Price or Quality: How Do You Decide?

Shoe Smile :)

I have been living the frugal lifestyle, in some ways, my entire life. Only as of 2009 did I realize this was a lifestyle πŸ˜‰

Recently, I have been thinking about value vs cost and in some areas of my life I have always taken the cheap road such as with clothing, some services I don’t value, etc.

I have a friend that has always paid the extra amount for the higher quality products. He intrigues me because he will pay $100 for a pair of sunglasses, or far more for high quality sporting equipment. At first I thought this was just him being pulled into the trap of the brand name game, or the Price Placebo but after talking with him a few times about these purchases, he explained why he pays the premium price for these things.

Firstly, he explained that he has purchased many different brands and types of the products he uses regularly. He found that in some cases the more expensive brands were of better quality though some cheaper brands were equally as good, so he chose some to pay premium for.

I agree with this philosophy, of testing all the options before deciding on one for the long haul, as long as the price for the premium isn’t outragous.

Then I learned the other reason he pays premium for some products. Not only do they last longer in general, but they come with a lifetime warranty that he has used many times.

I have never purchased anything that came with a lifetime warranty, on purpose that is. The products I have purchased that came with a lifetime warranty, I haven’t had long enough to actually cash in on the warranty, and I did’nt buy the product for the warranty.

My friend does. He will pay $100 for a pair of sunglasses because he knows how hard he is on his gear. If the glasses break, he calls the company and they send over a new pair of glasses, gratis. The same goes for his sporting equipment. He pays far more than I ever would for these things, but he knows how hard he is on them, and when they break he is covered by the warranty.

Thinking about how many pairs of sun glasses my wife has purchased that cost about $10 a pair. She is actually pretty good on her stuff and they last a few months, but eventually, they break. In the last two years, I can recall at least 5 pair of sunglasses that have broken on her. That’s $50 right there! If we had purchased sunglasses with a lifetime warranty, the high price would have been worth it and in another two years would pay for itself, if she continues to break them on schedule πŸ˜‰

More pressing, I always buy really cheap shoes and wear them until they are practically only being held together by the laces. The pair I am wearing now is no exception, Walmart, $12 shoes. They are currently about two stitches away from exploding and winter is pressing in. Needless to say, I need to purchase a new pair. These lasted nearly six months. The pair before these were hideous Payless clearance shoes, cost me $3 for the pair and lasted about four months.

I hate shoe shopping. I can’t stress that enough. They all look crappy to me and I hate taking my shoes off in public. I am tired of buying a new pair of shoes every six months, even if they are that cheap.

What do I do?

Should I find a pair of shoes that has a lifetime warranty, or at least has some amount of quality that will last me a few years, but costs much more than my previous pairs or do I just suck it up, pick up another pair or two of the Walmart tennies and stop complaining?

If the more expensive route is what you would do, do you have any shoe recomendations?

I’m a simple guy and just want something to cover my feet and last forever, nothing fancy.

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14 People have left comments on this post

» No Gravatar said: { Dec 31, 1969 - 05:12:00 }

» Emily A. BobergNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 03:11:00 }

I have had a pair od Doc Martin's, which were about $150, for six years now and they are still good as new! I also have several pairs of Nike's which are entereing into their 3rd and 4th year of life and still have lots of wear left in them! I don't know if the longevity of the shoes is due to the brand or to my use of them, though others have attested to similar experiences. Hope it helps!

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 03:11:00 }

I have heard good things about Doc Martin's, maybe I will have a look at them. Just pulling up their website, some of the shoes are a bit much for me, but I see some neutral colored casual shoes that would do just fine. I'll have to find a place to try some on, as well as some Nikes. Thanks for the info Em!

» Mrs. MicahNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 02:11:26 }

I don’t even know….I guess it all depends on how you feel about the shoes. Like I don’t care about sunglasses & I break them often or lose them. My own bad. I don’t think the expensive kinds are right for me, esp. since I don’t use them unless I have to. Shoes, I buy ones that meet the minimum reqs of style, comfort, and potential durability…

Since you’re looking for one good pair of shoes to last you, you’re not concerned about styles, and I assume you’re not extra-hard on them–go for quality. My dad used to have shoes that would last 5 years or more with only occasional sole patching. Worked well for him.
.-= Mrs. MicahΒ΄s last blog ..November Γ’β‚¬β€œ Donating, Noveling, Applying to Grad School =-.

» AmandaNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 02:11:09 }

I totally agree with your friend. I tend to usually go with the median price on things, so not the most expensive shoes but not the cheapest either. I have a pair of Adidas I bought in 2003 that I still wear everyday (and I even wore them to dance in for 2 years) that are still in almost perfect condition. I paid 60 bucks for the shoes, so not the cheapest pair (like $12) but not the most expensive either ($100+). I think a lot of it depends on the item too. Sunglasses, for example, can be bought cheap but maybe buy a case or something to keep them safer from breaking.

