The more I thought about this post idea, the more important I decided it was. If I want to make better purchases in the future, I should figure out what a “better purchase” actually means for me (besides regular bills and investments, obviously!). After a little thought, I decided that a great purchase should fall in one of these categories: (1) low cost per use (2) significantly improves daily happiness (3) makes life easier, healthier or more efficient
I really had to be honest with myself when writing this post. Most purchases I’ve made have not met any of these criteria. Especially clothes and shoes. I wrote a brief reflection at the end.
- Garment Steamer – I bought this steamer over a year ago and just love it. Its extremely quick and easy to use. It heats up in minutes and lets out enough steam to make nearly every wrinkle disappear in seconds or less. I have no idea how much its saved me in dry cleaning costs, but its substantial. Cost analysis: $0.83 per item steamed
- Lenovo PC – I purchased my Lenovo T500 back in my last year of college, making my computer 4-5 years old. It was affordable when I purchased it, and it has aged beautifully. I’ve had no problems with it, other than the battery losing charge after a few years. I’m saving up for my next pc, which I’ll probably buy in about a year. The top contender right now is Lenovo’s YOGA 13. Cost analysis: $0.44 per day
- Hair Cuts – I’m the worst at getting regular cuts & colors. I probably go 4 times per year, max. But after my appointments I feel so much better about my appearance. Its such a great pick-me-up. Cost analysis: $1.44 per day
- Winter Coat – I am always cold. Winters here are unbearable for me without a super toasty coat. Almost four years ago I invested in the Arcteryx Fission SV coat, the warmest coat I’ve ever owned by far. I bought it in the summer and got it for over 65% off. Its looking a little old and dingy now, so it’ll have to be replaced. But it held up beautifully. Cost analysis: $0.78 per wear (frequent wear for about 4 months per year)
- Yoga Mat, Kettlebells, Ab Wheel, Resistance Bands, Jump Rope – For about $100 I can make up tons of challenging workouts with great variety. Since my apartment has treadmills and ellipticals, I essentially will never need a gym membership (other than a class here or there to steal new ideas from), and saving on monthly gym fees really adds up. Cost analysis: $0.29 per workout (~3 workouts per week, equipment lasts about 2 years)
- Flat Iron & Hair Dryer – I don’t have high end hair appliances. I find that mid-level ones work just fine for me. I get them at TJ Maxx, which is where I always have gone for them. A $40 hair dryer and $30 flat iron really pay off! Cost analysis: $0.17 per use (every few days, they last a few years)
- Travel Mug – 100% worth every penny. These keep my coffee hot for hours. I’m very against going out for coffee (even hospital coffee is expensive), and these save me from even having to think about making a mid-morning coffee run! (same story for the water bottle & lemon water!)
These make me happy:
- Kittens – Nobody gets pets because they’re cheap. But they definitely bring an unparallelled excitement to my house every day. Wouldn’t trade that for anything.
- Books – I love reading. I don’t have a tv, and even if I did, I’d still prefer reading a good book. They’re pretty darn cheap and I can get weeks of happiness from each one, depending on how fast I speed through them! I also love learning new things, and you can find a book on just about anything.
- Candles – A relaxing aroma can make a stressful day a little more bearable. Simple as that.
Things that make life easier/ healthier/ more efficient:
- A Great Blender – I’m a bit of a heath nut. I starting drinking fruit smoothies about two years ago and have since expanded to include green smoothies. These things are wonderful. Such a yummy way to get in a few extra veggies. And I feel great after I drink them. A good blender is expensive, but very much worth it for health reasons! I do love mine, but if I had money for a Vitamix I wouldn’t hesitate!
- A Reliable Vacuum – This was a must after I got the fuzzballs. I could’ve bought a cheap one, but the one I have is so suction-y!! Its light, easy to use and easy to clean. I use it extremely often.
Conclusions: Every purchase I make has to be more thought out, but as a guideline for fashion purchases…
I should probably be saving for:
- Quality outerwear, especially given that I’m moving to a colder city
- Closet staples like nude pumps, basic cardigans, fine jewelry. Cost analysis: $1.00- $3.00+ per wear
- Workout gear as needed. Cost analysis: $0.10- $1.00+ per wear
I should probably avoid spending money on:
- Most clothes, actually. The majority of my clothes are not worn enough to decrease their cost per wear substantially. I won’t have time to sell things like I do now, come June. Less is more. I should try the “2 item per month max” challenge (within my budget).
- Most shoes. I don’t even need as many shoes as I have (about 15 pairs). Just because a shoe is a great deal does not mean that I suddenly need it.
- Designer bags at retail. No bag is ever worth its retail price. I should buy it used so I can sell it at less of a loss, making its cost per use more reasonable. (Bags are the one item that I will continue to sell/ consign)
If you made it through, thanks for reading this!! What are your best purchases?