The following was first published in January of 2015. Thought we would republish it as this is always something that remains on my (and maybe yours?) mind. What do you think?
This is something I've been thinking about for a while: things that I'm willing to pay a premium price for, though I can find them cheaper elsewhere. For us thrifty types, this is sometimes a tough pill to swallow – but often makes sense.
I'll often buy at a premium if the following are true:
- The item is much better quality than its competitors – and will last longer
- There is an unbeatable guarantee or warranty with the product/service
- The customer service is exceptional
- It's one-of-a-kind
- I want to splurge (rare) or buying a gift
Years ago, I bought these socks that after just a few weeks of wear would get holes in the toes. Because I was so cheap – and didn't want to pay for a better pair – I would just buy then again and again (thinking it had something to do with me!). Little did I know – I could have paid for a higher quality sock for a premium price with all the money spent on the lesser-priced / lesser quality sock!
Of course, with everything, it's important to be aware that you aren't being taken advantage of. Crafty marketers employ a tactic called “premium pricing” where they inflate the price of a comparable product/service. This is often done to increase the perceived value of something. Many folks believe something is better quality if they have to pay more for it (even though it may not be true).
There is definitely times when it just makes economic sense to pay for things at a premium (even though we can get em cheaper).
The following are some things that I will no longer skimp on (or rarely skimp on).
I've written before about my own transformation when I was watching my wife go through some health issues. Eventually, I started to see her change and decided to adopt some of her eating habits. Through some of our research, we have come to the conclusion that what we put into our bodies is pretty important. Unfortunately, better quality food isn't cheap. But, I've personally found the results to be undeniable. I have lost weight and lowered depression symptoms, among other benefits.
This is one item that has taken me a while to adopt. My mother always preached to us the importance of good shoes and always made sure we had a decent pair. But only recently have I come to realize the importance of this after having some knee problems that were a result of poor footwear. Never again.
This is a future purchase that I will no longer skimp on. Currently, our mattress is really bad. Almost every morning my wife and I wake up with lower back issues. This is one of those “capital” expenses we have yet to budget for – but really need to do so in the near future as we tend to spend a fair amount of time on this.
We've since purchased a Naturepedic mattress – that has been great for both of us.
I won't say any more about this.
I can't tell you how many wallets I've gone through in my time – but it's a been a few. I would get some pretty cheap ones – and they would get tattered and worn out in no time. Awhile back I heard about Saddleback wallets while doing some research on products with incredible warranties (they offer a 100-year warranty!) – and soon after bought one at a premium price. It's a great wallet and maybe the last one I ever purchase. (Four years later – I still have it and looks like it could hold for another 95 years).
I'm glad we have a good agent who's made sure we have quality homeowners insurance, as we have needed it on a couple of occasions already. Most lenders require that homeowners have some sort of hazard insurance for their home – but you may want to include something more comprehensive.
Besides what I've listed here, is there anything else that you will pay a premium for?
I will pay more for a home-repair/improvement job if I’ve seen their work or otherwise have reason to know they are reliable and turn out quality work. This is one area where I would say avoid the LOW bid,
This is a good point, Roger!
The only things I am willing to pay a premium for are typically confined to brands with excellent warranty’s like LL Bean. While I will pay more I know that if anything fails they will have a record of my purchase and replace or repair it, no questions asked.
That is worth paying more for if you intend to actually get the use out of what you buy over many years or, even decades. Not a common idea in today’s throw-away, upgrade-once-a-year, society.
Excellent point Ryan
My parents have owned a classic leather chair for over 50 years. The seat cushion was replaced at some point but it is in fantastic shape. Don’t think it will ever go out of style. I bought a leather sofa over 10 years ago and it still looks great. The salesman said it would be the last sofa I ever buy. I think that he was right.
That is a great leather sofa!
Totally agree with you on shoes! Our big one on a weekly basis is good coffee beans. We never buy coffee out, so we want to make nice coffee at home. Sure we could buy some cheap Folger’s and save a few bucks, but it’s so not worth it to us.
A note on your mattress–we bought a king-sized mattress for $279 on Amazon a few years ago and love, love, love it. It’s a temperpedic knock-off and Amazon delivered it to us for free through our Prime membership. Can’t recommend it highly enough! It’s the LUCID 8″ Memory Foam Mattress if you’re interested.
Shoes and socks for me. I want both to out last me. I am not one for the agony of the feet.
I’d have to agree with you on all of those. Although as a former life insurance agent, I’ve seen a lot of people pay too much for life insurance because they chose a shady company or were duped by a sleazy agent.
Good point Ben
I will go opposite on this … years ago I bought a really good quality living room suite. That stuff lasted for OVER 10 YEARS! By time it was worn out I was so sick of it I said I would never buy good quality furniture again! LOL! But yes, agree totally on spending extra for good toilet paper! And I do buy good quality clothing, but always at discounters Ross Dress for Less (especially on Tuesday for senior discount), TJ Maxx and Burlington.
Haha – that’s a good point Judy..
Oh yes, definitely toilet paper! We recently bought a huge amount of toilet paper and didn’t realize how low quality it was. It was expensive, so I was surprised!
I hate the TP where you can’t get the roll started and you end up wasting half the roll just getting it started! I swear there is a conspiracy among the cheap TP makers to waste folks money.
Cheap tires may save you money but can put you, your family and others at risk.
Good tires last longer, have better warranty and may prevent an accident.
Good one Al!
I agree with you on the food, toilet paper, shoes and mattress. I also will pay a little more (not a crazy amount) for beauty products IF they work well. If a woman feels good about herself and the way she looks then it is worth it to spend more! So husbands.. men… hint hint… remember that.
Hint taken! ;) My wife is the same. There’s a lot of icky stuff in those products – and she opts for more organic based cosmetics that cost a tad more (but are better for her).
I’m with you, Aaron. I have historically scrimped on clothing purchases, especially suits and shirts. I thought the cheaper the better. Wrong. They don’t fit well and they don’t last and they look cheap. AND if you are patient, the better brands often go on sale at the end of the season, saving you sometimes as much as you would have saved by buying the cheapie to begin with!
You make a good point – that you can still buy premium products at a reduced price.