What Is Opportunity Cost And How to Calculate It?

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In our modern world, location are endless alternatives. Therefore, it’s difficult to take an opportunity that is correct for you. Have you ever recovered yourself wondering whether you should discontinue aliases enactment successful your job, judge an connection aliases springiness it up for another, aliases acquisition aliases past without? Do you cognize nan costs aliases opportunity you tin summation erstwhile you take 1 from different other?

There is simply a elemental and applicable method that solves this problem. It’s astir uncovering retired nan opportunity cost. When you understand opportunity cost, you person nan powerfulness to measurement each replacement pinch precision and make nan correct decisions.

What is Opportunity Cost?

In nan section of economics, opportunity costs is nan worth that you person to forgo erstwhile you take an action complete different bully option. It is simply a conception you tin use successful galore situations, from deciding which projects you should prosecute to spending clip pinch loved ones alternatively of moving overtime. Most group place opportunity costs because nan benefits are usually hidden from view.

One of nan cardinal principles of economics is location is nary specified point arsenic free luncheon aliases thing for nothing. The resources that you person – time, autonomy, and money are scarce. Choosing 1 will require you to forego tons of astonishing opportunities.

Every replacement has a unsocial group of pros and cons. The simplest examples impact your regular purchases. Since you cannot bargain everything you need, you thin to comparison products, nan magnitude of money you’ll pay, and nan number of equipment that you’ll get.

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To boost your productivity and ratio successful determination making, you person to person priorities. Every clip you take something, you forgo different alternatives together pinch their benefits. The existent costs of thing is what you’ll person to springiness up to get.

Why You Should Care About Opportunity Cost

When economists look astatine opportunity cost, they see 2 types:

  • Explicit – These are costs that are incurred erstwhile you return a circumstantial people of action. These costs are usually associated pinch a decision. And they see wages, banal purchases, utilities, and rent to sanction a few. Any magnitude that is required to move owed to a determination falls nether this category.
  • Implicit – These are costs that you whitethorn aliases whitethorn not incur by forgoing a people of action. They are difficult to place because they are indirect. They correspond benefits aliases income that you could person generated had you gone for nan replacement choice.

Opportunity costs matters not only successful economics but besides successful existent life. It is what you are giving up to get something. For instance, by choosing to bargain a peculiar brand, you suffer nan opportunity to bargain and effort each different substitutes.

Another immense dilemma that affects a batch of group is choosing to commencement a business aliases beforehand their careers. At first, nan costs of starting a caller business tin make you deliberation doubly astir pursuing this path. Yet, starting a business comes pinch tons of opportunities. On nan different hand, advancing your profession tin alteration you to create caller skills and get up successful life. However, you’ll easy announcement that entrepreneurs thin to execute much of what they want than those who are employed.

If you take to commencement a business, you’ll person a harder clip compared to those who take to beforehand their careers. However, successful nan agelong term, you’ll execute your goals. Analyzing specified situations will thief you understand nan conception of opportunity costs and make nan champion determination without overmuch effort.

How Opportunity Cost Relates to nan Production Possibilities Curve

The Production Possibilities Curve is simply a exemplary that demonstrates nan tradeoffs linked to allocating resources betwixt nan accumulation of 2 commodities. The Production Possibilities Curve intelligibly illustrates nan concepts of scarcity, opportunity cost, efficiency, and contractions.
For instance, opportunity a head splits her activity hours betwixt meetings and completing her tasks. This Production Possibilities Curve would show her productivity complaint utilizing nan disposable resources:

Production Possibilities Curve

If she uses 3 hours for meetings, she tin only do 4 tasks. However, if she gives up 2 hours of gathering time, she tin complete 10 tasks. The 2 hours she gives up for gathering make room for completing much tasks – that is nan opportunity cost.

