The Difference Between Price and Value
My brother-in-law has a very sensible saying “buy cheap, buy twice”. It means that if you are tempted to buy the cheapest version of an item (eg a pair of shoes, or electrical appliance) then it is likely to break and you’ll end up having to buy another one.
It is better to buy one pair of shoes that will last for a year and cost $100, than to buy four pairs that each last 3 months and cost $30. Not only will you be spending $120 a year for your “cheaper” footwear, but you are also spending more time having to shop for shoes. The $100 pair are also likely to be better for your feet!
I know that if you are on a tight budget, it can be hard to find $100 for a pair of shoes, but if you can manage to do it once it will save you money over time. The quality shoes will wear out more gradually, so you’ll have time to budget for your next pair. I have experienced cheap shoes falling apart instantly when the stitching gives way, or the inflexible material suddenly cracks. If you have constant breakages, it ends up costing you more in the long run.
It seems that in today’s very price conscious society, items are being sold for lower and lower prices. This unfortunately brings the quality of the items down. Brands that used to be quite good quality, are now cutting costs and their quality is falling in line with their price. For example, it is now quite difficult to find decent quality lengths of timber for building a deck. Because all timber yards are competing on price, they are all stocking the lower grades. My husband had to reject a heap of lengths before he found some straight enough for the purpose.
How do you buy quality on a budget?
Look for sales. Here in New Zealand, I would rather buy sheets and towels on sale from Briscoes, or Farmers, than from The Warehouse at full price. The Warehouse has lower prices all the time, but you can get better quality for the same price by waiting for the sales at mid-range stores. The original price (prior to the sale) should give you some idea of the quality of the item. Be aware though that some original prices are inflated to make the sale price look better. Ask yourself if the original price seems reasonable before you place too much weight on how good the sale is.
Consider buying a quality item second-hand for the same price as a cheap new one. This is particularly true for higher priced items, or things that will have heavy use. For example, don’t buy cheap power tools. We took 3 heat guns back to Bunnings one year because they each only gave us one hour’s use! In the end we bought a mid-range Ryobi which we still have.
Recent experience has shown us that an older style reconditioned stove/oven is far better value than a shiny new one. You only have to open the warming drawers on an old oven vs a new one and you can instantly feel the difference in quality.
Appliances these days are not built to last, so if your old appliance is working fine, don’t bother replacing it with a new one. Likewise, if your oven breaks down, consider getting it fixed, or paying half the cost of a new one on a tidy reconditioned one.
You work hard for your money, so make sure you get good value when you spend it.