the hidden cost of material goods

The modern era that we all live in has unfortunately become all about comparison and competition. What a majority of us fail to notice in this race for getting ever-better gadgets and devices, ever-sleeker cars, ever-bigger houses and ever more material possessions is that there’s a hidden cost to all that hoarding and accumulating. There’s a cost attached to each and everything that we bring in our lives, even if we get it for free. And the sooner we become aware of this important and fundamental truth, the better.

The true cost of a particular item isn’t simply what it’s sold for, but what it continually costs the owner to own. As The Minimalists point out, “The true cost of a thing goes well beyond the price on the pricetag… the actual cost of owning a thing is nearly immeasurable. So we better choose carefully what things we bring into our lives, because we can’t afford every-thing.” 

Our belongings not only occupy space in our closets, basements and garages, but also in our minds. Both our desire for material goods and eventually gaining them come at the cost of our calmness and tranquility. The more we accumulate, the more anxious and less serene we become. 

It’s wise to go through your belongings and ask yourself: Do I really need this? Is this superfluous or essential? Spend a few moments reflecting on what these things actually cost. This will help you determine if they are really worth paying for. As Seneca wrote in one of his letters, “So, concerning the things we pursue, and for which we vigorously exert ourselves, we owe this consideration–either there is nothing useful in them, or most aren’t useful. Some of them are superfluous, while others aren’t worth that much. But we don’t discern this and see them as free, when they cost us dearly.” 

As you let go of the excess, you’ll not only cut back on the everyday costs but also bring more freedom and inner peace in your life.