How To Work Out If Something Is Worth Spending Money On

I’m really not a spendthrift when it comes to possessions, never have been.

In fact, when it has come to blowing money over the years I’ve been much more guilty of filling the pockets of my local pub landlords and restaurant owners, than trying to keep up with the trend as a dedicated follower of fashion or chasing the latest tech craze.

Notoriously I’m an “only replace it if it’s definitely broken beyond repair” type of guy – or a tight arse as PK prefers to call me.

However, when there is something I want or need I have a method I use to determine whether it’s worth putting my hand in my pocket and worth spending money on.

It helps to come to a quick decision instead of dithering and considering it forever and a day, as wasting time is no less a crime than wasting money in my book- it’s precious right?

How do you know when something is worth spending money on?

How much will you use it?

It was my birthday last week and originally I had asked PK to get me a pasta maker.

Obviously I hadn’t considered the release date of FIFA 18, however I quickly rectified my error by waking him up to tell him I’d changed my mind – the timing didn’t go well but at least I saved him a couple of trips!

£52 might seem like a lot for a thrifty ninja like my good self, that is until you consider how much FIFA will get played between now and October 2018 in my gaff.

Let’s say I’ll play on FIFA 18 for an average of two hours per day for at least 351 of the 365 days of the next year (not an exaggerated estimate), that’s 702 hours of entertainment at a cost of 7p per hour –  FIFA is definitely worth spending money on for me.

Try working out the cost of the item divided by the usage, the price tag is not the only factor you should take into account.

If you’re going to make good use of something it can be considered worth the outlay, regardless of if the price sometimes sounds a bit steep.

You get what you pay for

When you’re watching your cash it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying cheap goods.

Spending £40 on a pair of shoes that are going to last is better than replacing cheaper alternatives several times a year.

Apply the usage rule above too.

If those shoes are for work five times a day then it’s well worth the outlay.

I always apply the same principals in the kitchen too, as whenever I’ve bought cheap appliances before you can guarantee they don’t last long, in my experience anyway.

If you need something to stand the test of time, it may well be worth spending a bit more as it’ll save you money in the long run, just don’t spend a year making the decision!

Do I need to buy a brand new one?

The older I get, the more I give consideration to pre-loved items when I’m in need of something.

Take this year as an example.

I had searched high and low for a nice dining table that wouldn’t require me to flog the family silver to be able to afford it – there was nothing I could find ANYWHERE!

After my epic failure of searching every furniture shop in the land, I trawled through Facebook buy, sell and swap pages and found a little belter.

Total cost? £20!

You can get considerably more for your money if you buy pre-owned, so think long and hard about buying new first, but using the rule above, consider how much you will use it as a rule of thumb.

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Sometimes the pursuit of living a thrifty, frugal lifestyle can lead to an awful lot of time being wasted on decision making.This is why I have a simple method of working out whether or not something is worth spending money on. Why don't you give it a try and free up your precious time too?!

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David Naylor is the editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. An award winning personal finance and lifestyle blogger, he shows how it is possible to live extremely well for less.
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17 thoughts on “How To Work Out If Something Is Worth Spending Money On

  1. I need this post so much. When it comes to buying clothes, I use the $1 rule. For every x dollar that I spend, will I wear the piece x amount of times! It becomes very useful in my spending decisions.

  2. >How much will you use it?

    Ha. This is something a lot of people really need to learn, and not just when it comes to things they buy for themselves but things for their kids too.

    “Wow a $250 train table will be so cool! They’ll be so excited to get it!”

    Sure but how much will they actually play with it? Probably once, ever, and then it will sit there taking up space unused, and you’ll be desperately trying to dump it on someone else on craigslist because you’re tired of it taking up a quarter of the room when the kids don’t even play with it.
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