The Cost of an Item

Something weird has been happening to me – and it’s reached a new height.  I don’t want more stuff.  Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes at me – yet until just recently I always wanted some book or CD (usually several of each) at any given moment.  Media is where I tend to collect, despite some women collecting shoes, purses, or jewelry – I’ve had a hard time resisting another book or three. 🙂

I mentioned a while back my husband inspiring me to consider purging most of my cassette tapes, which then led to my examining my movie collection.  Meanwhile, he and I are currently going through our CD collection.  There’s a local place that is frequently a temptation for me – Half Price Books – where they specialize in media: books, music, and movies, oh my! I enter the store sporadically, sometimes because I just don’t want to be tempted and sometimes because I’ve been disappointed at not finding something to bring home.

Movies have been one of the media I’ve collected – not that my collection ever approached the number of CD’s, let alone books that I have; yet I had over 300 movies at one point.  I still peruse the movies they have – especially the clearance area of the movies – since they’re all between $1-3.  This is how I achieved the original number of movies – used and sometimes clearance.

Yet now when I look through those movies, I pull something interesting off the shelf and look at it – the idea of paying $2.00 for those, it isn’t worth it.  This is truly a little mind-boggling for me.  Really.  And I can’t say it’s about saving that two dollars plus tax.

What it does seem to be about for me is the greater cost:

  • the cost of space in my home
  • the cost of my time if I was to watch it (except I wouldn’t watch it much)
  • the cost of spending money for something that I won’t truly appreciate
  • the cost, potentially/probably, of feeling bad at owning it when I next purge (and never having appreciated it)

There are other factors to consider as well:

  • how much of what you have are you currently appreciating? (I still have over 100 movies and watch maybe 10% of those.  Now the movie needs to be pretty special to come home.)
  • do you have the time or even the inclination to appreciate this new item? (Most movies that come home with me, I usually don’t manage to watch for more than 6 months!)
  • if you avoided spending on this and that over time, is there something else you’d deeply appreciate?  (I’ve been drawn to experiences lately, so I’m inclined to avoid spending on “minor” items and feel good about going for a horseback ride.)

There’s also a joy in buying only what you need or are going to appreciate.  I was touched to arrive at a client’s and she looked at me and said, “It’s amazing how light and free I feel not buying just stuff and in turn also getting exactly what I need.”

My reasons for not spending $2.00 on a movie aren’t going to match yours.  On any item.  Yet, is there a way for you to consider the value for yourself of what you buy?  With any purchase, the cost is more than financial.  I know this isn’t something I thought much about until recently.  I was focused almost exclusively on just the financial part – hence why a $2.00 movie with a great actor or a good plot would usually come home with me. 😉

I continue to find this perspective to be unnerving – it’s still relatively new for me.  Yet, it’s also tremendously freeing.  I wish I could share the internal space I’m in with everyone, just so they could know what it feels like.  I encourage you to examine the temptations, the random “unnecessary” items that come into your home, and see if you can find those other “costs” as they apply for you.

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