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"Price per wear" in the New Year

Which items in your closet really are the good deals?
Which items in your closet really are the good deals?
Photo by Phyllis Fang

Whether it's your top New Year's Resolution for 2010 or just a general effect from these tougher economic times lately, the most effective shopping is when you get the best bang for your buck.  Especially around these times, armed with your holiday gift cards and seeing sales left and right, it can be tricky to distinguish a solid investment from a 'good deal'.  Here's a little formula that savvy shoppers often use to help them shop smart called Price Per Wear.

So how does Price Per Wear work?  It's really just some basic arithmetic. 

Let's do an example.  Say you purchased a coat for $250 that you know you'll wear every day for the winter months.  If we approximate that to be about 4 months of the year (~30 days/month x 4 months = 120 days).  Dividing the cost of the coat by the number of times you'd wear it, your price per wear for the coat would be just around $2 per wear! And that's just for this current year, not even counting future winter seasons.

On the flipside, a funky and unique designer top may be a steal at, say $100, but you only wear it twice, it really isn't a great deal.  The price per wear on that item would be $50 per wear. 

Breaking down the cost of an item over time helps you see which items in your closet have been worthwhile purchase, and which ones you thought were a great deal because of their "2 for $25" or "buy one get one 50% off" signs were screaming in your face.  In fact, some of your more expensive purchases may have been the most reasonable even though the initial price tag was higher.

The Price Per Wear formula works well because more expensive items are often made with better construction, higher quality materials, or in a timeless style that will last through many seasons.  Just make sure you don't use this theory to go around justifying every other purchase though... it would defeat the entire purpose of sensible shopping!