From The Simple Dollar:
I have a quick four question quiz for you to run through in your head. Just give your snap response to these – don’t think about each one too much.
What is a wedding supposed to cost?
What is an automobile supposed to cost?
What is a home supposed to cost?
What is a three week vacation for a family of four supposed to cost?
For each of these questions, you came up with a number of some sort. That number is based on your own life experience coupled with what you’ve observed others doing and also the influence that media has had on you. That number, in other words, is your “mental anchor” for what that item should cost – and it’s often the basis of judging whether something is reasonable in price or not.
Of course, anyone who has read The Simple Dollar for long probably recognizes one thing immediately: that anchor price is nothing more than a sticker on the box. It doesn’t represent what you’d ever actually need to or have to pay.