At this point, you have probably heard of the “cost per wear” equation, which is a simple equation you can use to determine whether or not it is wise to spend on an item that has a higher price tag.  For those of you who have never heard of it before, I’ll give you a specific example of how it works.  It really is quite eye opening.

Let’s say you are considering purchasing a pair of pants that are valued at $150.  For some people, that price may be a bit high.  However, if you foresee yourself wearing the pants at least once a week for the next year, the pants will only cost you $2.88 per wear.   And, let us not forget that a basic pair of pants, if maintained properly, you will wear beyond a year.  So, let’s break that cost per wear down even further.

If you wear these pants once a week for two years, the price breaks down to $1.44 per wear and at five years, if worn once a week (which may be stretching it a bit, but possible), the pants then cost you .56 cents per wear.

To really get the value of this equation, we need to come at this from an opposite perspective, as well.  Let’s say you go into a store and find a top for $25.  To you, this amount of money seems like nothing to spend on a top.  You think to yourself, “What the heck, even if I wear it once, it’s cheap, I won’t feel bad if I don’t wear it.”  Sure, this may be the case, but, looking at it from a cost per wear equation, that shirt actually winds up costing you more money than the $150 pair of pants.  Why?  Well, it’s simple math.  If you wear the shirt once, then obviously the cost of the shirt remains $25.  Wear it twice, and the shirt costs $12.50.  If you can manage to get five wears out of before tossing it on the discard heap the cost still remains higher than the pants at $5.00.

Now, with that in mind, is it really smart to spend money on what seem like cheap clothes that you never wear?  And, think about all the stuff you have in your closet that never get worn, that still have tags attached.  Imagine that instead of tags you have dollars, equivalent to the amount of money you spent on each item, hanging there instead of a price tag.  Not a pretty sight.

The next time you go shopping and think that your scarcity mentality of throwing a few bucks towards something you’re not all that passionate about is the better deal.  You may just surprise yourself.