One Revealing Question: Is It Worth the Candle?
It refers to candlelit rooms where people would go to gamble at cards. Since candles were expensive, it was typical at the end of the night to leave some money to contribute to the cost of the lighting. But if someone lost money during the games or didn't make much profit, they wouldn't be able to cover the price of the candle.
And so the question: Was the game worth the candle? Was it worth the effort or expense it required?
When candles and lamp fuel were expensive, you had to carefully consider how you used them. Was reading that newspaper or book worth the candle? If not, why buy it? Was sewing or knitting that thing worth the candle? Maybe, if you were creating something necessary and useful, maybe not if it was merely decorative.
- video discs
- restaurant meals
- event tickets
- hobby supplies
- recreational vehicles
- home décor
- and more...
The abundance of once rare resources is part of our problem. If we had to ration light, power, or fuel, we'd be more thoughtful about our choices, because everything takes light, power, and fuel (to ship goods from Asia, if nothing else).
If only we understood that our resources are finite. If we believed that our time is finite, we'd be careful about how we use it. Maybe we'd spend more time interacting with friends and family in real life, instead of following celebrities and influencers. Maybe we'd spend less time shopping and more on developing our talents or making something of value.
So before you buy something new, consider: Is it worth the mining or the drilling? Is it worth the cost of infrastructure and delivery? Is it worth your time and effort to earn the money to pay for it? Is it worth the candle.... or not?
Related article: 27 Things I Stopped Buying When I Embraced Minimalism
And before you keep something you don't use, consider: Is it worth the space it takes to store this? Is it worth the cleaning and maintenance? If it's stuck in the china cabinet and pulled out for two meals a year, or shut in a box which is stored in the basement, being saved for "someday," is it worth it? Is it worth packing up and moving? Would it be worth buying today?
If it's not worth the candle, the truth is revealed. Declutter it now.
in just one hour
P.S. If you're worried about how the economy will survive if you're not buying unnecessary baubles, invest your money, or donate to organizations that feed people, do medical research, or foster the arts. The economy thrives when money is in use. It doesn't need us to buy things we don't need.