Buy What You Love - Cost Per Use Tool

January 12, 2023

As we continue to refresh our financial goals for the New Year, popular budget tools like “Cost Per Use” can help you decide if your purchases are worth it. Read more to learn about this tool and how it can impact your wallet.

The Formula 

The Cost Per Use formula is based on exactly what the name says. Before purchasing an item, estimate how often you’re likely to use it and divide it by the overall cost. For example, if you are buying a book bag for work and plan to use it at least 3 days per week, you can calculate the cost per use.

  • Book Bag Price = $100
  • Use Per Week = 3 days
  • Number of Weeks (accounting for vacation and holidays) = 50 weeks
  • 3 Days x 50 Weeks = 150 Days
  • $100/150 days = $.69 per use

This formula is helpful, especially when making larger purchases. Instead of impulse buying, you can make intentional purchases that will help your wallet in the long run and potentially put more savings in your pocket.     

You can also use this tool for items you already have! It is a great way to see what you’re using, what you need more of, and what you can discard/donate due to lack of use.

Start Small

While the review process can seem overwhelming, start one item at a time and slowly work to add in more purchases. By creating an excel sheet or having a chart for tallying, you can more accurately track your purchases and usage. Also, seeing the cost per use in real-time motivates you with your intentional buying.

Evaluate Your Spending

After three to six months of tracking, review your purchases and see what you are and are not using. You may be surprised to see you barely used those headphones you had to have or watch a streaming station you invested in. This gives you a chance to increase your usage and help make the purchase worth it or decide if it is time part ways.

Budgeting for You 

Cost Per Use budgeting tool is one of many to help you start 2023 with strategy to help you buy what you love and save more. MSUFCU’s Financial 4.0 website can help you find the right budget tool and teach you more about financial wellness.

To learn more about other budget tools, visit

Tags: Budgeting, Tips and Tricks