The Value of Quality

“Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.”    
Peter F. Drucker

Being frugal isn’t limited to just saving money — it also means not wasting your money and spending your money wisely. Some things may be cheap now, but actually cost you more in the long run. There are times when it just makes sense to spend more now for a long-lasting, dependable, well-made product. To help you determine this, you might want to ask yourself some questions:

  • How long do you need the product to perform based on the frequency you will use it?
  • Will this product actually be able to do what you intend to use it for?
  • Do you need a larger, sturdier product to make the work easier?
  • Based on the price of the product, is the cost vs. the use value (including the ease-of-use) worth it to you?
  • Are you skilled to use the product for the work you will be doing?
  • Are you safely comfortable in using/handling the product?
  • Is there any training available if you need it?
  • What is the guarantee/warranty of the product?

Balancing Quality and Cost

Rarely is it advisable to purchase (and use) a poor quality product. In most cases, you will become frustrated in getting the product to perform to a reasonable degree of satisfaction. You also stand the risk of the product breaking down or falling apart before your job is completed.

That leaves us with choice of either buying a good quality product or a high quality product. Certainly, the cost difference will be a determining factor. Hence, taking a look at how important the product is to your life and how often you will use it needs to be a determining factor as well.

If you will use the product a couple of times a month, a good quality product will probably suffice. If you will use the product daily and it is important to your daily life, you need to buy the highest quality product you can afford.

Low to moderate use — Buy good quality
Frequent use — Buy high quality

Personal Examples

  • Before I retired, I typically drove about 65,000 miles a year for the business. I usually drove my car for 3-4 years before buying a new one. I was often on the road late at night. Because of this, I drove highly dependable Japanese cars with top-of-line tires. The last thing I needed was to broken down on the interstate at 11:30PM out in the middle of nowhere.
  • Computers and printers where critical tools in my business. I learned the hard way that personal use computers and printers (even top-of-the-line) where not designed for heavy office use. They didn’t last a year. From that point on, I purchased commercial-duty computers and printers.
  • In 1969 when I was 12 years old, I started mowing lawns to earn money. I mowed 10-12 lawns a week. One of the tools I used was grass shears to do the trimming and edging. I can remember today, just like it was yesterday, buying the only pair of grass shears I ever purchased. They cost $12.49! That was a major expense for me. I had to mow and trim two lawns (about 2.5 hours each of work) to pay for them.

    As it turned out, they were worth every penny I paid for them. I’ve used these Corona grass shears for 51 years every time I mowed a lawn. These grass shears were an important part of my little lawn mowing business. I bought the best. As promised when I bought them, they will last me for life!

Other articles you may enjoy….

Reasons You Constantly Miss Your Financial Goals

When Can You Retire?

Small Businesses Need an Emergency Fund

Top of page

Published by W. M. Brown

I am a retired U.S. expat living in Ecuador. I was a business owner for 32 years before retiring in 2012.

2 thoughts on “The Value of Quality

  1. This is a really good article on how to use your brain to get the best for your money! I love how you’ve separated good quality and high quality – I’m definitely aiming to move towards smaller amount of high quality things which will last longer and make me feel good in the long run. I recently read an article on how you should aim to use your nice China or glasses since expensive products should give their money’s worth. It’s a nice reminder that you can (and should) have nice things whilst being frugal, but of course moderation is key. I really liked this and I look forwards to your next post!


    1. Once we get all axcited about watching our money grow, it’s easy to get into the trap of price shopping all the time so we’ll have more money to save/invest. This can lead to being penny smart but dollar dumb. I’ve been there, done that.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: