Buying Less Stuff Leads To More Cherished Memories

Being frugal with our spending habits doesn’t mean we’re cheap. In fact, it’s by being intentional about the material things we buy that we can experience more. Buying less and traveling more is something I practice.

Photo by Dan Erickson

I keep my home pretty minimal. I have a small house with sparse furnishings and decor. And I buy old refurbished items when I can. My yard is small and simple.

This allows me to spend my money in other ways. Saving and investing are good options, but travel is another great benefit of living a minimalist lifestyle. Buying less can take you places. 

Oh, The Places You Can Go

I have an 12-year-old daughter, Annie. I want her to excel.

Annie: Photo by Deccio Creative

Perhaps I’ve spoiled her a little, but I want her to have some experiences that I was not allowed. You see, I was raised in a cult and was restricted from doing much of anything other than work as a kid. You can learn more about that at

By keeping my home expenses low and buying less stuff, I’ve been able to give Annie many experiences. She’s been able to become a good swimmer through early lessons. Musically, she is learning to play the piano and the oboe. She’s also taken several years of karate and sailing lessons. And she’s had the opportunity to travel to many places around the United States. 

Philadelphia & New York City

When Annie was eight, we took a trip to visit my aunt in New Jersey. On that trip, Annie got to do a walking tour of Philadelphia, see the Liberty Bell, and eat an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. The next day we got to visit New York City where we went to The Statue of Liberty and visited the 911 Memorial

Not only were these fun activities, they were also educational. Living a simple lifestyle can allow you the opportunity to save money and use it for family experiences. 

Kansas City & St. Louis

When my daughter was nine years old, we went to visit a friend in Missouri. She was able to go to art museums and a concert in Kansas City. In St. Louis, we went to the zoo, the science center, a Cardinals’ game, and of course, the St. Louis Arch.

I wouldn’t have had the money for this trip if I hadn’t practiced buying less throughout the year.


Just before Christmas last year, I took 11-year-old Annie on a road trip to SanFrancisco. We traveled down Highway 101 and spent two days in the city. We were able to spend time in Golden Gate Park and ride the trolleys around town. 

There have been many other trips over the years: Glacier National Park, Phoenix, Mt. Rainier, Seattle, Olympic National Park, and more. 

Photo by Dan Erickson

Buying Less: Memories Are Made Of These

I could spend more money on expensive couches and faster cars. I could buy a bigger house and have a bigger mortgage. Or I could buy myself and Annie more clothes. But at what cost? The cost of living more extravagantly wouldn’t allow me the freedom to create such wonderful memories for my daughter.

When people are on their deathbeds, they don’t say, “I wish I would have bought a nicer house.” They say, “I wish I would have spent more time with the ones I love.” 

And so it is with minimalism. We can live our daily lives in such a way that we have more time and money to create cherished memories with our families. 

Think about it. If you’d like to create more experiences for your loved ones, spend an hour considering how you can simplify the way you live. Consider buying less stuff. When you cut a few expenses from your monthly budget, you can save a little to create the memories of a lifetime.

Dan Erickson


James Ewen
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