Cutting Back On The Costly

Cutting Back On The Costly

The Daily Stoic for March 5th. “Cutting back on the costly”:

“So, concerning the things we pursue, and for which we vigorously exert ourselves, we owe this consideration—either there is nothing useful in them, or most aren’t useful. Some of them are superfluous, while others aren’t worth that much. But we don’t discern this and see them as free, when they cost us dearly.”

During our lifetime, we accumulate a lot of stuff. I know because I had to get rid of most of it when I became a digital nomad.

Now, I try not to buy something unless I really need it. A good exercise that I have described before is translating the price of something you are about to buy to a monthly fee, and then deciding if that item is worth paying that fee.

As an example, say you are about to buy some boots that are 150€. You already have one pair, but you just stumbled upon this shinny new pair on a store and liked them. Before buying them, you can do the math and realize they imply a monthly fee of 12,5€. Then you can do a more educated decision on whether or not you really need them or they are just a whim.

Cutting Back On The Costly… Beyond Money

However, there’s also another cost to owning things. We live in the culture of irrational consumption. We need the absolutely best iPhone and the absolutely biggest house.

Don’t have enough space for your stuff? Just buy a bigger house. Don’t have money for that? Rent a garage.

Do you have an attic or cellar full of boxes? I used to. I bet you are not able to enumerate half the objects contained within those boxes.

All those things we keep “just in case” are a burden for us. First of all, they force us to have more space, and spend more on a house or a garage. Also, sometimes they bind us at an emotional level, not allowing us to let go the past.

If you haven’t opened one of those boxes for a year, you don’t need what’s inside. It’s that simple.

My suggestion is: get rid of it. Sell it on your favorite app, donate them, give it to friends… Realize that you don’t need that stuff.

When I got used to living with what’s inside my suitcase and my bag, It was like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I live a happier, simpler life now that I have less stuff.


In today’s Daily Stoic, “Cutting Back On The Costly”, I discuss about the costs of consumption and piling up stuff. These costs are not just the money we pay for things, but the burden they impose on us: the need for more space, bigger, better things, and the emotional attachments that tie us to the past.

In this post, I encourage you to get rid of the stuff you don’t need.