Car is not for minimalist?

I have a minimalist and frugal lifestyle. I don’t like having too much stuff around the house, I always look for the best deals, I cut my own hair, I cook my own meals, I only buy things that I really need and so on.

I’ve only had two cars in the last 20 years (including the one I have now). I don’t change them often, but when I do, I want to get a nice one. I’m not thinking of getting a new car soon, but (unfortunately) I’m looking for something in the 50-60k range. Is that bad, or can I make an exception for this? What do you think? :slight_smile:

5k a year is not a big deal in the scheme of things.

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Have you calculated the expense difference* to a more frugal car (small, simple reliable engine, non-luxury brand, no fancy mostly unnecessary add-ons)?
How much is this difference in CHF per month, over 10 years?
Don’t forget that you can invest and grow the difference too.
Or plan to do something else with the difference, and maybe you will find something that makes you happier for this same amount.

Is it worth it to you?

*expenses = don’t forget that’s acquisition, insurance, taxes, repairs and service, tyres, etc etc. Many car-owners just compare the price paid (see @PhilMongoose above for example :wink:) and are happy with their “nice car”, which is fine. Me, I’m more critical to this line of thinking, sold my “last car” about 15 years ago. Haven’t looked back since, and have become quite anti-car (this as a disclaimer at the same time :blush:)


I think FIRE people get too much tunnel vision with saving. In the end, life is to be enjoyed and if for somebody that means having a nice car, then they should go ahead and do that without feeling guilty.


Have you calculated how many more years it will take to achieve FI if you drive 60k cars during your lifetime vs. the alternative option?

If so and the number is acceptable to you then you have your answer.

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If it brings you joy and value to life, I see nothing wrong with it.
Given that you are frugal over other things, I assume you have a good sense of “what it’s worth” to you.


Good point.
I’m still at the early stage. Just trying to find the right car with all the variables, it will take a lot of time. I want also to be prepared in case my 10 years car starts to have issues and then all of the sudden I need to change it in a short amount of time.

This in general is what is stopping me to do expensive things.
That’s why (most probably) I have just a few things that cost a lot compare to the rest, and I feel like all I do is work and study about finance for the last few years, but if I buy ie an expensive car, I will be in this situation for longer

I’m trying to figure out if it will make me happy or it’s just a possible escape or a projection in the future of something that I may thing it can make me happy

Sure :slight_smile:

I think it’s great if you don’t use it much and you found a way to overcome things like how to go easily in vacation or carry heavy stuff.

By the way I work mainly from home, so I do only 9-10k km/year

Most of the time I think the same, but probably it’s too late for me and I cannot be saved :slight_smile:
and that’s why I “waste” a lot of time in this kind of decisions.

I didn’t do it yet, just because then I’m sure I won’t buy anything. So just dreaming a bit.
In addition related to this, there is a way bigger topic, that is related to the economy. If we are going to face 10 years flat, all the FI numbers are not going the mean anything.

I think this is anyway a good critical thinking.

Pretty much I’m fighting with this feeling (and others)

Let’s say a car costs 700 CHF per month (a new one will for sure cost more).
You will have 8’400 CHF per year to spend on car renting, delivery and taxi service.
I did the math and am happily car-less for the last 2 years and saved a ton of money in the process.
On top of it, you will never have to decide again whether to take the car or public transport. :slight_smile:


I was wondering about this as well, thanks to bringing this up.
How do you get to the rental car if transportation are not convenient ? How about grocery (if I don’t have car, I cannot cross the border and save around 7k/year, unless every week you rent a car, that you need it anyway even if the supermarket is 2km away)? What about the time to spend to overcome those situations?


This will depend hugely on your situation.

Apart from a train station and supermarket nearby, I have 10 Mobility cars about 10mins away.

7k/year sounds massive. Does that take into account, that it costs you about 0.70 CHF/km to get to the supermarket abroad?

How about only going 1-2x per month and buying missing stuff in Switzerland?


then I agree it’s completely different.

It’s pretty easy, I spend half for good quality food. Of course if you go always to Lidl the difference will be smaller, but save money also on food, it’s too much IMO considering that I never go to the restaurant.

0.70 I think it’s quite a lot, anyway the border is 8km far away from where I live.

ok but I would need anyway a car

I have the same curse but working on it. I don’t want to waste all my life on useless analysis and die with nothing to show for it but a large bank balance.

You can pretty much do everything with a bike. Plus it is great exercise.


…that apparently includes a secondary/holiday home abroad (which you’re hardly using by your own admission).

I think it does not fit a minimalist and frugal lifestyle.
But you may want to spend that much nonetheless.

Luxury purchases often make you happy for a couple of days or weeks - after which your happiness will revert to your previous level.

Even if groceries in Italy cost half as much as in Switzerland - would you be spending 14’000 a year in Switzerland?


“Bad” is a moral statement. Only you know what is behind the minimalist label in your vision and what it is worth to you to be able to ascribe it to yourself.

As others have stated, I’d rather question what the car is worth to you and whether you value that more than what other things you could do or have with that capital. Alternatives include buying a cheaper car, including the same model you’re aiming for but slightly more used if you were planning to buy new or riding a bike instead of a car (and using services like public transportation, Mobility or other car rentals when you do need the car).

Like @PhilMongoose, I think it is ok to spend on the things that bring us joy (or keep away pain). I would, however, be wary of life traps that pretend to bring you joy while other things would actually bring more (I enjoy physical activity, for example, the FIRE way is usually to compare what time you could buy by investing that money instead of spending it on a car).

