money health weekly


How to Evaluate Your Purchases


"Some people know the cost of everything but the value of nothing."

-Oscar Wilde


The first day of school is coming up and I need some new shoes. I'm in my early teens and I am rough on shoes. We go to the store and the only purpose is to find the cheapest shoes we can find that fit my feet.

Growing up, there was an emphasis on thrift, which we defined as buying the cheapest possible items we could. This, I propose, isn't the proper way to evaluate decisions, nor is it the proper way to be thrifty.

To the extent we could afford it, it would have made more sense to spend a little more on higher-quality shoes. Higher-quality shoes will last longer, and the cost-per-wearing would have been less.

This isn't saying that I needed name-brand shoes. Nor is this saying we should have spent money we didn't have.


A few years ago, my wife and I bought a camping trailer. It's fiberglass, and fiberglass trailers tend to cost more per square foot than regular, non-fiberglass trailers. What we get for that extra cost is a lighter trailer with a longer life expectancy and a higher resale value. Counterintuitively, when we consider the cost per night, including the resale value, it is actually cheaper to have a trailer that costs more.

We need to consider more than just price (don't simply buy the cheapest). We also need to consider if we get what we pay for with name-brand products (don't simply buy a name that doesn't offer function).

evaluating price and quality

Evaluating Quality

We need to buy things, and when it comes time to make a decision about whether or not to buy a generic version or a name-brand version, evaluating the quality will help you choose wisely.

There are not simply two choices; generic or name-brand. It's a continuum. I'm also not here to tell you that one should ALWAYS buy generic or ALWAYS buy name-brand. I'm here to have to ask yourself WHY you are making the purchase. Once you answer that for yourself, you'll better be able to know and understand what level of quality you actually need.

Evaluate what you need the product to do. For example, do you need a jacket that can keep you warm in harsh, varying conditions, or do you need a jacket to keep your warm in between your car and your office? How much value do you place on fashion? Give yourself permission to put your money into the features that you need, but only buy those features that you need and let go of the thoug