NPV in Your Own Life (Discussion)

Business Finance

NPV in Your Own Life

Reading about Net Present Value (NPV) for this module, you probably thought of it as a technique used only by corporations. But the technique may also apply to your own purchases.

You may have heard a salesperson tell you, “This product pays for itself!” While this is probably rare for most products, sometimes there are future savings from certain products that will offset some of the costs. For example, if you buy a newer, more reliable, and more fuel-efficient car, it may save you on repair bills and gas prices compared with your old car. If you are a coffee connoisseur, buying a $100 espresso machine might save you money compared with constantly buying $4 drinks at your local Starbucks.

Think of a purchase you are planning to make or have recently made. How much did it cost? How much per year do you think you will save from this purchase, and for how many years will you get these savings? Estimate the present value of the savings, and subtract the cost of the product. Note that it is rare that any purchase will “pay for itself” (e.g., have a positive NPV). But are the savings enough that the product becomes a lot “cheaper” and more worthwhile for you to buy?

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