8 km is a very bikable distance. Even more so with an electric bike if you plan to splurge on it a bit (but way less than on a 50-60K car). A practical transportation bike can include dedicated carriage room (by using a trailer if needs be).

Edit: Readig your posts more thoughtfully, it seems you know you want to buy that amount of car. If that’s what you want, then go for it. If you need external approval to do what may not necessarily make you happy but will at least fulfill your temporary desire, with a best case scenario of participating to your enjoyment of life and a worst case scenario of you learning it was not worth it. You’ve got mine. Go and buy that car whenever the time comes for it (assuming that will not endanger the safe living of people who might depend on you, like 1st order family, of course).

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Internet doesn’t forget, uh?
Anyway that apartment is not a Villa in Miami and it has a specif purpose (not for Holiday)

For sure, but there is not always black and white.
If you are frugal/minimalist, means you are going to die rich? Or stop working but living as poor?


This is from the textbook.
I hope you don’t live in a cave :smiley: and you have a passion where you spend more money than another person would do.

The price doesn’t not include only food, but also every things else you can buy in a supermarket.
Regarding food, unless you eat tuna and beans everyday, or If you go to Aldi and buy ugly and smelly prosciutto, double is correct.
Chicken is CHF35/Kg, Cow CHF90/kg, these are more than 3 times, vegetables are double, fruits 2 or three times more as well, pasta double and so on. Of course and you can find something at the same price…but pretty hard.
Do you live alone or do you have a family?

I like this one

Some people love to splurge on clothes, gadgets, or travel. Others find joy in collecting books, art, or music. What makes you happy when you spend money? What kind of object or passion do you invest in that brings you satisfaction and fulfillment?

I do as well. Especially outdoor.
Regarding frugality, I went for many years to the gym, and now I did a small initial investment and I’ll do it at home. Is it good for your mindset? Probably not (due to the isolation). Does it make sense to save 600/y?

I mean I do average 30-40km with 1500mt uphill per ride (MTB), but do I want to add the extra time for grocery, for a ride that is not fun at all? and carry 3-4 big bags? Not sure

Thanks, I appreciate it

To be honest I feel almost guilty to spend money, especially when they are unnecessary.
The sad truth is that I’m at one point in life where I ask myself many questions I didn’t have in the past.

I feel I spend my time working, studying after work, clean the house and buy food.
The fun part is the sport, the reaming couple of hours in the weekend and that’s it.
What’s the sense?

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…so does your car, doesn’t it?

ALDI’s prosciutto is alright IMO (note: I’m only familiar with their German offering). But since you don’t seem to like ALDI or discount supermarkets that much, you assessment is far from my experience.

Admittedly, I’m not familiar with the cross-border shopping situation in Italy (I suppose?). But when shopping at more “upscale” German supermarkets across the border, I’ve been quite surprised lately how expensive they have become (from gut feeling: since COVID/Ukraine war) especially on unprocessed vegetables and fruits. Far more expensive than merely half or a third of Migros’ prices in Switzerland (and I just checked a weekly promotional flyer for a German supermarket and compared to Migros). Same is even true for dairy products (one litre of milk is only 1.40 at Migros but rarely less than 0.94/€0.99 in Germany.

For what it’s worth, I consider having achieving Financial Independence when I don’t have to work anymore - even if that means living “poor”. With poor I mean relative poverty - not poverty as in lack of basic needs.

As a matter of fact, this post was written from a CHF 179/night hotel room - so I currently don’t.

But going back to the question, I don’t think such an expensive car would be a minimalist or frugal choice. I’m not going to pretend it is - ultimately you decide and it’s certainly “OK” if you forego tht choice and buy a car that’s more expensive.


I struggled to spend time doing anything that wasn’t ‘productive’ without feeling guilty. Someone recommended me the book “4000 weeks” as a way to try to mentally get over the productivity drive and just enjoy wasting time on stuff you like to do.


Just a bit off topic :slight_smile: but have you ever tried Prosciutto di Parma (Fratelli Tanzi)?

True but also chf/eur is reflecting inflation

Sure, sorry I was a bit too grumpy.
I’m not entirely sure, but I would probably be more satisfied with way less and decide what to do and when. Not having a magic wand to quickly switch is too bad.

Sorry again…just your first part of the post fired me up

If I’m honest with my self, I’m trying every single way to find all possibles cons to not buy something that I don’t really need. So the reason for this post as well

Your car is 10 years old and you stated to make approx 10k km/y. I see no reason to fear “issues” that would urge you to sell it. Thats the reason why I see no logic point why to buy anything new.


If you want to talk about feelings/comfort (because obviously any car will bring you from A to B and most will be reasonably safe).

Do you have any experience driving “less nice cars” longer term?

In a head to head initial comparison driving different cars you will feel such a difference. However long term experience may indeed be very different:

So I used to regularly drive a higher end newer Mercedes automatic and a very basic older small car in parallel. So quite the difference in trim level and power. In the beginning the Mercedes felt SO MUCH nicer! After a while I started to care less with a slight preference for taking the Mercedes. And in the end I basically DIDN’T CARE.
The music makes the real difference in my driving experience :wink:

It isn’t logic to me too pay for something that does not make me happier.
So now I only care whether a car is reasonably safe.

Also props to the ones proposing to always question the reasoning for having a car at all or buying a new car :blush: