Here we are, at the final installment of my deep dive into questions to ask yourself to talk yourself out of that purchase.
And finally, here is the sixth post! Where we ask ourselves: What is your anticipated cost per use?
This is not a question that is easy to answer unless you have tracked this sort of thing before. Which means it is probably the question in this whole series that is most targeted to a specific personality type.
I follow a YouTuber who tracks how often she uses her makeup to determine how many times you can use a product before it is empty. (Her voice is very calm and quiet. I don’t agree with her product recommendations always, but I love the way she talks about makeup.) That gives her a great estimate of cost-per-wear. In two bronzers that are otherwise very similar products, the cost-per-wear could be a significant to your purchase decision. For makeup, this might not be as simple as looking at price per ounce. If you have two items that are the same size, the more pigmented one might stretch further than the one that needs more product to build opacity.
I started tracking my clothing cost per wear about two years ago. It was fun at first–to see the cost per wear drop significantly. You only need to wear a twenty dollar shirt ten times to get a cost-per-wear of $2. The more I wore my items, the more frustrating it became as the “rewards” diminished (The reward of seeing the cost per wear dramatically decrease).
Wear a $20 shirt 10 times, $2 cost-per-wear. Wear it 20 times, $1. Wear it 40 times to get to $.50. The initial rush of significantly lowering the cost per wear faded as the curve evened out.
That is just a simple math thing. Fractions of fractions and all that. But this is not really a post about math. It’s a post about spending. While those should go together, often they don’t. Spending is emotional and tied to your background and history.
For me, this made me more conscientious of my purchases. Even the $40 boots I lived in all winter were still above 50 cents per wear. How often can you really wear or use all the items in your closet? Especially if you keep adding more to it.
For me, discovering cost per wear encouraged me to make smarter decisions about what I did buy. I purchased things that would be more classic, fit with more outfits, and last longer.
It may not be the most effective shopping question you’ll ever ask yourself. But when looking at a big purchase, being honest about your return in a cost per use can help you see the long term value.