Cost per use: learn the real value of what you are shopping for

Have you ever find an object that you bought and hasn’t been used? It can happen with clothing, cooking utensils, or even exercising equipment. For sure, you thought that you would use it over and over again but then you realized that you could have saved a couple of dollars. Whether it was an impulse buy or because you really thought that it was worth spending that money, the truth is that the cost per use was skipped. This analysis is very useful to improve personal finance management and the way we consume.


What’s the cost per use?

The cost per use indicates the number of times that we use a product vs. the price that we pay. This means that a good’s real cost has to be divided into the number of times we think we might use it. If we buy a sweater that costs 200 dollars and we plan to use it once per week for six months, we divide these numbers and we would get a total cost of 8.30 dollars.

Before buying something, we must consider if we are going to use it to understand if it is worth spending the money. To do this, we must take into account that we might already have similar products that could “compete” when it comes to frequency of usage, or if we are replacing an object, or if we know that this product is something we could use for multiple occasions.

New mindset

To incorporate this new mindset before buying, it is important to reduce impulse buying and giving yourself time before acquiring something. Many people that want to control their spendings have this approach of waiting a certain amount of time to consider if they are really having the need to buy it or if it just an urge.

This mindset is very useful during key moments in the shopping agenda such as Black Friday. Going shopping because of good discounts without needing the products aren’t healthy for expenses control.

Smart consumption

Prior to buying something, the cost per use math is worth it to reflect on the need behind the impulse of acquiring something. This math helps you to learn the real value that a product has for you, depending on the number of times you do this exercise. You can start raising awareness about what you already have at home: Was it worth it to spend 30 dollars on a blender if you only prepare shakes twice or three times per year?

Can I afford it?

Finally, the key question is if you are really on the economical capacity to buy something which costs more than you make. It doesn’t matter if you try the cost per use method, if we aren’t able to afford it then we shouldn’t fall into unnecessary consumption.

Next time you want to buy something, wait for a little bit and think about all the alternatives to make more efficient use of your money without excessive and unnecessary consumption.

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