Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm Cheap

That's right, I'm cheap. I could try to dress it up. I could try to make it sound better, more appealing, softer. I could call myself economical, thrifty, canny, prudent, careful, wise, commonsensical, levelheaded, balanced, prudent, circumspect or any of a number of other words. But why bother? Cheap fits me just as well.

First, let me define what I mean when I say I'm cheap. Cheap, for me, means I won't spend a pile of money for "quality" items that I don't expect to last very long. I won't spend more money for pretty packaging. I won't spend more for something that has a particular label on it. I won't spend any money for things that advertisers try to convince me I need in order to be more popular, cool, or more loved (those are just lies anyway).

I won't go to Sears to buy something that I can get at Walmart. I won't use coupons to buy a brand name something that I can buy cheaper in a store brand. Of the few brand name items that I do buy, I get them at the Dollar store where they are cheaper, not at a grocery or drug store.

I won't go to a restaurant to eat. I think eating at restaurants is one of the worst ways of spending your money. You have nothing to show for it. Nothing. The satisfaction of a full belly doesn't even last 1 day. You have to eat again within a few hours of dropping $40, $60 or $100 on one meal. How crazy is that?

For clarity's sake, I will say that I don't expect much of anything to last very long. Food is an extreme example of this, but most of the things that we buy fall into the category of money spent on items that won't last long.

Don't agree with me? Then tell me how long you expect these things to last:

  • Clothes - 1 year or less? Even if you buy good quality clothes that could survive the washer and dryer for more than 1 year, what are the chances that you will get a stain of some sort on them? What about the fashion or style, will this dictate how long you will wear something?

    How about your kids clothes - 6 months or less? Isn't that why we have to buy new summer and winter clothes every year? They either grow out of them, ruin them, or peer pressure says they are out of style.

  • Furniture - 5 years or less? Now, 5 years sounds like a long time. It sounds like a good investment, right? Not when you've paid $1500 or more just for a sofa. That's $300 a year I'd have to add to my budget just to replace a sofa after 5 years. I don't know about you, but I'd rather save that $300 for something that adds more value to my life than a sofa.

    If you've got kids, or just like to eat or drink while you're sitting on the furniture, it won't last 5 years. Some stains just won't come out.

  • Home Decor - 2 years or less? If you care about decorating your home, you are being influenced by advertisers. Now, that's not a slam. All of us have some area that we are interested in, and we follow the trends just to see what's out there. But, if you are being influenced by advertisers, you will feel more pressure to change your decor with the trends.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. You can listen to the advertisers and plunk down a big chunk of money to buy "quality" products that "last."

Or, you can be cheap like me, and realize that most of what you buy isn't going to last long enough to make it worth paying that "quality" price tag to get it.

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