Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where the price tag on something is all you'd ever have to pay for it? Unfortunately we don't. So, the next time you buy something important, ask yourself how much it costs after you ask its price.
Photo by Henri Bergius.
As advice author Seth Godin points out, asking something's cost is a lot more complicated than asking its price. You need to figure out or research hidden costs that you might not immediately think of. Whether you're buying a vehicle, a pet, or just getting into a new hobby, the cost is often way higher than the price:
I know what the price tag says. But what does it cost? Does it need dry cleaning? What does it eat? How long does the training take? What happens when it breaks? Where will I store it? What's the productivity increase that justifies the ongoing expense?
The "cost" is probably going to go beyond money, as well. The time you have to spend fixing it, the stress it causes you, or the opportunity cost of not doing something else can all factor into whether or not a particular choice is worth it. More often than not, figuring out something's cost is more important than figuring out its price.
But how much does it cost? [Seth Godin]