Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

The Cost of a Purchase

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a friend. We started talking about minimalism and getting rid of excess stuff as she was moving to a new apartment. The long-winding discussion led to a topic of how I have changed my perception of the cost of things. Back in the day I was mostly measuring everything by their monetary value: do I have enough euros or dollars in my bank account to make this purchase. As I got older and my salary increased, suddenly very few everyday items became out of reach. That's why my house started to fill with stuff that I thought I needed but didn't actually even spend another second thinking about my needs.

Now I consider other aspects than money: I think about what I need to get rid of to make the new purchase fit into my backpack and I need to think about the lifetime expense of owning something. Suddenly I'm not filling my house with 5€ trinkets just because they were on sale. Or buying a new tv just because I was able to financially pay for it.

I have never been good at waiting or sleeping over night before purchasing stuff. When I wanted or felt that I needed something, I just bought it. Limiting my life into a backpack, I have found new superpowers in this realm. I have been thinking about renting an apartment for a while now but so far I haven't figured out what I want. I would love to get a palm-size video projector since I love watching movies and playing games on a big screen. Instead of buying the first one I found (like I would have done in the past), I've been doing some research and trying to find compelling reasons why I absolutely need it. So far I haven't been able to convince myself.

For long I was a sucker for free stuff. I participated in all sorts of competitions and quizzes in hopes of winning something usually completely useless. I collected all sorts of marketing swag that companies gave for free, just because I made the decision based on the financial ability and not by the burden of ownership.

I have also started to borrow things to see how much I would use something before buying. For the past two weeks, I've been playing with Nintendo Switch I borrowed from a friend. I wanted to buy one since it's small, fits into my backpack and I love playing games. Since Playstation doesn't fit into the bag, Switch was my next choice but now after playing with it for couple of weeks, I'm not sure I actually want to have one cluttering up my bag.