“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
- 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!