The cost of maintenance versus the cost of time

December 20, 2022

When we buy products and services, we think of "treating" ourselves to having others provide their time for us so that we can perceive a sense of saving time so we can do more things and have more opportunities.

The problem is that all the things we pay for to save time are illusory intentions driven by social and advertising pressure. If we buy a nice car, we have to cover annual costs of maintenance, gas/electricity, insurance, parking, and various other fees related to owning or leasing a vehicle. The car definitely saves us time in terms of traveling from location A to location B but is that worth the cost to keep it legal and running? If so, for how long?

Another example is if we pay for "enhancements" that make us temporarily "look" or "feel" better, such as plastic surgery, unnecessary renovations, additional cars, vacation homes, etc. - none are necessary purchases but some of us still feel compelled to keep it going to avoid being left out of the in-group. One must maintain a constant stream of income in order to fulfill these products and services but one is not necessarily in full agreement of these transactions. Rather, one feels anxiety about social pressures and ticking a box on a list of transactions to fulfill in order to say they did it to whoever will listen. Are we working and paying for things in order to create an evidence path of our authentic selves through the incoming information being sold by others? Or are we mindlessly responding to external pressures in order to feel less insecure about how we make financial decisions? If we pay to reduce anxiety and insecurity and don't stop for many months or years, does it solve the insecurity and anxiety? Or does it merely mask it under the justification of internal and external pressures as a form of personal self worth?

None of these examples save real time in the end because time needed to be spent to earn the income to cover these "anxiety-deflaters". But the anxiety deflation is short-lived and the desire and pressure to buy again returns. It's a perpetual loop that never stops because sometimes we aren't sure when to stop. If we aren't sure when to stop, can we really convince ourselves that our time was well spent?


The content above contains my personal thoughts only and are not representative of anything I am involved with. The following content may contain financial opinions and these opinions do not reflect any professional advice. Speak to a licensed financial professional for actual financial advice.