What does it really cost?

When you start to let minimalism inform your decisions, it seems fairly straight-forward; own less stuff, spend less money and spend less time cleaning.  Sorted.  But the deeper you delve into it, the more you realise that there is so much more to consider.

One of these is the concept of cost.  Pre-minimalism, I only considered the cost of something to be the amount of pounds I paid for it.  “This top only cost £7”, was a good example of something I would say after rummaging through a sale rack.  Whether or not it was “a good deal” was usually determined by how much the item had been reduced by.  A £7 top reduced from £20 wasn’t as satisfying to me as a £7 top reduced from £40.

But that £7, regardless of its reduction, represents the time I spent earning it.  It represents £7 I could be investing in myself or putting towards experiences I would truly cherish.

This is not the only cost to consider, however.

There is also the future cost of the item; with items of clothing this is generally cleaning the garment and, sometimes, repairing it.  For items such as games or DVDs, the additional future cost is the hours of your life you must spend in order to use them.  And for technological items, the future cost may be repair costs, extra software or hardware that could improve it.  So the initial cost is very rarely the full cost but it was rare that I would consider this before making a purchase.

Then there is the environmental cost that we must consider.  With each purchase we make, we vote in favour of that company and their practices.  We literally invest in them.  If we buy a £7 top from a company who exploits its workers or make-up from brands who test on animals, we show our approval by giving these people our hard-earned money.

So for the next purchase you intend to make, spend a moment considering the true cost.  The price may be good but don’t neglect your future costs or the cost to others.

Carmen x

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