More money, more stuff, more appointments in the calendar, more hamster wheel running. Our oh so modern world is designed to constant growth. There is hardly any free time and leisure time left.
Time is money – Money is time – Stuff is time
We often overlook the fact that we pay for every item not just with money, but above all with valuable lifetime (half a minute has passed since you read this article). “Time is money.” But also: “Money is time.” And “Stuff is time.”
Is a 65-inch 4K TV worth a month of work?
Unless you inherited or robbed a bank (and were not caught), you pay each new item with the money you earned.
In order to recognize the true value of a good, I recommend that you calculate how long you have to work before each purchase. For the calculation you have to know your net salary per hour, day, month and year. If you can not remember the amounts, write them on a note-sheet and put it in your purse.
Assuming you refer to the average monthly net salary in 2018 in the amount of US$1,945, work 21 days a month and have a 40-hour week. Then you earn US$11.24 per hour and US$23.340 per year. For a US$3 cappuccino, you’d have to work 16 minutes, for a US$60 “Levi’s 501” 5.34 hours, for a US$2,500 65-inch 4K TV a month and ten days, for a US$30,000 VW Golf almost 15.5 months and for a US$300,000 single-family house almost 13 years are needed.
This procedure reduces spontaneous and false purchases to a minimum. You’ll ask yourself such a question: Is the 65-inch 4K TV really worth so much work and lifetime? Does it enrich and improve my life? Can I buy it secondhand? Doesn’t the old device still do the same? Do I really want to live without a TV for a month?
The hidden follow-up costs rob lifetime
In your decision for or against a purchase, you should consider that the item is likely to cause follow-up costs. You can imagine these as hours at work – or if you “give up” the item – as free lifetime.
Every little electrical device consumes power. A car must be insured, taxed, refueled or charged, parked, beautified, washed, maintained and repaired. Even items like a “Levi’s 501” are costly because most of us have mountains of stuff to store in boxes, shelves, dressers, cupboards, homes, houses, cellars, garages, and self-storage.
Every item vies for your attention
In addition, each new item eats time per se, because it wants to be used, stored, archived, maintained, dusted, updated or whatever. With esteem that is hardly possible, if already so many other objects vie for attention.
Growth critics say: “We are already overwhelmed and exhausted. A study has shown that a German has an average of 10,000 things. Services are added. How are we supposed to handle that when, on the one hand, every thing requires time, while on the other hand each day only has 24 hours? “
The way out of the junk-work-time dilemma: Just live easy
Imagine how easy your life would be and how much life you would have available if your entire belongings would fit in a backpack and a bag. Some digital nomads and “extreme” minimalists live that way. I’m not saying that you have to emulate that. I do not live that way either yet. But I want to illustrate that stuff binds a lot of time of your life.
A way out of the junk-work-time dilemma is obvious: Just live easy. Find the right size for you. Only buy items that you can and really want to afford. Reduce your possessions until you have only items that make your life easier or better.
If you feel like it then you can reduce your working hours, take a sabbatical, risk self-employment or if everything works out well you will be able to retire earlier. “I wish I had not worked so much,” is one of the five things that dying people regret the most.
Even if you keep your workload on the high end, many things will turn out well – because you now know the true value of the items. Therefor I suggest you should consume less and spend more time with your passions and loved ones.