Have you ever walked into an antique store and seen all the wonderfully crafted wood furniture that is older than your grandma, yet looks like it could last yet another lifetime? Meanwhile, you have a dresser you bought five years ago at home that has a drawer that stopped sliding smoothly about a year ago. Our culture has become a society that loves a good sale and to own a plethora of things. Unfortunately, that has made us a culture of throwaway items and large credit card balances. As our landfills get fuller and our debt increases, many millennials are beginning to realize the need to own less, spend less, and live simpler.
Difference Between Cheap and Frugal
Spending less, does not necessarily mean buying the cheaper item; it means, buying the item you only have to buy once. Yes, you can buy a dresser for $200. It will serve you well... for a few years. It will look nice... for a few years. It will save you money... in the short run.
To truly buy frugally, we need to think of the long term, not just what will get us through until the next paycheck. Yes, buying a $750 dresser at the Amish Furniture store sounds expensive, but realistically it is going to last you the rest of your life. The $200 dresser will probably last five years in good condition, and you will probably keep it another five years before you get sick of the drawer that gets stuck, the bottom of one of the drawers falling out, and the way the top has become wavy. Then that dresser will end up in a landfill or a burning pile, and you will be spending another $200, although with inflation it might be more like $300 to only run into the same problem five to ten years later.
Spending Money More Wisely
This does not just go with furniture, but many areas of life.
Shoes: Shoes are probably the most important thing you wear. They set the stage for your entire skeleton to stand upon. If your feet are injured, your whole body is affected. A falling arch will affect your knees, your hips, your back, and your neck. Yes, you can buy a twenty dollar pair of tennis shoe at Walmart, but a seventy dollar pair from a fitness shoe store has had years of research backing everything from the height of the arch to the material used on top of your feet. Buying the more expensive shoe is going to save you doctor bills years down the road as it will prevent arthritis from forming in hips and knees.
Clothes: I love buying a five dollar cute top. I also buy it knowing that it will probably last me a season. When I buy jeans or dress clothes though, I do not look at the sale section. I want ones that are going to last me. Ones that will withstand the washing machine and dryer without having to replace after several washings. I am willing to spend an extra five bucks on a dress shirt that is made of good material and sewn well, if it means it might last me a few years, rather than a cute top that is five dollars cheaper. It essentially ends up saving me money in the long run.
Homes: With homes the two biggest things you want to think of is functionality and resell value. A stick built house is going to sell higher than a modular home when you move. A house with energy efficient functions are going to save money in the short term, and also cause it to be more appealing to buyers if you plan to move. One of the biggest things you do not want to skimp on when buying a house is getting it well inspected. Pay a person of reputable source that will assure you that there is not anything that will be devastating in the future.
Vehicles: Now I would never encourage anyone to buy a new vehicle, but even when looking at older vehicles you want to make sure you are buying a car/van/RV that is not known for certain high expense repairs. By buying used, you will have a better idea what functions tend to go wrong with that particular make or model. Buying a vehicle that may cost more, but has a better gas mileage, may end up saving you money in the long run.
Electronics: If you are like most of society, you are not planning on keeping the same phone for the next thirty years, in fact I doubt there is a phone these days that could last that long. That does not mean skimping on the price of these items either. Think of possible resell value, warranties, and how often you may need to do maintenance. I prefer to buy older versions that others are no longer interested in. I do get a deal, but it still is of very high quality. With televisions and DVD players, I do prefer to get ones that are not the lowest quality, but are more apt to last longer than their cheaper cousins.
Appliances: This is an area you do not want to get the bottom of the line. In some cases it is more cost efficient to spend more on an appliance if it is more energy efficient. Just like electronics you want to think of possible resell value, warranties, and how much maintenance is it going to cost. Although it may be cheaper in the short run to buy the low end dishwasher, but chances are there will be more problems and it may die altogether in a quarter of the amount of time than a more expensive dishwasher would be.
Buying Quality versus Buying Luxury
There is a huge difference between buying quality to buying luxury. For instance you can buy a very good, long lasting vehicle for $30,000. You can also buy a luxury one for $100,000. The $100,000 may last longer, may need less repairs, but does not translate in being more frugal over all. You may buy a $50 purse that is cute and long lasting, or a $500 one with a fancy name that everyone recognizes. One you are paying merely for the name on it, not the quality it brings. It is important not to confuse quality for luxury as just because it is more luxurious does not mean the quality replaces the cost difference.
Angela Michelle Schultz
I am abnegating my possessions for the sake of the good things in my life like my church, my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends, and my writing. I am learning the joy of having more time and money for what matters by removing the stuff that doesn't.