For most of my life, people have assumed I have money because I have quality, often expensive items— which hasn’t been the case.
I worked nearly full-time hours during university and subsisted off of student loans to make ends meet. I made it most of the way through a graduate program which wasn’t easy on the bank, before dropping out and saddling myself with more than $30,000 in student loans and no job (and no job prospects, at least in my field).
While I’m not in a financial predicament anymore thanks to some smart saving strategies (and my husband’s bomb budgeting skills), my philosophy when it comes to buying new things has always been the same: buy quality over quantity.
I know there are quite a few people out there who would rather buy 3 pairs of boots from PayLess that are only $20 a pair, rather than spend money on just one pair— and on the surface, why wouldn’t you? You get three pairs of boots for the price of one, and at first glance, that seems great.
But the truth is there are more than a few reasons why buying quantity over quality is going to let you down in the long run— even if your budget is tight.
1. You’ll have to replace items less frequently
Who would have thought, right? There are some things that aren’t necessarily worth applying the ‘Buy it For Life’ philosophy to, such a t-shirts or socks, but for most items from clothing, to tools, to bicycles, and more, buying quality will always pay off. For years I would buy winter boots from Aldo each year, and one year I actually wore a dollar-sized hole right through the ball of the foot, meaning every time I stepped outside in the Winter I ended up with soaking wet feet. They were typically only $60 a pair, but after a few years of this I finally wized up and bought a pair from Roots. Were they more expensive? Absolutely, but the difference in quality was astounding. They have military-grade soles— which they replace for free— which are barely showing any signs of wear after five years. One woman on the Roots reviews said she had her pair for 19 years.
When you buy quality items, they are sturdier and longer-lasting meaning less money spent, and less trips to the mall (land of impulse-buying temptation).
So which is it? $200, or $1140?
2. You’ll care more for what you have
Have you ever bought multiples of something cheap only to find that you only ever wear the colour you like most, or even worse, wear none of them after they’ve stretched or faded and no longer make you feel good?
Buying a quality items means buying an item you love, an item that makes you feel good every single time you use it or wear it. Wouldn’t you much rather have one or two sweaters that are your favourite rather than trying to choose between a selection of lumpy, stretched out clothing that doesn’t make you feel good?
When you buy quality, all of your items can be your favourite, and as a consequence of having less, you’ll take better care of them, as well. It can be easy to let an item fall into disrepair when you are able to say “Oh well, I have a few more hoodies just like this one.” Having quality means taking care of quality— and in return, your items can last you for decades.
3. It’s less wasteful
This one is simple. The more crap you buy, the more crap you eventually have to get rid of. If you’re buying poor quality shirts over and over, and each time one wears out you need to throw it away, you’re not doing yourself or the Earth a favourite.
On top of that, cheap products are often more harmful for the environment, using bad farming practises and harmful chemicals in processing (if you’re interested in learning more about this one, I highly recommend checking out a documentary called The True Cost).
4. It’s more ethical
This isn’t the case all of the time, but there is a reason products can be offered so cheaply these days— they’re made unethically, whether that’s by damaging the environment, using unsafe practises, or underpaying workers in developing countries. In order to be able to sell you a dress for $10, H&M has to be paying its seamstresses such a paltry wage that keeps their workers below subsistence (again, see aforementioned documentary).
That isn’t to say that all expensive items are ethical— in fact, this is absolutely not the case. But if you do a little research, you’ll find brands like Everlane which cut out the middle man and only offer their clothing online, so that they can produce amazing high-end clothing for mid-range prices and treat their workers fairly.
5. You have to shop less often
Now for those of you who really love shopping, this might not seem like a plus, but trust me when I say it is. If you’re trying to cut down on spending and break that shopping habit, the less often you have to head out there into shops, and even worse, malls, the better. If you’re not spending time in shopping malls, you’ve removed a major temptation to frivolously spend money from your life. Plus, just think of all the time spent sitting in traffic, circling the shopping mall parking lot of hell, and then waiting in line at stores— you could be spending that time making music, writing, reading, hanging out with your kids, adventuring, planning a business, or planning the trip you’re going to go on with all the money you’ve saved not being at the mall.
6. You'll save space
And isn’t that one of the best parts of being minimalist? The less you have, the less space it takes up, and the less time you have to spend cleaning and caring for your possessions— A.K.A. the more time you have to develop your master plan to greatness.
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What has been your best investment purchase? What purchase have you regretted the most? Let us know in the comments below!