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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

a confession + considering cost per wear

Please don't hate me, but I'm home from work for another day due to Nemo/blizzard cleanup. It would be quite fitting for me to insert an outfit photo in today's post, however I need to be honest and tell you I haven't been wearing outfits (not to mention taking an outfit photo outside is less than ideal)! The good news is that I have been getting dressed, I just wouldn't really classify leggings and long sweaters as outfit worthy when I have barely left the house since Thursday.

On Friday and Saturday I wore the exact same thing and didn't even leave the house. Oh wait, I did get a picture of that 'outfit' to document hitting 19 weeks. Thank you, Instagram!

Now that I confessed a bad habit that can develop from being cooped up in the house for days on end, I do have a special treat for you today. My friend, Ginna of My Pretty Pennies, a lifestyle blog with a focus on frugal living. I really love her take on shopping (read on!) and will have to keep this idea in mind next time I'm perusing the stores. Take it away, Ginna!


I've become a little schizophrenic when I go shopping. I look at an article of clothing, like a sweater, and ten thoughts start running in my head simultaneously: Do I like this? Is this timeless or trendy? Will it be out of season next year? Is it worth buying for just one season? Do I have something to pair with this in my closet? How many outfits could I make with this? Is this worth buying? I wonder when this will go on sale? Will I regret not getting it if I leave?

Shopping makes me tired.

One thing I like to consider, that normally answers all those questions, is called "Cost per Wear."

Have you ever heard of it? You basically take the total cost of the item you're buying and divide it by the estimated times you will wear it.

Let's take your all-time favorite designer jeans: You got them on sale for $60, but that still seemed like a lot of money to spend at one time. You wore them at least twice a week for a whole year. After a year, divide the number of times you wore them (about 105), by the original amount, which means it cost just $0.57 each time you wore them. Not bad for designer jeans!

On the other hand, you also bought some cheaper jeans that were only $30. You wore them a few times, but found that at the end of the day they would stretch too much, weren't very flattering and didn't fit that well. You ended up wearing them a whopping five times before ignoring them at the bottom of your drawer and opting for that nice-fitting pair. Those cost you $6 each time you wore them. So even though they were cheaper, it cost more money in the long run because they didn't last.

Now, I'm not arguing that you only need to buy expensive, quality clothes all the time, but I do think it's important to think about the way you shop. For me, it's hard to justify spending a lot of money on one thing, so I tend to skimp out and get the cheapest option. But then I find myself replacing them more often and having a closet or dresser full of clothes I don't love.

Do you have any shortcuts for saving money on clothes? Are you as crazy about making shopping decisions as me? :) 

-- Learn more budgeting tips at Ginna's class "Basic (non-scary) Budgeting" on the Influence Network Feb. 20th at 9:00 EST/6:00PST.
Ginna Neel is the writer behind My Pretty Pennies, a lifestyle / personal finance blog inspiring women that you don't have to be rich to live a rich life. You can follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page, or follow her photos on Instagram for the latest updates, resources, and a peek into her life in Raleigh, NC, with her husband and puppy. For more financial tips, check out her 31 Days to Financial Freedom series.


  1. I totally do this!! If I find an item I like and think it might be too expensive, I figure in cost per wear and it helps to either justify it or not. It makes total sense to me.

    ps. I like that scarf your wearing :)

  2. I did this when I had a string of cheap purses that wore out quickly. I figured out how much I was paying per use of the cheap purse, then bought a nice purse and figured out how long it had to last to be a better value than the cheap ones. I've somewhat lost track at this point and can't remember if I'm 6 months past the better value stage, or a year and six months. Its still going good though, and I know that I can invest in a good purse whenever I want without worry.

  3. Wow, I never thought of doing this! What a great suggestion! I do have a pair of Dansko clogs that I bought so long ago, and at the time I justified the price by saying that I would have them and wear them forever, which I have and I do. It's a really good mindset to have!

  4. I started doing this... I splurged on a pair of jeans I wear three times a week and a pair of flats. The flats are SO comfortable and I wear them all the time and unlike a cheapo pair of target flats, they don't hurt my feet and have lasted awhile! I do have some things in my closet, that while cheap, I rarely wear.

    My tips: somethings, like t-shirts, cardigans, accessories, can be purchased cheap. Other things shoes, jeans and pants, are worth paying more for.

  5. #1 - Hello! I just found you by clicking through Ginna's blog.
    #2 - I clicked through because I'm incredibly guilty of buying cheap, not wearing it, and eventually buying what I originally wanted anyway. Totally hear you.
    #3 - I just read your "about me" - small world! I'm originally an EB girl.

  6. what a cute picture! you look adorable! i always buy things super cheap and if it isn't I debate about it for a long time!!


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