Less is more people. And less is a whole lot more if you buy it for less too. More in your pocket, that is.
When I was younger, my shopping mentality was I need a pair of jeans. I’m going to go to Hecht’s department store (which is now Macy’s) and buy a pair of Levi’s and come home. Now it’s I need a pair of jeans. First, I ask myself why I need a pair of jeans. Which jeans will they be replacing?
How often would I really be wearing them? Can I donate other jeans when I buy these? Apart from these questions, I don’t just go to a store and buy them. I stumble across a clearance with 70% off, get lucky enough to my size designer jeans, lucky enough that the fit is great too, and get lucky enough to learn that my wife has a balance left on a gift card from the store anyway. So they end up costing me less than $8 when they originally were for $50.
So almost 85% off! Plot twist….true story!
Always a Sale Somewhere – Explore & Research
So many times when we’re looking for something we don’t find it. And so many times when we’re just walking around, we find exactly what we need and at a great price. I don’t know why that is; one of life’s mysteries I suppose. Usually, whenever I go to a store, I immediately try to find the rack or shelf or display that is the most disorganized when clothes hanging off the hanger and shoes mismatched like a tornado only hit that part of the store. And it is also the sale/clearance area where the best deals are to be found. You may not find what you like, but if you’re flexible you may find a great deal. Sales involve some research online too.
It seems like we’re getting better at research. This article from 2014 says that “Eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Sixty percent begin by using a search engine to find the products they want, and 61 percent will read product reviews before making any purchase.” I fall in that category too as I’ll Google almost anything I plan to spend money on except maybe groceries and bills (unless I’m refinancing, looking for a different cell phone provider, energy provider etc., but I digress). It’s so easy to do and takes such little time.
Better Quality Is Just Plain Better
Why not share a few more of my experiences with buying inferior items in the past and learning a lesson in the process:
• Undershirts – Hanes vs Ralph Lauren, but got them on sale at Marshalls for the same price as Hanes oh and socks. My Hanes ones get holes after a while. But other higher end brands don’t like Jockey or Ralph Lauren. Let’s not kid ourselves, they are regular wear items so it makes sense to buy ones that will last, but at a comparable price is definitely a win!
• Electronics example – many years ago, I bought an off-brand watch for less than $20 that had built-in features like a timer and heart rate thing-ga-ma-jigi, but after a few months the minute needle broke off. I guess more features meant less effort in the basic time-keeping aspects of the watch. Anyways, I ended up buying a Guess watch for $75, which lasted me for years. Actually, the battery lasted me for years and the watch still works, but I just need to change the battery.
• Furniture – actually regularly used furniture, not the one you buy for a room nobody is allowed to go in and no one can touch that table or sit on that sofa or breathe in the air in there. So about five years ago, I bought a reclining leather couch and love seat. I bought it from a furniture store at a weird location (probably cause their lease was cheap) and with little inventory, because it was a small store with less space to accommodate furniture again to save on rent costs I suppose. Anyway, with the little inventory they had displayed, I didn’t find anything I liked so they provided a catalog and I ordered my sofa set without even trying it out.
A few weeks later it was delivered to my home. It was fine in the beginning but after a couple of years, the leather, or so-called leather, started to separate a little bit and eventually I could see the underlying fabric. Of course, the warranty was expired by then. Long story short, I patched up a few areas of the set with leather from Jo Ann Fabric and have been trying to sell it on Craigslist for months.
Poor quality is an expense and one that is realized soon after you buy depending on how often you use it. Of course not everything needs to be of the best quality. Some things we buy which do not include paper products, candles, trash bags, aluminum foil, and ziplock bags and other dispensable items.
Regularly used items which we buy with the intention of using for possibly years should be of better quality OR we may end up spending more in the long-run. As Life hacker says “Cheap clothing also lends itself to constant impulse buying, which can be way more dangerous for your wallet than the occasional splurge on something nice, durable, and well-made.
Spending “$20 here and there doesn’t feel like much when it happens, but it can add up fast. You could spend more in a year on clothing that way, and possibly end up with a bunch of stuff you’ll never actually wear”. That’s step 1 to make you feel confident and step 2 is to buy it at a bargain to make you feel smart too!
What are your thoughts about quality? Are there some things you spend more on because you go they will last longer or provide better results? Do you bargain hunt for quality items?
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