The $3 Rule

Yesterday while walking around the city in my $300 boots (that I only paid $150 for) I had a thought. I constantly want to buy things - clothing, shoes, accessories - but sometimes it's hard to know when to splurge, when to put the wallet away, and when it's ok to just buy little weird cheapy things. "There should be a mathematical approach to this," I thought to myself, "something logical, something rational, something that won't allow me to buy a faux fur jacket that I'll probably only wear once just because it's only $14." Let's see, what are the things people (read: New Yorkers) spend money on daily and don't blink an eye about:
Fancy coffee drinks from Starbucks (My personal fav: Grande Soy Latte) : Approx $4.50

Single ride Metro Card (for tourists mostly but whatever): $2

Bottle of water: $1
Unless you're in a touristy area like Times Square or Central Park: $2

Booze: $5-$50 in one night.
Ok maybe not daily, but definitely often...probably most weekends.

The point here is, all of these things are consumed once, never to be seen again. So that brings us back to my thought yesterday, as I was walking the streets of NYC in my $300 boots (that I only paid $150 for): How much is one wear of an article of clothing worth? (Note: This includes shoes and accessories). After a few minutes of pondering I settled on $3. So this is where the math/logic/reason comes in.

x = C / T
(where C is cost, T is times of wear, and x should equal roughly $3)

So...assuming I paid full price for my boots, if I wear them at least 100 times, I have gotten my money's worth. If you're at Goodwill and you see a fantastically ugly shirt that you know you can't possibly wear more than once or twice, it damn well better be between $3-$6. Should I have bought that $14 faux fur jacket? Would I have worn it 4-5 times? Hmmm, that's a tough one. That Amy Winehouse wig I bought for $30 for Halloween...definitely not a good investment, unless I plan on being Amy for the next 10 years until I'm 35.
(Amy Winehouse)
Mihal as Amy Winehouse

Eek. Catch my drift? I knew you would. The $3 Rule (patent pending...well no it's not but don't steal my shit) seems to have no holes. It totally supports the high/low theory and it totally supports the idea of spending more on "classic" pieces. It's great for people on a budget who love quality pieces. Would love to hear your thoughts...



maiah said...

hahaha, i think it's totally fine for you to be amy until you're 35.
loving this post, girl!

Unknown said...

You are brilliant!!! You should check out Ted.com and put Daniel Gilbert in the search. He talks about this very subject (sort of) I think you would love it.


Anonymous said...

You are so incredibly clever. Excellent rule of thumb for shopaholics and savers alike.