"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."
--Henry David Thoreau
When you think about buying things, or decide to keep things you no longer really love or use, how often do you stop and think about the true cost of things? I'm talking about the true cost of owning the thing throughout it's life cycle.
For example, are you aware of how much time you spend maintaining the things you own?
Have you ever thought about adding up the actual time, energy and money you spend to:
- Shop for things
- Research before you shop
- Figure out where to store things, choose containers,purchase and assemble shelves etc to hold thing.
- Fix things (especially houses and cars)
- Clean things
- Look for things when you need them
- Put them away
- Trip over the things you didn't put away
- Inventory and insure things
- Worry about people taking your things and possibly even paying for security systems to protect your things
- Try to get kids to put away the things or maybe even yelling at them for not putting away their things
- Fight with your spouse about things (
- Figure out how to let go of things you no longer need
Ever thought about what percentage of the cost of your home actually goes directly to storing things you can't find when you need them anyway?
How often do you argue with people in your life about stuff? ARe the things you argue about really worth sacrificing your time, energy and enjoyment of your time together?
What would you do with your time, energy and money if you didn't have to worry about so many things?
Are your things serving you in functioning better? having better relationships? or they in your way?
Acquiring a thing costs SO much more than it's purchase price. You exchange your life energy and instantly sacrifice a chunk of time and attention for as long as you own it. Is it really worth it?
Before you buy something, try imagining yourself committing the time, energy and attention required AFTER you get it home to take care of it and clean it, etc. Imagine yourself parting with it when you are done with it.
I found this to be a powerfully way to use my imagination to help me reduce impulsive spending and clutter.
MORE FROM THE WEB ON THE TRUE COST OF THINGS AND LIVING WITH LESS
- Here's a neat couple of posts about the true cost of things...like the true cost of a dozen eggs...and the true cost of low cost food...this one really opened my eyes.
- THE TRUE COST OF OWNING A HOME - Owning a home may not be as much of an investment as you think...if you are thinking of owning a home, think it all the way through and DON"T let the mortgage companies talk you into "buying the largest home you can afford" or "don't worry about the total cost, just think about the monthly payment"
The total true cost can be as much as 5 TIMES the monthly payment to cover utilities, property taxes and maintenance. Even if you have two incomes, I always recommend buying a home you could afford on 25 - 40% of the lower income ALONE. The freedom is so worth it!