Thursday, October 9, 2014

The "hidden" Cost of Use

What am I referring to in the title my savvy saving friends? 

If you guessed the hidden cost is referring to "wear and tear" then you win!!! 

Oh.  You seem disappointed.  Maybe you have already left the page and clicked on the next funny cat video in your que, but if you are still with me let me explain...

Every time you use an item, it slowly begins to devalue.  Many people often look at what the item costs to operate initially and not what the item costs to operate in the long haul.

For Example... Opening the garage door.  Millions of people have electronic garage door openers.  I mean c'mon!  They are freaking awesome and a great luxury item to own.  If I didn't own one I would have to open my own garage door every time I wanted out or in. 

We don't really treat the garage door opener like a luxury item though do we?  We hit that button like it is going out of style.  Get home, garage door goes up/garage door goes down.  Wife gets home, garage door goes up/garage door goes down.  Playing with the kids outside or running an errand?  No problemo man, just press the magic button.

The super frugal people out their may cringe at the energy usage, but for the most part we go about our lives hitting the button like its part of the wack-a-mole game from chucky cheese.  Then one day our fantasy world comes to a screeching halt. 

The motor breaks, the spring looses tension, or other various parts wear out.  Well what the bleepity bleep happened you think as you thumb the phone book looking for a repair guy.  Or maybe you are a frugalpants and plan to just get the parts and fix the door by yourself (By the way, I have helped with garage door repair and it isn't as fun as it sounds and is quite dangerous to boot).  "These things happen" you might say noting that "stuff just isn't made as well as it used to be."

All of these wise words may be true or they may not be.  What is true is that you can can actually save yourself some heartache by limiting your use of an item!  In our example instead of opening the garage door and closing it multiple times an evening, maybe once would do.  It will take some extra thought at first but eventually it will become a habit and save major wear and tear on the door.

Too often in our society however, we don't think like this.  Got wet clothes...throw them into the dryer.  Don't want to wait to drop off a book or movie/run an errand...hop in your car.  Don't want to re-use a glass all day...throw it into the dishwasher.

I know that some items are made cheaper, but the majority of wear and tear that causes an item to break is unnecessary use.  Sure we all like to conserve energy, but what about actually conserving the item?  Using an item less means less wear and tear, which in turn means a longer more efficient life.  Once you get the hang of thinking like this down, it won't be long before you too are avoiding unnecessary use of items.  This will of course, lead to saving money down the line when you don't have to replace your older but well cared for model or item.

....This article was inspired by thoughts in my head, as I opened the garage door:)