Things that you shouldn’t buy cheap

QTips-v-GenericBeing frugal does not always mean being cheap. Quite often, by buying cheap products you are setting yourself up to spend more in the long run. There are often times when you should consider saving up more money to buy the better quality products, even if it means holding off on purchasing what you need for a few extra weeks. Buying cheap products (not inexpensive) has been argued to increase the inequality between the rich and poor. See, the smart and frugal man would pay $100 for a pair of boots that will last him 5 years, while the poor man will buy a pair of $30 boots every year for 5 years. The poor man would end up spending twice as much on boots as the smart man over the same time period, and effectively wear an inferior product that would keep his feet wet when it rained, while the smart man walked in comfort and with dry feet (see the below quote for reference). Below is a list of various products and services that you should consider spending the extra money on to save in the long run:

  • Life-time warranty brakes
  • Quality bag or backpack
  • Bed Mattress
  • Lawyer
  • Tools
  • Dental Care
  • PC’s power supply
  • Cheese
  • Suit
  • Orange Juice
  • Computer components
  • Toilet paper
  • Winter Coats
  • Cutlery
  • Sushi
  • Butter
  • Shoes
  • Ketchup
  • Tattoos
  • Eye wear
  • Alcohol
  • Jeans
  • Fabrics and stitching

From Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett:

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to to spend less money. Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet. This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socio-economic unfairness.

What kinds of things do you think you save on in the long run when paying the extra money upfront?

These tips were summarized from a thread over at Reddit.

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2 Comment

  1. I completely agree. My boots must be approaching the 12 year mark or so. I paid $250 for them at the time, so with inflation … well, they were expensive. In annual costs, they were rather inexpensive and so much better. It’s also more sustainable to own one pair of boots than having to buy a new pair all the time.

  2. […] Q: [Related] how can you live comfortably on so little money? A: First, I spend my money more than twice as efficiently as the average person. This means I get more utility out of each dollar. Second, don’t confuse spending money with living comfortably or having fun. Comfort is mainly about living without constant stress and fun is mainly about what you do rather than what you spend. If you can’t do anything without spending, naturally you wouldn’t have fun and you would probably also be stressed due to this inability. However, it is possible to overcome this inability. Third, when I buy things, I consider the long run. How much I pay for something does not matter as much as how much it costs in the long run. I consider most of my purchases the way a business would. (Also see Captain Vimes&Boots theory”). […]

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