for many of us, we have a limited budget to work with when curating our wardrobes and thanks to rising inflation this budget has likely shrunk. with the constant new arrivals popping up it can be hard to know what pieces we should invest in and which ones to pass on. one of the tools i like to use when deciding whether, or not to buy something (particularly if it’s on the pricier end) is the cost:joy ratio.
here’s how it works! the cost:joy ratio compares the amount of use you’ll get out of an item to its price. if an item has a high cost:joy ratio, then it is likely a smart place to spend your money. these will be things that you use all the time, fit just right, and are in your colour palette. if the cost:joy ratio is low and the price is high, then probably pass on this piece, but if the price is also low it might still be justifiable (says it’s a trendy piece you might wear for a season, or two, but it’s only $30).
items with extremely high cost:joy ratios i like to call “gold items”. these are staple pieces in your favourite style and colour that you feel like were made just for you! gold items will always be safe investments.
of course this system isn’t fool proof and i still make mistakes!! this is one tool that i use to at least make me stop and pause before hitting “checkout now”. in combination with a few other things (knowing my uniform, having a colour palette, etc) the cost:joy ratio has helped me make fewer mistakes (and waste less precious money!)
here are a few examples of this in action:
1. the free people ottoman sweater
i have this in 4 colours!! it is on the pricier side, but i wear one of them at least weekly because i find them SO comfortable and i feel like myself in them. for me, this is absolutely a gold item and worth every single penny
makes me sad to even write this, but i’m all about being honest here! this dress has become iconic and i got swept up in it and bought one last year. it’s $150 USD plus duties, so definitely on the pricier end, but sadly i haven’t worn it since i bought it (ugh!!). i love the shape with the flutter sleeves and smocked bodice, but honestly there are many similar dresses for much much lower price tags. i also bought it in a pink stripe when i probably should have at least chosen the blue botanical to maximize the chances of it being a success (i know seems so obvious in retrospect!). you live and you learn, but this was definitely a mistake purchase.
so there’s how the cost:joy ratio works! i hope it helps you to sort through all of the items out there to find your gold items and make fewer mistakes