Geeezzzzzz a $30-$80 isn’t thrifty!…

One Anonymous poster said this: “You spend $30-$80 on a nice purse? Geeeeezzzzz that isn’t thrifty at all!”

So it would seem…. but my response: “Actually it is. Cost per use is in effect, my friend“.

I assumed the Anonymous poster was a man, but correct me if I’m wrong! I just find that most men don’t understand the appeal of having a beautiful purse, yet they can wax poetic about how they need to have a set of matching, custom-made chrome bumpers, spinning rims, stylish sound systems with good bass for their car, beautiful interior babysoft leather for their seats, and that $800 for a single gallon of the most perfect shade of car paint for their car.

The basic idea of cost per use or wear, is if you are to spend $30 or $80 on a nice purse, you are planning on using that purse day in, day out.

Case in point. I bought a soft, faux leather, bronze metallic purse for $30 about 4 years ago. That is now the purse I bring with me on all of my travelling trips because it is elegant enough to be a work purse, soft enough to squish into my suitcase and not worry about it being damaged, and big (but not too much bag) enough to hold my items when I go sightseeing. Plus, I paid only $30 for it.

After 4 years, that purse has cost about $12.50/year so far. That’s 0.034 cents a day. And every year I take care of it, and use it, the cost per use goes down until it approaches zero.

This is the same principle that can be used for shirts and pants. I bought a cheap shirt for $5 on sale a month ago, took care of it, and now just looks dull, faded, frayed and ugly. In contrast, I purchased a $50 shirt about a year ago, took the same care with it, but it still looks sharp, and it has kept its dye and colour well over the years. The quality was just simply better.

I am not saying that EVERYTHING that costs more money is worth it, I’m just saying pick and choose what you want to pay more for, and what you won’t.

The only time I ever spent $80 on a purse, was 2 years ago for this Friis & Co. gorgeous black-lace gathered overlay on a faux white leather purse, with a silk black lining. I love it, and I carry it whenever I’m out on the town. Sure, the cost per use is a lot higher for that purse, but I plan on keeping that purse well into the future, and by that time, that purse will still be worth every penny I had paid for it.

But I can guarantee you would NEVER have seen that purse in a thrift store, and if I had waited and missed out on my chance to buy it on the cheap for $80 CAD and still be able to love it after all this time.

In short, I’d much rather have ONE $30-$80 purse I love and like to carry, than buying $4-$10, or a $20 purse and end up throwing the purses away, donating it, or shoving it into the back of my closet, untouched and unused, saved for the firs day I bought it. That cost per use for that “thrifty” bag that I never really loved in the first place was $4-$20, instead of $7.50-$12.50.

Sure, I could just use my laptop bag, or maybe a free plastic grocery bag to carry around my items, but as most women can attest to, it just isn’t the same. And besides, how cheap are you going to get? There has to be a limit somewhere. I’d treat this free plastic grocery bag cheapness akin to stealing ketchup packets from McDonald’s and squeezing it into your ketchup jar to save $3 per in addition to spending 6 hours of your time squeezing each packet in.

One thing’s for sure, I’d never cross the threshold of $100 for a bag, because it’s just a bag. But some people will buy $400 – $2000 It Bags for the season, use it for a season (about 4 months, maybe 6 months), and discard the former It Bag into the back of their closet, or sell it at a fraction (albeit still over $100) of its original retail cost.

Now, which one seems more economical to you?

You can even apply this to buying cars, or really, buying anything in general. If you’re going to buy a new car because buying a used one just doesn’t appeal to you, that’s fine. But if you buy a new car once every 3 years to upgrade, that’s not being as economical as if you bought that new car, took super good care of it, and made it last 15 – 20 years. The cost per use goes down, and in the end, you are still thrilled with your purchase.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.