to earn money as a student. Plus, without a job, I am able to work on projects that excite me. This is far more satisfying and educational, plus it will build my portfolio faster.

Grow the roots of your social network deep and wide.

Instead of buying things, I grow rich friendships. The same amount of money that can buy you something stupid on Amazon can easily go towards a camping spot at a beautiful national park, or a ticket at an art museum (most museums are free 18 and under). Being around the right people will make you truly happy, and will help you to grow as a person. Rather than impressing friends with the clothes that you’re wearing, impress them with your jokes and wit. Make plans frequently. Instead of going out to eat, find a meal that costs less than $10 and cook with them.

La Push, Washington State. Three day trip for $100

Instead of buying things, I buy stocks. It’s like shopping and saving money at the same time. I recommend the Robinhood app to anyone who is looking to get started. Over time I have been able to fund travel and expensive purchases with the money I have made from investing. Above all else, investing is an exciting way to save money. Instead of excess purchases at the mall, obtain assets that enable you to live your life without fear of going broke. Having a cushion of money while in college is the greatest. College is stressful enough, the least thing you want to worry about is money, when you should be focused on your classes and building knowledge. Investing while your young will also expose you to important practices about personal finance that can last a lifetime. I want to emphasize that money does not equal happiness, but frugality and wise investments will allow you to live abundantly.

Lastly, Minimalism has enabled me to buy things that boost my productivity and enable me to be more creative. I recently moved, and I had no problem fitting everything I own into a small-sized car. I am materialistic — I only buy things of the highest quality material. I can group all my possessions into two categories.

The Essentials

Clothes

Toiletries

Backpack

Laptop

Phone

Daily Planner

Notebook

Earbuds

Water bottle

Shoes

The Auxiliary

Desktop

Guitar

Kindle

TV

Bluetooth speaker

Studio headphones

French press for coffee and tea

Cooking tools

Suits, dress shirts, leather shoes, and sweaters

That’s it.

As a young adult, it is the best time to adopt minimalism. You need nothing, and you probably don’t have much excess money to spend anyways. Practice gratitude for what you have, and donate what you do not need.

Thank you for reading. Please leave feedback, as this is my first article. I hope to share more in the future!

— N. Speer

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