« I will only use this once. »
Will you, for real?
We all naturally run to the supermarket the day we need a hammer; and buy the cheapest one we can find. «I’m not gonna spend $50 on a hammer just for hanging that painting I just got!»
Will you really throw it away after you used it?
Or, more likely, will you actually hold onto it for the next 3 years, and then throw it away, because it broke the day you needed it again, and start all over again ?
We all hesitate when buying a $500 coffee machine.
Here’s how I try to think about it:
Imagine how long a good product will last, and calculate the yearly cost, or even the daily cost of it. If you compare it to what you spend each day on a $6 coffee (yes, the one you buy at a famous coffeehouse), you might realise you should definitely buy that expensive coffee machine that will last for 10 years.
If you do buy a $500 high-end coffee machine that lasts for 10 years, you will have enjoyed good coffee for a little more than 4€ a month. The question that remains now is how do I figure out what products will last long enough? Of course there is no sure way of knowing this, buy there are indicators that help you in your search for quality: warranty time and coverage, availability of spare parts, brand reputation, and reviews for example.
This is exactly what we did for a set of product categories on Don’t buy Shit, augmenting your odds of actually buying something that will last!
The most common arguments against this practice is that you do not have the money to do this. A good way to do this is by living a more simple life by only buying what you need daily. An excellent ressource in this matter are the minimalists, and their amazing book Everything that remains. Beware the fast fix, because it might be an expensive fix. Not only for your bank account, but also for the environement.
We came to believe that a decent jigsaw costs 30 dollars, where in reality a good jigsaw that will last for years comes closer to 250 dollars.
The risk is that you will be deceived time after time, into finally believing it’s normal products break. Take some time in your buying decisions and only buy things you know you will enjoy often.