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The True Cost of Everything

Henry David Thoreau once said that "the cost of a thing is the amount of what I call *life" which is required to be exchanged for it immediately or in the long run."

Most of us are putting off things this month that will wind up costing you more in the long run, in time, energy, missed opportunities.

Maybe you're putting off paying anything on your debts because you're afraid to tell creditors how much you can afford to pay them each month, because you're afraid they won't accept your small payment, afraid they will try and garnish your wages, or a hundred other reasons. Your true cost in the long run may be that you wind up with a stress-related health condition from dodging creditor phone calls, or you wind up ruining your credit for years

Maybe you're putting off telling someone you love how you truly feel about them because you're afraid they don't feel the same about you, won't want to take a chance on love again, or a hundred other reasons. The true cost may be that you wind up spending the rest of your life without the person you truly love, pining away for "what might have been" or "what wasn't said." It's like the country song "It's a Little Too Late."

Or maybe what you're putting off doesn't seem so life-altering. Maybe you're putting off having your car serviced, fixing a small leak in the gutters, ironing the clothes you'll need for work next week, cleaning out the fridge, sorting through your tax papers, making a phone call, and so on.

Make a quick list of 4 things you're putting off doing, because you currently feel you lack enough time, energy, money or knowledge to take care of them. Then write down the true cost of what they may mean. Does the cost of having your car towed at an inconvenient time, coordinating rides with others and paying for unexpected repairs outweigh the cost of having your oil changed this month?

Does the cost of having your roof repaired, having termites removed, having wet rot cut out of the wood and having your drywall replaced, repaired and repainted outweigh the cost of getting up on the ladder with a caulk gun and sealing the leaking gutter?

Does the cost of missing out on a promotion or losing a client because you're late, harried, or ill-tempered because you had to take extra time on a busy morning to iron a clean shirt outweigh the energy it takes to iron clothes for an hour?

This month, when you get the urge to procrastinate, do what recovering alcoholics do when they get the urge to drink. They walk themselves through what would happen if they take that first drink, starting with picking up the glass and ending with falling down in the gutter and losing everything important to them in the process. Walk yourself through the true cost of putting off what needs to be done versus the cost of taking the time, energy and money to do it now. Then make a conscious choice as to whether or not you want to pay that price.

This month, cut your costs by taking action on 4 items that would cost you more if you put them off until later.

Paula Langguth Ryan
Contemporary Prosperity Advisor


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