ECONOMICS: HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY YOUR SPENDING?

I think me posting about being sensible with money is a very suitable thing for April Fools Day, but I promise this is no joke!

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to finances lately, and how we all (myself included) “justify” our spending on non-necessity items. After all, nobody really needs an entire pouch of lipsticks or ten different handbags or twenty pairs of shoes, but somehow we all justify the cost of those items to ourselves, and I’m wondering how other people go about it. For me, it’s a question of value, which from my perspective boils down to the notion of cost-per-wear.

If you’re going to wear something a lot, it “makes sense” (in my mind) to spend more on it than if you’re only going to wear it infrequently. This excludes special items like wedding dresses, obviously, but apart from that, I apply this rationale to everything: clothes, cosmetics, jewellery, whatever. When I’m considering purchasing something expensive, I always ask myself Is this really worth the money I won’t be able to spend on something else later? Will I get good value out of this purchase? If the answer is yes, I can “justify” the purchase to myself (assuming it’s affordable). And how I decide whether or not it is a yes is like this:

Think of the amount you’d be prepared to spend on a one-use item for whatever category you’re looking for. If you’re on a tight budget, that might be €10 for an item of clothes, or €2 on makeup. If you’ve got a higher budget, it might be €100, or €500. Whatever that figure is, that’s your base number. Now look at the cost of what you’re thinking of buying. If it’s €50 and your base number is €10, then it would make sense to buy this €50 item only if you will wear it 5 times or more. Otherwise you might as well just buy five different one-wear €10 tops. If it’s €500, it would want to be something you can imagine yourself wearing 100 times, like a leather jacket that will last for years, or a piece of jewellery you will wear daily. (Unless your base price is €500, in which case: go nuts, and also, if you’re looking for someone to sponsor, let me know.)

While this isn’t a fool-proof method of decision-making, I find it’s helped me avoid costly mistakes in the past, so I thought I would throw the notion out there and get other people’s opinions on it. My mother thinks I’m mad, and that everyone should just buy mid-priced items without doing all this needless calculating, but I wondered if others have the same thoughts on the matter, or some other method of  “justifying” their spending?

I’m absolutely not recommending irresponsible spending, mind: I’m not talking about buying something and having to live on beans and toast for a month afterwards, I’m talking about buying a non-necessity now versus later, or one big non-necessity versus a lot of little non-necessities. The fun stuff, basically, that you can afford but don’t really need to be buying right now… Or maybe ever.

How do you justify those purchases in your head– or do you feel the need to justify them at all? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

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