Expensive Shopping is Good | How To Shop For Value, Not Price

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For a long time I’ve been on the frugal or cheap fence.  One day I think frugal accurately describes me, and then the next day I jump ship and find myself firmly planted in the cheap camp.

Here’s another question we can ask to help differentiate between frugal and cheap.

Do you buy things based on what they cost, or do you buy things based on what you get?

I think that cheap people buy based on what things cost.  In my recent post How To Get A Good Deal When Shopping, I talk about the importance of value.  As yourself, what do I get when I buy this item?

There are, for example, some things you can purchase that cost more money in the short term, but in the long term actually result in a greater money savings or additional money earning opportunities.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for a good deal (like a $30 rebate on a fridge), but go for value.

Four Positive Examples of  Expensive Shopping

Debt Goal

I’ve been a Debt Goal affiliate for several months.  Debt Goal is a product that helps people in debt get organized to pay off their debts.  It is a subscription membership that costs $14.95.  For that $14.95, you get access to a personalized debt reduction plan that tracks your progress and helps you make adjustments to your debt repayment plan.

However, when I’ve read Debt Goal reviews there is always the statement – people in debt shouldn’t be paying $14.95 per month for a debt product.  In fact, I’ve had similar thoughts.  But, that is evaluating Debt Goal based on what it costs.

What if we turned things around and evaluated it based on what you get?

If Debt Goal is the missing ingredient that finally helps you get out of debt then you could be saving hundreds of dollars a month in debt related interest rates.  Sure, Debt Goal isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to get out of debt, you should at least check out the free trial (click here for a free trial) so you can see if what you pay is worth what you get.

Quality Clothing

I’ve got a few pieces of high quality clothing in my wardrobe.  Specifically, I have a pair of Columbia GRT hiking pants.  I got those pants on sale and paid about $25 for them (that’s expensive shopping in my house since we buy second hand clothes:)).  However, I’ve worn those things a lot and even in some very rugged conditions.  Now, four years later, they are still in my wardrobe (but the sun has changed the color).

Had I been thinking about what I paid, I never would have bought the pants, but since I made the decision based on what I got in return, then I actually ended up with a great deal.

Blog Products – Market Samurai

Before I started blogging, you would hardly ever see me spend money.  But, once I started my own small blog business I’ve been spending money like Donald Trump.  Last year, I bought an eBook for $97.  Crazy, right?  So what cause the Scrooge to Trump transition?  Well, it turns out that book saved me a ton of time, a bunch of hassle, and even resulted in some additional profits.  If I was still buying based on cost, I wouldn’t have the book, but I also wouldn’t have the extra income.

A few months ago I purchased Market Samurai (here’s my Market Samurai review).  I added that to the other blogging products I already pay for.  So, why would I drop another $100 for one product?  I certainly didn’t want to pay that money, but I knew that it was a product that would help bring value to my blog.  Since search engine traffic provides over 75% of my traffic, knowing what I can rank for when I post is important.  So important, that I willingly bought Market Samurai – not because of what it cost, but because of what I received.  And, it was worth it.

Organic Foods

We buy organic food, but the only reason is that everything we buy here in Papua New Guinea at the market is organic.  However, my wife and I have been talking some about buying higher quality food products.  Sure, you do have to spend more money to buy natural or organic food, but you also get something more valuable in return.  Look, I’m not a health nut, but if buying more expensive food is healthier and makes you feel better, then you are getting something more for that money you spend.  But, that requires a shift in thinking from what you spend to what you get.

Do you buy based on what you spend or what you get?  What things do you think are worth spending more money to buy?  When is expensive shopping good?


  1. says

    I think that we are all to blame for doing some of these. I am guilty of buying good quality tires instead of used tires but, I buy the reduced meat at the store. Everyone is alike, no matter how different we think we are.

    • says

      I think the hard thing (at least in my case) is knowing how long an expensive item will last. Just because something is more expensive doesn’t mean it lasts. But, you can lose if you buy nicer close as reasonable prices – good tip.
      Safety is one of those times when paying for value is important. Thanks.
      @Eric A
      I’ve never tried organic milk or eggs. I’d better put that on a list of things to try in my lifetime.

  2. says

    Organic milk and eggs are about 33% more expensive, BUT they taste so much better, make you feel better, and I suspect the health benefits from avoiding all the hormones will pay off in the long run – buy for value!

  3. says

    Craig, you raise an interesting discussion topic. I think clothes is a great example of how you can fall into the price trap. I’ve spent some extra money on some nice work clothes and they have stayed in my closet for a long time and look almost as if they were knew. Yet, I’ve still found some of the cheap options here and there and they last about a year. In the long run I would think I’m saving more money buying nicer clothes at reasonable prices. I need to do better at this. Of course, I have to resist the impulsive buys and shop more stragically.

  4. says

    I believe the top foods you should buy organic (for nutrient and taste reasons) are:
    1. Butter
    2. Meat
    3. Eggs

    Keep in mind that wilted organic veggies may not be as good as fresh, crisp veggies that may have been sprayed. Also, some fruits and veggies tend to be more sprayed than others. You can find lists (updated annually for the U.S.) giving the top 10 worst sprayed and least sprayed fruts/veggies.

    I think social justice also comes in. I want to buy clothes that have been made by workers paid a fair wage under safe conditions. I want to buy food that is grown in ways that give back to farmers, animals, and earth.

    Also, flavor comes in. I switched from buying organic milk to buying locally produced milk, not because pasteurization kills all the healthy organic microbes in the milk anyway, but because the local milk tasted better and fresher. It’s also cheaper and uses less fuel to transport, but like I said, I found out non-organic was more delicious in this case.

  5. says

    I usually shop on the frugal side too, but when it comes to certain products I will spend more money. I spend more on my work clothes, as well as skin care products. I also spend more on organic foods occasionally and computer related stuff.

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