I normally buy lower cost items if I have a choice. It has served me well in many cases and saved me a ton of money. Unfortunately, there have been other times in which the cheapest option hasn’t been the best deal. Below are a few reasons why buying the cheapest option isn’t always the best deal.
When It Causes You To Buy Something You End Up Hating
Have you ever debated between a slightly more expensive option when there was a cheaper option that seemed to serve the same purpose? Did you base your decision solely on price and get the cheaper one? Then, when you got it home you hated it.
I’ve been victim to this before. If you can afford the slightly more expensive item and you’re going to use it more or like it more just go ahead and get it. The key is being able to afford it! You can’t do this with everything either or else your budget will explode but don’t always buy because something is cheaper.
When It Means You Won’t Enjoy Your Purchase As Much
Another time where I often buy the cheaper item is at the grocery store. When there are two similar items sitting next to each other I compare the price per unit and normally go with the cheaper one. That has lead me to buy some food that isn’t quite what I was expecting.
I’ve learned which cheaper foods are good replacements and which ones aren’t. I don’t mind spending a bit more money for the better item, which is a matter of opinion. Recently I got some off brand candy corn. I love candy corn but it was nasty! So will I buy it again? Nope! Only Brach’s candy corn for me!
When It Causes More Spending Down the Road
Ever get that feeling that the cheaper alternative isn’t going to hold up as well as the more expensive counterpart? Sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t! It might take some experience to figure out when to go for the more expensive option here but pay close attention because this can cost you a ton of money!
My recent personal example in this category is jeans. I started my new job about six months ago and can now wear jeans instead of khakis and other dress pants. I went out and bought 3 pairs of Arizona jeans because they were the cheapest jeans in the store. I never really thought about the fact that some clothes are just cheap because they are poorly made. These jeans were those poorly made clothes.
On the first pair of jeans a belt loop just popped off within a week. I returned those and exchanged them no problem. Then about 2 weeks later another pair got a hole in a random spot at a seam. I took those back and exchanged them as well. Then about 3 months later all of the jeans had holes where the back pocket attached to the jeans… needless to say I won’t be buying Arizona jeans anymore.
When Dealing with Durable (Long Lasting) Goods
This is the category that can cost you the most. Your dishwasher suddenly breaks. You could afford a nicer model, you do have an emergency fund after all, but don’t really want to dip too deep into it for a new dishwasher. Instead you buy the cheapest version that will match your kitchen and then it breaks a couple years down the road or you end up absolutely hating it. Guess what happens next? It gets replaced with another new dishwasher… ouch!
When you’re dealing with durable goods go for quality first but still keep price in mind. Don’t go buy the absolute best version of an items because it could cost 10x more than a reasonable model. Instead make sure you do a good cost benefit analysis and buy the best of what you can afford within your price range. There are some times when this isn’t the best decision, but if you intend to use the durable good for its entire life I feel buying quality is key.
Do you ALWAYS go for the cheaper option? When has buying something more expensive benefited you and what are your rules of thumb about when to go for the more expensive item?