Cheap versus Good Value
Posted by Gail | Filed under Smart Shopper
When you’re trying to save money, there’s always this debate about the difference between buying cheap and getting good value. There are some things that you should never buy cheap. Both my children have weird feet so I always buy them good quality shoes and boots. I found that if I went with the discount department store option I’d save money but they ended up not walking properly in them. And I don’t skimp on outwear; I hate that cold that turns you numb!
There are definitely things that I’d never pay big money for because I know I can get a cheaper version at a discount department store or even at the dollar store: gift bags, those scarves and mittens that seem to just disappear into Nowhere-land each winter, and novelty items that I’ll use only once or twice.
When I’m trying to decide whether to go with value or go cheap, it isn’t really about what I pay for a thing, but more about how much I pay per use. So if I’m going to use something a lot, and I need it to last, I’m prepared to hunt around for the best price on something that’s of higher quality. If it’s a once-and-done use – or there ‘bouts – hey, cheap will do fine.
While the old adage, “You get what you pay for” is hauled out a lot to justify spending more, sometimes it’s just an old adage. I’d no more pay $500 for a handbag with a name on it than punch myself in the face. And while you can try to convince me that the quality is better, when I hear that those handbags are being made in the same factories by the same people as the discounted versions that sell in less-expensive stores, I don’t see the point. Besides, it is the very people who have a $500 purse who also have 4 or 5 purses of equally “quality.” There’s $2,000-$2,500 I’d rather contribute to my kids’ educational savings plans or my own retirement savings plan.
As for laying out big money on items I only use on occasion, I don’t see the point. So that power-washer to get my deck clean in the spring? I can borrow that from my girlfriend Annie, and offer her a lovely tin of tea in return. Usage cost: $6. Annie is happy to share and I’m happy to have a cuppa with my friend after a day of power-washing.
I know that we’ve gotten into the habit of having every convenience at our finger-tips, but if you’re going to have to shell out big bucks for a once-a-year use item, I don’t think you’re actually getting value for your money, no matter how long that sumthin’ lasts. And if everything has to be name-brand because you think that paying more will mean you’ll get more, you may be deluding yourself.
What are your “value” items: things you won’t spend a lot of money on? And what won’t you scrimp on because you believe that cheaping out just won’t cut it?