Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

Sometimes, when you start living a frugal lifestyle, the focus starts to revolve around cost — and cost alone. However, cheaper isn’t always better. Cheap isn’t the same as frugal, and when you don’t know the difference, it can mean problems down the road.

Pay Attention to Quality

One of the big problems comes when you are so focused on price that you forget to think about quality. These are the times that you truly do get what you pay for. Getting something cheap can sometimes mean that it breaks sooner and you have to buy more of the item. In some cases, being cheap can be more expensive in the long run because you are constantly replacing poor quality items. If you buy something high quality, it might last you much longer — saving you money over time.

Consider the items that you use most often in your daily life. These are items that you might want to spend more on so that they last longer. I don’t worry about getting an expensive blender because I don’t use it that often. A cheaper model will do. However, I do use my saucepan quite a bit. I spent much more on a high-quality saucepan that will last me for several years.

From cars to furniture to clothing, think about the quality of your purchases. In some cases, it’s a better value to pay a little more up front for high-quality items that will last longer and provide you with peace of mind.

Experience and Peace of Mind Matter

Sometimes, cheaper isn’t better when it comes to experience and peace of mind. We regularly have a car service bring us to the airport when we travel. The great thing about the car service is that we don’t have to drive ourselves and then try to find parking. We are dropped off at the curb at the airport. I often use the valet parking garage at the downtown train station when I go into Philadelphia. Do I pay more? Yes. But I also don’t spend a large chunk of time looking for parking and worrying about what will happen to my car in the meantime.

When possible, I also like to travel at more convenient times because it reduces stress. I don’t have to get up early or catch a red-eye. It’s much easier to travel, especially when I have my son with me, when I pay a little extra for a time that works better for me.

Of course, this approach comes with its tradeoffs, and I’m not always willing to pay the extra. If I have to pay $50 extra to avoid leaving at a time I find inconvenient and uncomfortable, I will do that. To me, the cheaper flight isn’t better if it adds too much stress. However, since I’ve moved, I’ve discovered that sometimes it makes sense to go with cheaper. When the difference is $200 or $300 per plane ticket to fly the red-eye, I’m willing to put up with the inconvenience.

Peace of mind is another consideration. My husband and I often paid for a more expensive babysitter for our son because we wanted the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the sitter can drive, and that he or she has First Aid training. Sure, one of the 12-year-old neighbor kids would be much cheaper, but it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. The fact that I was babysitting other people’s children when I was that age doesn’t really make me feel better, either.

Carefully consider what your time and your experiences are worth, as well as the cost of peace of mind. You might discover that, in the long run, skimping on cost isn’t the best option. Going cheap might actually cost you more — and cost in something other than money — in the long run.

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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