I’ve recently found myself in the need for a budget. Now, I’ve done this before, but not on a grand scale. During that first budget experience, I learned a valuable lesson: I can justify anything. Are you ready for this ground-breaking piece of information?
It’s called… Cost. Per. Use.
I have a friend I met Sophomore year in school who operated with this as well and we found great success with this model. Here’s what you do: buy something.
Now note the cost. Divide by how many times you think you’ll use it. If you purchased shoes, divide by two (because you have two of them). Done!
Here’s a real-world example. I was shopping with my friend in college (this was our first shopping trips together; after that, I knew we’d always be friends) when I spotted these cute gray ballet flats at the Gap. I thought they were marked down, but as fate would have it, they were full-priced shoes set on a sale shelf and the salesperson wouldn’t give me the sale price–isn’t that illegal?–but I liked them so I bought them anyway. They were $40. I figured I’d wear them until the weather changed; in State College, I either had 6 days or 26 days until that happened. To begin the CPU model, I assumed I’d wear them at least 10 times before said change occurred. So we’re down to $4 per wear. If you want to go even further, divide that by 2 (because there’s two of them) and we have $2 per wear. I can tell you that I’ve worn these shoes way more than 10 times; I purchased them in 2009 and still wear them, as you can tell by the state of the soles. I’d say I recouped my investment.
It’s a very useful tool if you don’t need something but really, really like something. This is especially useful for good quality products (“I’ll have have this for years”) or a fun splurge (“I’ll just wear this 50 times and then it’ll be $1 per wear”).
One exception: nail polish. Let’s say a bottle of polish costs $5. You have 10 fingers, so you’re already at $.50 per use. If you paint your toes too, and repeat this twice, you’re justified. At this point, you’re at a negative cost per use, so why bother figuring it out in the first place. Just buy the polish and look pretty.
Your guilt has been expunged. You’re welcome.