Economists use the term utility to refer to the satisfaction, pleasure, or enjoyment received from consumption of goods and services. It may seem odd at first, but it's important to remember that utility is pure satisfaction or pleasure from consumption, and so does not depend on the price paid. In other words, you would receive the same utility from receiving a new car whether you paid $30,000 for it or it was a gift. Economists aren't completely insane, we know free is better and we'll see later how the concept of consumer's surplus explains why you'd much rather get it for free, even though your utility is the same.
Our analysis of consumer behavior starts from the basic assumption that consumers are utility maximizers. By this we mean simply that they choose their consumption bundles in a way that gives them the most satisfaction available given their incomes and current prices. Maximizing utility doesn't require any knowledge of economics, it simply means purchasing those goods and services most preferred among those which are affordable. It would be strange if consumers behaved any other way.
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