Definition: Real Cost - Explained

Normally when one mentions 'Real or True Cost' within a purchasing context it refers to a concept that attempts to get at an actual or underlying cost of something. More clearly, it is all the resources, including labor and materials, that are used to create a product or service up to the point of sale. Such is the perspective of a business.

But looking through consumer eyes, it could mean quite another entirely. The real cost of a car, could mean not only the sticker price including tax, but other costs such as depreciation, insurance, maintenance and repairs, even gas, oil and licensing fees in the years ahead. Examples are everywhere. Smart & phones & mobile devices and their stipulated plans and data packages; home ownership, and everything that goes with it; the real cost of living, that for having a baby, and the list goes on and on.

It is a concept not to be taken lightly when hidden charges and sudden fee increases seem to abound. For example, the state of monthly banking fees.


Before making a buy, especially for products and services never before bought, or those rarely purchased, do some research to find the costs involved with procuring, enjoying the use or service of, and any maintenance that might be involved. Making mention here not only of expected fees and charges that are likely to occur, but those to which the seller are bound to provide explicit time durations/intervals at which prices may change or increase, if this is in fact known.

Doing your best to uncover unsuspected costs and holding the seller to them will probably make you glad you did in the future. So it might be best to keep a reference with names and dates.

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