Right now I am in the middle of reading Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell. The book has really sparked my thoughts on buying cheap. Do we buy something just because it’s cheap or do we buy something because it’s a great deal on a great product?
You go to the store to buy a pair of boots? You only want to spend about $50, but the choices for boots around this price are less than stellar in quality. Naturally the boots are probably made in China, and the box smells like a million different chemicals that would kill a frog trapped in the box. You go to another store nearby that sells a pair of delicious looking and smelling (oh the smell of real leather) boots for right around $150 on sale. You know in your heart that these boots are great quality, real leather and will last a very long time. Not only that, the manufacturer backs their product and offers a warranty on defect from material and workmanship (yes there are companies that do this). What do you do?
Most of us buy the cheaper pair of boots. Why? Well pretty much just because they are cheaper. Sure they are cheaper on cost, but at what cost? What do you give up for this price? Quality? Warranty? Your health? I mean really, is cheap worth it?
Many people will buy 2-3 different pairs of these boots so that they can have different colors, but wouldn’t it be wiser (in many ways) to buy just one pair of boots that will outlast every other pair you bought?
I admit, as the frugal guru in this house, I have always went for the cheap product for myself. Hubby has always been for more quality items. He has a major dislike for big box stores and their cheap products. I tend to spend on quality items for other people, but not myself. I have always had a dislike for dollar stores that also sell cheap junk. Sure you can get more, but it’s still cheaply made junk in the end. The saying “You get what you pay for” is pretty much true when it comes to dollar and discount stores.
What if you can’t afford quality? Well, there are a number of different options to consider. We can save to make a quality purchase (and watch for sales and coupon codes) or we can buy these quality purchases used at thrift stores, second hand stores and even yard sales.
Another way to incorperate quality into your life on a budget is to buy the staples in quality items. Things like shoes and coats can be bought in more quality items, while not so important items can be bought cheaper.
Do keep in mind that the price of an item does not reflect how well it is made. Check out details like where the item is made, the brand guarantee, craftsmanship and consumer reviews before making that big purchase.
Now is the time where I quit rambling and get back to telling you a bit more about the book.
It’s a great read for anyone interested in how the world became so obsessed with cheap. It’s very thought provoking and will make you think about your future purchases.
The book provides a great history of cheap as well as a look at the path of cheap from sweatshops to our current economic state.
I recommend the read for anyone interested in reading about the cost of Cheap and how we got there.
If you’re not interested in reading the book, at least think about your future purchases. Where do they come from? Does the brand offer a guarantee? It is a quality product? Can the ingredients hurt us? Can I get something better?
and most of all…..
Do I really need this?
Reading this book made me think of a post I read a while back over at The Frugal Girl.
What are your thoughts on how we have become obsessed with cheap? Do you buy cheap because it’s cheap?
making a habit out of living frugal…..
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