Three Mental Models to spend (waste) less – Frugalism, Minimalism and Valuism

I started Project FIRE40 with an ambitious goal of going from unsecured (lifestyle) debt to financially independent in a rapid four years. It’s ambitious and I think realistically, I’ll miss by a year, perhaps two. Which will still be a great result.

I see the downside potential as small. In fact I think the traditional path of targeting 65 is extremely risky. The other side of this is that so much of this journey is not about money, it’s about growth, it’s about finding value, being content with less things and more time.

In my exploration into the world of FI, I have discovered three mental models which I will continue to cultivate. They can be overlapping and are not mutually exclusive. But I think they are more about individual order of preference than exclusivity, with one more likely to feel familiar and comfortable than the others.

Frugalism Questions – Can I get it cheaper? What else could I use that money for?
• Minimalism Questions – Can I do without it? Can it have multiple-purposes?
• Valuism Questions – What gives me the best value? What the best deal that I can get?

The questions are of course, a dramatic oversimplification and a heuristic of what people have written entire blogs and (even) books on. But they help to get the point across.

Some people think of categorizing themselves in one bucket. I prefer to think of them as lenses we are looking through, mental models where one may be (slightly) more dominating. For most targeting FI, it’s probably more about the order, than fitting neatly into one bucket.

I would hardly call myself a minimalist. But I hate clutter and when walking through shops, all I see is more stuff to clutter my mental space. Which probably means that that my order of preference in terms of the key questions:
• Can I do without it? – then;
• What gives me the best value? – then;
• Can I get it cheaper?

So minimalism, then valuism, then frugalism. Which is probably why I need to develop my frugal mental model the most.

What is your order of preference?

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply