Cheap isn’t thrifty

Thrifty isn’t the same as cheap. Not at all. Cheap means that your main concern is with price, quality is a secondary consideration, if at all. Thrifty people look for good deals, but quality is always a consideration.

I’m willing to pay more for something that is good quality and will last. A cheap person will pay as little as possible, even if it means they need to replace it in a short time. I have clothes that have lasted me for 10 years. I bought quality and took care of them. At thrift stores, if I can’t find the item I need in good repair and that will last, I’ll go to a department store and buy good quality (and wait for a sale if I can).

I have been cheap in my life and it ends up costing more in the long run. I taught my son this lesson by giving him the choice of going to a regular store and getting one toy or going to the dollar store. He, of course, chose the dollar store where his money would go farther. He bought four toys and two of them broke in the car on the way home. I didn’t replace them or offer him his money back. I felt horrible, but he needed to learn that sometimes cheapest isn’t best. He came to me and said, “I guess you get what you pay for.”  It was a great teaching moment because then I could explain that it’s possible to find deals, but you need to make sure it really is a deal and not just a low price for low quality goods. He got it. Now he looks for sales and coupons for me and we’re working on discriminating between things we need to buy and things we shouldn’t even if they are a good deal.

Our culture has come to prize the cheap. We have demanded prices so low that only the largest stores can provide things at the prices we want. And even the higher priced goods aren’t always built to last. It’s possible to find quality goods but you have to look for them. This sprint to the bottom isn’t helping anyone. Cheap always costs more in the long run one way or another.

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2 Responses to Cheap isn’t thrifty

  1. I’m right there with you on this one. I was thrilled with my then-primary school aged children when I gave them a choice during a term where I wouldn’t have time to cook dinner on Monday nights. We could eat out at a sit-down restaurant once or twice a month and have leftovers the other Mondays OR eat at a fast-food place every week. They bargained for still getting to eat fast food sometimes, but were willing to have the leftovers in order to have nicer meals out at all.

    • That’s a great idea! My younger boy still eats nothing but pasta, chicken strips, and yogurt, but my older one is branching out and trying new things. I’ve started thawing things and leaving instructions for my husband on how to cook them. Since I don’t usually eat much if the meat these days, he always has enough for lunch the next day.

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