Great post!!
.-= AmandaΒ΄s last blog ..Day 3: St. Lucia =-.

» CraigNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 03:11:11 }

Depends the item. Sometimes I just want the cheapest price. On some clothes I would rather spend less on certain items. With electronics I want something that I know is a better quality and am willing to spend more.

» YanaNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 04:11:39 }

I think you need to experiment with quality shoes, to see if they provide you value. Here are some brands for men – Acorn Slippers, Birkenstock, Brand X Huaraches, Chaco, Clarks, Un.Structured by Clarks, Ecco, Haflinger, Keen, MBT, Merrell, New Balance, PG Lite, SAS, Teva, and UGG Boots & Slippers.

I don’t like shoes, and have to generally buy expensive ones because I have wide feet and a high instep. Expensive shoes last me a very long time. On the other hand, my husband wears out shoes fast – even slippers that are only worn around the house and yard. He loves expensive dress shoes, and they do last him because he rarely wears them!

About sunglasses – I’ve always liked cheap ones, but my husband got a pair of Ray Bans and since he thought they were so great, I got myself a pair of expensive sunglasses. I didn’t wear them for long, as they got loose. The lens popped out, but was easily put back in. The trouble was that my more recent cheap ones would break, so I found another brand of $10 sunglasses and they are fine. I find them preferable to expensive ones, and my husband liked them so much that he wanted some. He wears them more often because being cheap, they are less of a worry. And he loves the looks of them.

I prefer buying things of value that last. If I can do it cheaply, I will, but I gladly spend more if that is what is necessary to get the best deal. The specifics, like shoes, are on a personal basis because it depends on whether you wear out expensive shoes at the same rate as cheap ones.

» UPrinting ReviewsNo Gravatar said: { Nov 4, 2009 - 09:11:54 }

Yeah! I think that if you really need something for a long time use, then invest in quality things that may cost more. But if you are just purchasing something for one time use or for just short time use, then it’s okay to be frugal.
.-= UPrinting Reviews Β΄s last blog ..Making High Impact Posters =-.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks for stopping by, Uprinting review person, good thoughts, but I really try not to buy anything that I know I will only use a short time. I’d rather just borrow, or go without in that situation.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 5, 2009 - 12:11:11 }

Mrs. Micah,

my wife wears her sunglasses every day primarily because she’s short and the visor in the car can’t even come close to blocking the sun from her eyes πŸ˜‰ so the glasses are a must have and the question about quality vs quantity remains there.

True, I’m not extra hard on shoes, the one thing I do that probably wears them out a tad faster is I never untie them (on purpose) so I slip them on and off still tied. I have seen this cause more wear in the heel area of the shoe, but they still wear fine.

I think I will step it up a notch, that is the general consensus I’m getting. I talked to a friend that is very much like me and used to buy very cheap shoes, but he bought a pair of Sketchers for about 45$ and stands by them now.

Thanks for the tips Mrs. Micah!

(and sorry for all the shoe puns πŸ˜‰ )

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 5, 2009 - 12:11:50 }

See, that’s what I want. I don’t care about brand names or anything but I want to eliminate repurchasing the same pair of shoes from my routine, even if it’s only every six months or so. $60 is pretty dang good for 7 years of wear!

I actually got Karly a case for the sunglasses, but she never uses it πŸ˜‰ I still am torn on the sunglasses decision. I think I will wait till the current pair breaks to decide though, after experimenting with shoes since that is more urgent. This pair won’t last another week πŸ˜‰

Thanks for your comments!

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 5, 2009 - 12:11:21 }

I totally agree with that Craig. I’m a techy guy and when it comes to something I know I will treat well, and use very often, after doing weeks or months of research, I buy something I know will last and work perfectly for a long time.

Shoes and sunglasses, as well as some other things, are very foreign to me and I have only experienced using or buying them one way, thus my dilemma here πŸ˜‰

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Nov 5, 2009 - 01:11:36 }


Awesome list of brand names! Some of these I have never even heard of, of course I am a very simple shoe guy like I said πŸ˜‰ I know Nike and Champion, and have only worn one of the two πŸ˜‰

I actually have been wearing the same dress shoes for about 6 years now, they were passed down to me from my dad, have no sole and are very worn, so I will be using these comments and advice to purchase a new pair of those as well πŸ˜‰

There is a brand I have heard of, Ray Bans, and thanks for sharing your experience with them. Glad to hear the cheapies outlasted them, and I will cross them off my list when shopping for an expensive pair for the wife (If I choose to go that route).

“I gladly spend more if that is what is necessary to get the best deal”

Really excellent comments Yana, I will take these into consideration this weekend when I go shoe shopping πŸ˜‰

» Gunnars GlassesNo Gravatar said: { Nov 24, 2009 - 12:11:17 }

Never thought of it this way

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