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Finding Worth in What You Buy

Finding Worth in What You Buy

Angela Colley

Via iStock

Via iStock

Since we live in a world where we can shop 24/7, at the push of a dash button, deciding what to buy and what not to buy can be tricky.

You might say the answer is easy: whether something is “worth it.” But as The Billfold’s Megan Reynolds explains, the phrase can be misleading:

“I tell myself that the things I buy are worth it all the time. A cab is worth it. An overpriced fancy seltzer is worth it. A pair of very warm slippers, purchased at an airport kiosk before a flight you don’t really want to be on is definitely worth it. The leather jacket you bought with a frighteningly-quick decisiveness is definitely worth it.”

Sometimes, we are able to pair worth with value by relatively simple calculations. Say, for example, you know you’ll spend about 30 hours playing a video game you bought for $55. Calculated out, you’ll spend roughly $1.83 per hour on your entertainment, which doesn’t sound like much at all.

But it’s not always that easy, defining the actual worth of something is often subjective, factoring in personal circumstances. Sure, you may not use something forever, or even for 30 hours, but there might be times when that’s OK. 

“Worth is relative; the thing you bought that you used once or twice and let sit in a corner for the rest of its time was worth it if it served a very specific purpose in the moment. If the umbrella I bought during a deluge from Walgreens for $14 made it so that I could walk 10 blocks in the pouring rain without sacrificing my computer, then that $14 was money well spent.”

You might not always make the best decision in the longterm, but doing an “is it worth it?” gut check before purchases large and small can help your spending stay on track, or at least give you permission to cut yourself some slack.   

Want to learn more about worth? Check out Reynolds’ full article “Is It Worth It?” at The Billfold

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