When you are bargain hunting, it often seems to be just about the price. However, a true bargain is about more than just paying as little as possible. Sometimes even at a cheap price, you are paying more than you should. A true bargain is something that has long-lasting value. Even if you pay a little bit more for something, if it is of good value and likely to last longer, you could save money over the long run. If you have to buy new shoes every few months, or if you are buying a new TV every couple of years, it can lead to spending more in the long run.
My husband’s every day casual shoes cost more than $100 a pair. However, he walks a lot, since he is a student on campus. His $100 shoes last him 18 months to two years. The last time we bought him a cheaper pair of shoes, still costing $45, they only lasted about six months. We would have to buy at least three pairs of shoes in the time it took his more expensive shoes to wear down. We save between $35 and $80 over the long haul by getting the more expensive shoes — even though we pay more up front.
Looking for Good Bargains
This doesn’t mean that you pay a lot for something. More expensive does not always mean better. Instead, do your research. Look into customer reviews, and consider Consumer Reports (we always check CR before buying nearly anything expensive). Find out which products have a reputation for value, and for being long lasting. Then decide if the item in question is likely to last long enough for you to get more use out of it than if you bought a less expensive version. You can also look for sales on desired items, or haggle a lower price, to increase the value of your purchase.
In some cases, it might be better to go with the lower price. If there isn’t a real big difference in quality, or if the item isn’t going to get heavy use, the cheaper version might be more than adequate; at least you might get your money’s worth. Carefully consider your options, and your situation.
Even though it can seem counter-intuitive to pay more for something during a recession, you might find that paying a little more can actually save you a great deal in the long term.