Figure in the Cost of Ownership
Special to Northeast Texan
“Hey, Disaster Guy! You going to buy that bass boat for Christmas?” Red asked.
“I think not, Red,” the Disaster Guy said. “I’d like to have it, but I don’t think I can afford to own it.”
“Look, Disaster Guy, you’ve got money saved up. You’re getting older. You can afford to buy a bass boat with all the trimmings!” Red said.
“You’re right, I can afford to buy it,” the Disaster Guy said. “I just can’t afford to own it.”
“’You – can’t – afford – to – own – it?’” Red asked. “What does that mean?”
“Red, let me give you an example – the $1,000 dachshund puppy,” the Disaster Guy said. “He didn’t start out as a $1,000 puppy. Actually, he was a gift, so it cost nothing to purchase him.”
“Then how did a gift dog become a $1,000 dachshund?” Red asked.
“The dog needed puppy shots and rabies shots, which cost $200,” the Disaster Guy said. “Dog collar, dog license, and fitted tubular sweaters added another $75. He was now a $275 dachshund.”
“All went well until the little dog missed a step going downstairs. He broke his left front leg. Setting the leg, making a doggie-sized cast, and 6 weeks of veterinary appointments cost $400,” the Disaster Guy said. “He was now a $675 dachshund.”
“I agree, $675,” Red said. “But that’s no $1,000.”
“Oh, there’s more!” the Disaster Guy said. “Later the dog dislodged a hip, which was fixed in place surgically for another $350. That made the dog a $1,025 dachshund.”
The Cost of Ownership
“Red it wasn’t the purchase price that made the dog a $1,025 dachshund. It was the cost of ownership,” the Disaster Guy said. “All too often, we don’t consider these extra costs when we consider buying something. It’s the truth, though – it costs us to own something.”
“Never thought of that!” Red said. “How else does that apply?”
“Take flares, for example,” the Disaster Guy said. “On the Internet, I found 4 red flares for an Olin flare gun for $35. When I went to checkout, they wanted another $22 for tax and shipping. That’s $57 for four flares!”
“Eventually I bought them in a big sporting goods store for $24, including tax. It was cheaper to buy locally because the shipping costs were part of a larger order made by the store,” he said. “The individual cost of the flares was less because the store-bought large amounts of flares, instead of buying four at a time. The store passed all these savings on to me, lowering my cost of ownership.”
“One more try!” Red said. “I think I almost understand this!”
“Okay, consider that the cost of ownership applies to more than just physical possessions,” the Disaster Guy said. “If my wife and I did not have children, we could have rented one-bedroom apartments instead of buying houses.”
“We could have driven sports cars instead of buying vehicles that could carry five people, a dog, and 36 cubic feet of children’s gear,” he said. “We would have spent a lot less money on food, clothing, insurance, doctors, and so forth.”
“Well, yeah, I can see that,” Red said. “Raising kids is expensive.”
Cost of Ownership Does Not End When Kids Leave Home
“You don’t get it yet,” the Disaster Guy said. “Nobody told me that the cost of ownership does not end when the kids grow up and leave home.”
“There’s trade school or college tuition, books, a car for each kid, rent or dorm costs while at school, food or cafeteria privileges, and the usual cell phones, clothing, shoes, and dental work,” he said.
“I’m not there yet,” Red said.
“When the kids get their first real job, somebody has to move their stuff to their new location. They’ll need help with an apartment deposit or a house down payment,” the Disaster Guy said. “If there’s an emergency, guess who they call?”
“When my children have children, there are more expenses. I never asked my parents for money to help raise my kids, but it happens nowadays,” he said. ”Kids come first. That’s why I’ll never get that bass boat.”
“I have to get Christmas gifts for my spouse, 3 of my children, 3 of their spouses, 10 of my grandchildren, 3 of their spouses, and 2 great-grandchildren,” the Disaster Guy said. “The truth is, with your kids, the cost of ownership doesn’t end when your kids grow up and leave home.”
“When does the cost of ownership for kids end?” Red asked.
The Disaster Guy said, “I think it ends when you die.”
A Merry Christmas from the Disaster Guy! For more information on emergency preparedness or disaster survival, go to www.DisasterGuy.com and download the free Tips. You may contact the Disaster Guy by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.