Brian Crawford

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Brian Crawford

the value of value

it is interesting that some things have tremendous value well beyond their buying price, and other things have negative value that exceeds even the money you wasted to buy them.

for example, I bought some decent Thule roof-mount ski racks for my (then) Honda station wagon while living in Canada, to use on ski trips. However I don’t think I ever used these racks before moving down to the States soon after – to South Carolina, where I have never skiied. So I wasted $80 (or thereabouts) on these racks. However, the fact that I have moved 4 or 5 times since coming to the States and have lugged these heavy ski racks around (I no longer have the Honda they were attached to) each move means that I have wasted well beyond the $80 or so that I used to buy the racks in time and effort.

on the other hand, other items have great positive value. For example, my computer. Well let’s take another example so that I don’t sound like a big dork. When Callum was born we used to carry him around on a Baby Bjorn baby carrier. We borrowed this carrier from Yvonne’s sister, so we didn’t have to pay anything for it at all. But considering we used it practically every day for three or four months to tote Callum around while at home or out and about – and considering how much he liked to be carried this way and how it kept him from fussing – we got a great deal of use out of it, well beyond the nothing that we paid for it! Perhaps this is a bad example, to use something that we didn’t have to pay for – of course we got more value out of it than we put in. But surely you can think of many other examples of this phenomenon that occur within your own lifestyle.

11 thoughts on “the value of value

  • You are so right. What gets me is that it seems so hard to get rid of expensive do-nothing things, just because they were expensive. I’ve been trying to streamline my stuff for months now and just trying to have only the things that I care about around me.

    A friend of mine said to me that an item ought to have one of two criteria: Is it beautiful? Is it useful? Keeping in mind that beauty *is* useful, then I would say is it useful? 🙂 It’s been tough at times but I found that some of the things I was holding on to, served no purpose anymore or had some emotional attachment where I couldn’t even remember the reason I had it anymore. 🙂 I even found things that I felt *negatively* about for whatever reason but I was still keeping them — why on earth do we hold on to these things?

    I also firmly believe that these kinds of things take up “room” and if you get rid of them, or pass them along to someone else who will get use or enjoyment out of them, it frees up space in your life for other things that you want/need more. At the very least, it frees up space in your spirit.

  • value and cars as posessions

    totally agree with your train of thought!

    I’ve had several conversations with my hubby (now also on livejournal as luthoar) regarding value and cars. He has expensive tastes in what he likes in cars and I have always viewed them in more of a utilitarian way. I would prefer to buy a car used, pay for it as soon as possible (small loan) and get good use out of it for many years, save for a newer one and buy it also used. Hubby likes the trendier cars and he’ll see something on the road that he likes and ask “how much do you think that’s worth?”.

    My response has been “you mean how much do I think it costs? I am sure it costs more than it would be WORTH to me!” Many good round of debate over that comment!!

    • Re: value and cars as posessions

      that is true – though I think that value can differ from car to car. For example, to me, a $30,000 BMW would be worth $30,000 to me, though a $13,000 Kia would not be worth $13,000 to me, even though it’s cheaper. Know what I mean?

  • Word. Money is just one abstraction for value, and not always the best one.

    My first-generation, bleeding-edge IPaq PDA ($500) was almost entirely impractical. Barely got a month’s use out of it.

    My ugly brown portfolio with a legal pad and a Zebra pen in it (graduation present, not including legal pad or Zebra pen, total cost maybe 20 bucks) has seen almost constant use over 5 years, 4 jobs and 2 countries.

    I’ve also gotten way more enjoyment out of my two cameras than the money I’ve put into them.


  • I see what you mean. Looking around me right now I can see countless free items that have great value for me, whether it be sentimental or practical. Its wrong to measure value in terms of money. Money is in itself worthless, its only use is to buy things of worth. My attitude on it probably explains why I never seen to have any though.

    • good point. The things that matter the most – family, knowledge, self-awareness, and inner happiness – are hard to buy with money – which is why I believe so many people waste so much money trying in vain to buy such things.

      • I waste a lot of money trying to hoard knowledge. Its almost pathetic. But, in my current situation I consider it a good use of something that has no innate value. The big issue is about what I do with the knowledge when I get it, its value can only be seen by looking at that.


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