Thursday, December 29, 2011

What, Really, is a Bargain?

My faithful friend(s) Merriam-Webster (MW) defines Bargain as 'an advantageous purchase' or 'an transaction, situation, or event regarded in the light of its results'. Umhmmm... remember back years (ok, just weeks, really, possibly just days as this blog is not so old) ago when I mentioned that we would discuss the pros and cons of buying one quality item vs a cheap thrill or multiple 'bargain' items? Remember how I stated (typed, whatever) that this was not a 'buy all you can bonanza', but a concentrated effort to spend less while still meeting your needs, still (most of the time...when you get some sleep and fix your hair) looking fabulous, while putting your money and time towards things that matter?

It's all come to a head- my fantastic cheap thrill $13.00 Bongo jeans from Walmart have a hole on the seam... right outer thigh, about an inch long. I'm sufficiently able with a needle and a thread (as long as it's on a seam, i.e. brown tiered skirt) to fix this little annoyance, but is this a sign of things to come?

They say (I don't know who 'they' are, but we all know them and have heard what 'they say' our entire life) that you can determine the actual price of an item- dress, tool, appliance- by dividing the cost by the number of wears or uses. I purchased the $13.00 jeans on December 10th... in the ensuing 18 days I wore them AT LEAST 5 times that I can remember, not always all day, but at least a few hours each time... and that might be a conservative estimate. Using our 'what they say' equation, the actual cost of the jeans at this point in time is $2.60... and extrapolating (whoa!!! math!!!) those numbers to a 1 year span with an average of 101 wears in that 365 day period, the 'cost' of the jeans would be $0.13 cents.

You might be thinking... well, a little time, effort, needle and thread- not such a big deal! Surely worth it to continue wearing the jeans, prolonging their life span and decreasing their total cost... yes?

We must have a control item (boy oh boy!!! Science and Math both!!! Together in one little blog about STYLE!!!!) Let's take my Silver brand jeans that I purchased in March of 2008- I spent $67.00 on them- a happy birthday to me splurge!!! and have worn them at least 2 times a week for the last 3, almost 4 years (minus the last 6 months of pregnancy and 15 more months of getting back to my 'normal' size). So ( more math, deep breath) Let's say that we had 46 months (march to march of 3 years=36 + march to december of this year =10) minus 15 too big months= 31 months with an average of 4 weeks each/ 2 wears per month for a total of 248 wears. $67.00 divided by 248 leads us to a 'cost' of $0.27 cents for my favorite, faithful denim pal, with nary a rip nor tear.

Sooooo (more math... in through the nose, out through the mouth) already using only 1 years time we can tell that the 'cost' of the cheap thrill is less than the 'cost' of the premium denim, and when you figure the 'cost' per year average of my Silver jeans (12 months, 4 wks/month, 2 wears/week) the 'cost' is $0.70 for premium denim compared to $0.13 for my cheap thrill.

TA-DAH!!!! But... but, but, but will my $13.00 jeans last 3 almost 4 years? if I'm already mending after 18 days will they make it through my rough and tumble wrestling/tackling crazy boys life? What about the repeated washing to remove smashed goldfish, squished grapes, and chewed then chucked chicken pot pie that, if I had to guess, is the cause (the repeated washing, not the well masticated meats) of the hole on the seam of my cheap thrill denim.

We'll have to wait and see... remember, MW, states that you can't really call an item a bargain until you've 'regarded it in the light of it's results'. Come talk to me in 2015 and we'll know for sure. Until then- What item have you worn for YEARS??? Was it a splurge or a steal? Do you think that price reflects quality or are you really just paying for the brand and all it's advertising? hmmm?

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