Posted by Tim Stobbs on November 21, 2008
Is it me or do you find it hard to recall the last time you kept something until it broke? I mean now a days we end up ‘upgrading’ the item before it wears out. You could try to sell your old item to allow someone else to reuse it but likely it will end up in the trash.
So here’s a challenge for everyone. Try to use your stuff until it breaks for a change of pace. Now beyond the obvious saying raw materials from the environment to make a new one for you. You also extend the time you keep the item and reduce it’s cost of use.
Here’s a couple of examples for you. First off I got married back in 2000 when we got two new fry pans. Now one of those pans was slightly smaller and just about the perfect size for most of our cooking. So I would estimate I used that pan every second day for the last eight years until recently where the coating on the pan was breaking apart and everything was sticking it it. Now we got it as a gift, but let’s assume I paid about $30 for that pan. Our cost per use was about $30/ ((365/2)*8) = $0.02. Had we upgraded it four years ago we would have double of cost per use.
A second example is two round tables we bought at Walmart for our second apartment back in 2002. We also bought some cloth covers for them. They were the cheap $14 ones made of MDF and some wooden legs. I just bought their replacements last night. I would estimate I’ve fixed both tables at these once to keep them going over the last 6 years. Both of them are used daily as they are in the perfect spot to put my coffee when I’m either in the living room or family room. So our cost per use for each table is $14/(365*6) = $0.006. So I told my wife I hope she loves them because to keep our cost per use the same we have to keep these ones for the next 30 years (but they are well build wood ones with a nice finish that could match anything, so it is possible).
So the longer you keep things the cheaper their use becomes to you. Afterall, stuff doesn’t typically give lots of happiness, but experience does. So keep using the same stuff and save the money to go on a cool trip instead.
So what have you used until it broke?