I have something to admit! At one point in my life, I was the person who ALWAYS purchased the cheapest item. It seemed like the best way to save money and apply frugal living concepts. Right? I mean, cheap is frugal. Well, that is not always the case. Usually I am teaching my husband about saving money, but this is one area he had to teach me about! So, does frugal living mean always buying cheap?
The answer is NO!
You see, when contemplating the question does frugal living mean always buying cheap, you have to think about the use and life of the product or service that you will get. What exactly does this mean?
Let’s take this real life example. (We live on a mini-farm with goats.) We needed a few supplies for cleaning out our goat stall. There were several options at the farm store. One was about $25 with a wooden handle and no warranty. The other was double the price, but had a handle made with much sturdier material and had a lifetime warranty (if it breaks, they replace it.) Well, I convinced my husband that the $25 item was the way to go. How do you think this turned out?
Ok, i’ll let you know – it broke, within about 30 minutes of use in that goat stall.
So, we had to go back to the store (wasting time) and purchase the better item (now we were out $25 more than if we had just got it to begin with). We have been using that nicer, more expensive pitchfork to clean the goat stall for several years now. It hasn’t broken and we haven’t had to use the warranty.
Though you might not be in the market for goat stall cleaning supplies, this still applies to many items and services you buy.
Does frugal living mean always buying cheap? No!
This is a lesson I have learned the hard way, a few times. But I am now a firm believer that sometimes the saying “you get what you pay for” is really true!
So, before you go buying the cheapest available version, make sure you know what quality you are paying for. If you will have to replace the item well before a more expensive item, then you may want to go with the more expensive item.
Also, if the more expensive item will do what you want significantly better, that extra quality is probably worth paying more for.
Of course, anytime you make a buying decision, you should take your actual affordable budget into account.
If the more expensive item truly will be the better option, but is out of your budget, you may want to try a savings plan calculator to figure out how much you need to save to get that item!
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