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You should support successful mind that not each costs is monetary. Opportunity costs is usually expressed successful position of really overmuch a product, service, aliases activity must beryllium forgone to nutrient a bully aliases prosecute an activity. For instance, if you determine to bargain a caller phone, nan costs of this activity isn’t conscionable what you’ll salary for but nan worth of nan forgone alternative, specified arsenic signing up for a self-improvement course.

Examples of Opportunity Cost

You cannot person everything you want successful life. Your unlimited wants will ever beryllium confronted by a constricted proviso of time, services, money, goods, and opportunities. Scarcity forces america to make choices, and by hold incur costs and forgo alternatives. Here are 2 elemental opportunity costs examples:

  • Your leader gives you $600 arsenic a convey you gift. You tin either spell for a picnic aliases be a seminar to create caller skills. You take to be nan seminar. In this situation, nan opportunity costs is nan vacation.
  • You person been redeeming money for 10 years now. When you cheque your account, you recognize that you person $10,000. You want to put nan money to get amended returns. You person to take betwixt depositing it successful a slope to gain liking aliases investing successful yourself to summation your productivity astatine work. Choosing nan banal marketplace will let you to multiply your money faster. However, your opportunity costs is nan improvement of important skills that would thief you move guardant successful different aspects of your life.

How to Calculate Opportunity Cost (Step-by-Step)

To lick mathematics problems, you request to usage formulas. While calculating opportunity costs mightiness look for illustration a mathematics problem, location is nary defined mathematics formula. As we said earlier, opportunity costs is nan worth of nan forgone alternative. The worth tin beryllium measured successful time, money, and satisfaction. Therefore, location is simply a mathematical measurement to deliberation of opportunity costs.

A elemental measurement to cipher opportunity costs is to find nan ratio of what you are giving up to what you are gaining. When you deliberation of opportunity costs successful this manner, everything becomes easy.

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Opportunity Cost = What You Give Up / What You Gain

In nan world of business, nan conception of opportunity costs applies successful various processes. Entrepreneurs tin deliberation of opportunity costs successful this manner:

Opportunity Cost = Revenue – Economic Profit

To understand opportunity costs successful nan business world, you request to cognize what economical profit is. Economic profit is nan money that a business makes aft deducting some implicit and definitive costs. The thought is that business needs to make gross complete opportunity costs to turn and thrive.

If an statement cannot gain an economical profit, it will yet fail. The business proprietor will person to time off nan business and nan disposable resources will beryllium put to different uses.

For nan mostly of people, it makes consciousness to deliberation of opportunity costs from nan facet of sacrificing and gaining. You should usage opportunity costs erstwhile making decisions, particularly nan important ones.

Using opportunity costs calculations will let you to find what is valuable and place nan returns of nan forgone alternative. As an entrepreneur, you should usage opportunity costs to make decisions that will positively effect your business and summation returns.

How to Implement nan Concept of Opportunity Cost?

As you person seen, astir situations successful life revolve astir opportunity cost. Every clip you make a choice, you automatically suffer different alternatives that you could person chosen. This is really you create priorities that power your decision-making process.

Opportunity costs does not ever revolve astir money. We make sacrifices for things that person nary beingness price. Research studies person shown that group make decisions based connected their emotions.

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There are tons of hidden costs that opportunities tin have, and each determination has a cost. The costs could either beryllium nonstop aliases indirect.

For example, Netflix doesn’t costs you $15.49, it really costs your time; societal media isn’t free, it costs your focus; and a fast-food combo repast doesn’t conscionable costs you $7.99, it costs your health. Or for instance, moving complete clip doesn’t conscionable costs your hours, but your fulfilling family relationship.


As you person seen, each action you’ll return has an opportunity cost. You should ever comparison each economical opportunity and take nan action pinch minimal costs. However, erstwhile making individual decisions, things mightiness not beryllium straightforward.

Opportunities tin person akin costs owed to affectional aliases individual reasons. In specified instances, having a clear cognition and utilizing nan tips that we’ve covered present will thief you make nan correct decisions and boost your productivity.

Featured photograph credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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