If I asked you these questions you’d probably answer me by stating just how much money you handed over to purchase those items. But there is a more important answer to the questions, one that asks how much of our time those items cost.
Henry David Thoreau put it this way: ‘The price of everything is the amount of life we have to pay for it.’
It’s a succinct idea and one that has got me thinking since I started the no-spend challenge.
I have started to measure the cost of items in the amount of time it would earn me the money to pay for it. A pair of trousers might be four hours spent at work, a coffee might be 15 minutes.
Looking at items in terms of minutes and hours has made me realise not just how much money I have frittered away but how many precious hours of the day I have lost in the pursuit of purchasing.
Even if items are a bargain, or cheap, or half-price, they still cost us. They cost us even more if we buy them on credit cards and overdrafts as the hours we work are then only going towards paying off interest on the money borrowed.
With my wallet locked shut, I now see every hour I work as another step towards financial freedom, working my way towards a life that I want to lead, unencumbered by meetings and deadlines.
Purchasing unnecessary items would be self-sabotage, a way of denying myself the life I want to live.