My wife loves buying cheap stuff. She can’t resist a deal. She regularly orders goods off Alibaba. They’re cheap and can be of use for that party we’re planning or that camping trip we might go on. Most of the time these things never get used, end up in storage and probably thrown out in a future spring cleaning. Or worse, break quickly and end up in a landfill because we’re unable to repair them.
She’s is not the only person who loves a deal. Everyone does. But with the world economy tanking and the environment suffering from human consumerism. I don’t think a deal is the thing we need right now.
Which is cheaper: 60€ or 200€ shoes?
A little over a year ago, I bought my first leather boots. Thursday’s Captains in Brandy. Nice, sturdy, classy grown-ass-man boots! Before this I always had sneakers, Vans or Nike, some running shoes and a pair of canvas hike boots.
Besides the running shoes of 100€, all my shoes were 60€ or less. I never saw the point of spending more, my shoes worked fine. That changed when I discovered /r/goodyearwelt on reddit. If you don’t know, a goodyear welt is a way of attaching the rubber sole to the shoe. Which allows for replacements later on. Most of my sneakers only lasted me 6 months before they gave out. I either ran the sole out or tore through the canvas. So I bought new ones every six months or whenever I wanted a new style. Why did I spend 200€ on the new boots (a 3,33x increase in spending)? Instead of opting for the cheaper sneakers and pocketing the 140€ difference?
Price is just ONE factor.
Price is not THE biggest factor. Choosing the cheapest product will make you lose a lot more money in the long run. I own the boots because they hold these three qualities. First, if taken care of, leather shoes can last a lifetime. Second, timeless designs do not fall out of style. They might be boring at first but boring lasts. Third, if still in good condition these can sell second hand. Returning some of my initial investment.
Think of all the things you once loved but have thrown out because they fell out of style. Or broke down and were hard to maintain or sell second hand. How big is that pile?
These three aspects: the ability to repair or maintain (increase of the product’s lifespan), timeless design and resell value. Vastly change the way we can look at the price. It is no longer 60 versus 200 with 60 being the smaller number. Thus the better option. Accounting for the product’s life span, the sneakers will cost me 10€ for every month. If I have one pair I replace every 6 months. Because the boots cost me 3,33 times as much, I need to wear them 20 months or just shy of 2 years to get the same cost per month as the sneakers.
Super-easy! The boots will last me much longer than that and stay in style all my life. The cost per month will keep on dropping the longer I wear them. During this time I will save the planet from several produced and disposed pairs of sneakers. I even get some of my investment back if I decide to sell the boots.
It’s even better if you can buy second hand from the get-go. Get a lower price AND save the planet from that little bit of extra production and resources.
Ask yourself going forward; What goods can I buy with long-term use in mind? Think about what you can do to maintain or repair the product. Do the designers even allow you to repair your own goods? I know Apple doesn’t. Is the design language one that can last decades? Does an existing second hand market exist? Do you think there are purchases you now regret or will do differently in the future?
Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment down below whether you loved or hated this blog post. – Matthew Dawn