Lending Club Blog

Abundance Reduces Appreciation

When thinking of the abundance in our lives, it’s easy to forget that beyond a certain point, positive benefits can become negative. I’m reminded of William Dean Howells’ story Christmas Every Day. The little girl wishing for that quickly learns the moral that too much of a good thing isn’t.

While abundance reduces appreciation, a corollary could be that scarcity enhances appreciation. So it is with a friend of mine. This friend has taken thriftiness past frugality into the realm of cheap, though some of his actions are still worthy of consideration for those struggling to live on a tight budget. His refusal to pay for cable television is one example. As a result of this cost-conscious decision, he can only watch one baseball game a week, on Friday night, when the game is broadcast on a non-cable channel. Knowing that Friday nights are the only times to enjoy a game, his family plans the entire evening around the game and never misses it. I am sure that he enjoys that one game each week much more than the collective enjoyment I receive from being able to watch every game, in high-def, no less.

This phenomenon shows just one way that we can get more from less in our lives. There are surely many similar examples. The point of this discussion is not to weigh the benefits and opportunity costs of paying for cable, but it does remind us that rethinking needs and wants isn’t just about reducing spending. At times, the abundance of spending more actually reduces your overall enjoyment rather than enhancing it. What are some of the ways that you’ve applied the “less is more” philosophy in your own life?

Friday, November 21st, 2008 at 3:29 pm

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