I would say this is the number one debate I have with myself recently. You see, I’m a self-diagnosed shopaholic who got into minimalism about a year ago. After a full year of purges (that are still on going) I’ve realized there’s a lot of crap I had that I didn’t need, but a lot of crap I don’t have that I do need.
It’s a blessing and curse really, I have to shop now. That’s awesome. But there’s just so much filling out that I have to do that our budget can’t handle buying top quality everything.
So let me start by saying, this is just for stuff that we need to improve the quality of our living situation.
So no, I don’t have a list of exclusively needs per se, but I don’t have a list of just wants either. The things I feel good about buying these days are things that add a little comfort and function to our lives. Like jeans that fit or an entertainment system that doesn’t leave exposed cables for the kiddo to get into.
So not we’re going to die without it stuff, but not eh, I just want it stuff either.
THE ARGUMENT FOR QUALITY
Obviously, quality goods are usually more expensive. That’s the whole reason to have this debate in the first place. They’re not necessarily budget friendly in the short term.
But that’s just it: the short term. In the long run, you definitely get your money’s worth. You don’t have to replace the items as frequently, if ever. They usually look better, fit better, work better. Just all around, it’s a better purchase.
The idea of buying something cheap at this point seems silly, unless it’s something you have to have right this second. In an age where we understand what is quality and what isn’t, why wouldn’t you just save for the quality item? You’ll probably like it more, you’ll use it more, it’ll last longer. It’s most likely made with better materials and in a more sustainable, eco-friendly environment with well paid workers. Quality goods are purchases you can feel good about all around.
Literally the only downside is the price tag.
THE ARGUMENT FOR BUDGET
The price tag. That is the part I just can’t get around. I just can’t shake the fact that I have debt. I have a very small savings account as it is. How can I feel good about spending $100+ on a shirt, whether I need it or not, if I still can’t see the light at the end of my debt tunnel?
The bottom line is, on a budget it’s hard to move past the idea that for the price of one, high quality shirt, you could buy a low quality shirt and and entertainment system and maybe have money left over to put into savings or debt.
It really does beg the question: are high quality goods really the more responsible choice?
When your budget is tight enough as it is, should you really save for your items? Is in not more responsible to buy the less expensive, though lower quality item for the sake of your family’s future?
I think when it comes down to it, it really depends on where you are in life.
Right now, when I have close to $50K in debt, $1000 in an emergency fund, and maybe a couple hundred extra bucks coming in a month. should I really be spending it on a high quality entertainment system? Probably not.
I mean, are we in a hole? Are we starving? Are we living with the bare minimum? No. We indulge here and there in little luxuries. That doesn’t mean we have room in the budget to spend on high quality things, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of things either.
In a few years, if we keep buying the low quality stuff for a while and save what we can. When our debt is gone and all of our income after basic bills is ours, you better believe I’m going to be indulging in high quality items.
They’re still a no brainer… if you can afford it. If all your money is yours to keep and you don’t owe anyone anything, you’re doing a disservice by buying low quality goods. But until your money is yours, you can’t afford the luxury of quality.
What’s your take on quality vs. budget? Do you go for high quality items or stick to your budget strictly?
Photo by Becca Tapert