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Should You Pay More Money For Quality?

One of the biggest struggles for a frugal shopper is balancing price with quality. The old adage, “You get what you pay for” is definitely true in many instances, but it’s very easy to be tricked into paying more money for something that isn’t worth it. The older I’ve become, the more I realize that paying for quality is important, but you must be careful and do your research to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. I’ve realized that buying the cheapest model or brand of a particular consumer item doesn’t always end up being cheaper.

My Real Life Example of Paying For Quality

When my wife and I first got married, we adopted an 8 week old puppy (I know, bad idea, we should have waited a year!), and as you know, puppies shed and get your house dirty. We had registered for a standard $80 vacuum and Target, and started using that vacuum once a week. After about 3 months of use, we noticed that the vacuum was having a hard time dealing with a lot of dog hair, and it clogged and lost suction, so we would clean it out, but it always felt like the suction never came back to what it was before. So, we trashed the vacuum after about 9 months, and bought another one for about $150. We thought this one would do the trick, and it did for about 6 months, then it started to stink the house up when we used it and the filter was never the same. Again, it lost suction. By that time, we lived in an apartment with all wood and tile floors, so we used a combination of manual sweeping and a little Shark vacuum to get the dog hair up. When we bought a house, we finally took the plunge and started looking into Dyson vacuums. We had a $100 Amazon gift card from Christmas, and Amazon had outdated models for cheaper than normal. Stiill, to pay $350 for a vacuum was like stabbing me in the gut, but we did it. This has been one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. Even when the Dyson starts to get a stinky smell and lose suction, all you need to do is clean it, and the suction returns to normal. The Dyson picks up dirt that you never thought you had, and the model we got works great on wood and tile too. Paying for quality was worth it in this instance.

Tips on Paying For Quality and Staying Frugal

  • Do Your Research. This is essential. You must know what you’re paying for and what features are truly worth paying for. This varies from person to person. An avid coffee drinker that will use it every day should pay more for one.
  • Look for Refurbished and Outdated Models. If a name brand truly is worth the extra money like the Dyson vacuums, then look for refurbished models or look on Craigslist for a used one. You can go to the person’s house and test the suction yourself. I think that Apple really does make the best laptops and portable music players on the planet, but you’ll pay a hefty price. If you wait 6 to 9 months, you’ll be able to get yesterday’s model much cheaper than paying normal retail. There are also a ton of refurbished Macbooks floating around the internet.
  • Set up a savings category. It’s a lot easier to swallow paying $100 or $200 more for a higher quality product if you slowly save up for it. Putting away $50 to $100 a month, for 3 or 4 months is much less painful than shelling out $500 up front.

Do you have any stories of how paying for quality paid off? We want to hear them, comment below.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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