You paid WHAT for that?

Do you remember the first time you came to the realization that people pay a lot more for brand-name products versus generic?

I distinctly remember a moment like this, years ago. I was in college with a total of (I’m guess-timating) $3.07 in my bank account, and I overheard my mom talking to my aunt about a purse my cousin was eyeing. 

Do I remember the brand? No. But I remember the price tag: $2,600. FOR A PURSE. Not a purse with $2,500 stuffed in it. Not a purse that came with a sugar daddy. Just a purse.

Fast forward some years (more than I care to count) and as an adult who still believes that $2,600 is more of a double-mortgage payment than a purse payment, I’m able to emotionally justify that price tag with three words: price per use.

So let’s say my cousin went ahead and purchased this “better be made of unicorn hair” purse for $2,600. And let’s say that was ten years ago. (Editors note: I wish it was only ten years ago that I was in college. But I digress.) And let’s say that she carried that purse faithfully EVERY day for ten years. That’s 3,650 days. That means her “price per use” would actually only be $0.71.

Let’s use another example: You see a pair of jeans at the store for $100. You buy said jeans, break them in, wear them for 9.3 years until they finally start falling apart. Your price per use on those bad boys is pretty darn good. But let’s say you bought that same pair of jeans for $100, got them home and realized the fitting rooms at the store must’ve been some sort of fun-house mirrors. You intend to return the jeans but never do, they collect dust for 9.3 years and your price per use is… well, terrible.

While we’re on it, do you own a YETI? If you use it, you’ll probably agree with me that that magical technology that keeps your beverages icy cold or smokin’ hot was a tremendously awesome investment. But if you bought it and aren’t using it, you obviously understand that your price per use is bad but more importantly, if you’re not using it, can I have it?

You see where I’m going with the price per use. You’re smart and you want to make good use of your money. These are everyday examples but never has the price-per-use analogy been more apparent to me than with a gym membership. 

If you’re lucky, you found your dream gym on your first try, you’ve been getting fantastic results for years and those results are worth whatever the monthly fee is. If you’re in the other 99%, you’ve probably tried everything from the big box gym down the road to P90X and you might still be searching.

Let’s apply the price per use secret decoder ring:

  • If you pay $10 per month for your membership and even though they serve free pizza, you never go, what’s your price per use, or more important, the value?
  • If you paid $100 for an at-home workout program or $1,000 for a treadmill and both are collecting dust, what’s your price per use, or value?
  • If you pay $200 per month for your gym membership and go five times per week, excited to see your community of friends and impressing yourself on most days with the strength and fitness you’re gaining, THAT’S VALUE, AMIRIGHT?

It all boils down to the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” The do’s and don’ts of that are simple: DO realize that your hard-earned dollar should be spent on things that provide you value, and DON’T pay for things that don’t provide it. If you’re unsure, ask to try before you buy, or for testimonials from people just like you.

In the end, you’ll be happier and feel more comfortable when you spend your money. Even if it’s on a purse made of unicorn.

Written by Monica Hilton - KAHA Owner

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