Why You Shouldn’t Spend Your Money Wisely

I’d like to run something past you…

What I’d like to discuss with you today is money. Not just money though. I’d also like to discuss quality, long-term thinking and life itself (stick with me here :-D).

As I continue to think about designing and making the best products I can (which typically results being the best products available) …I’m starting to think more and more that buying a quality product is more than just the product itself. Do you find this?

I’ll be honest with you:

I used to appreciate quality to a certain degree. If I needed, for example, some headphones. I’d research all (yes, ALL!) the available headphones on the market. Find out which ones were the best and — although typically outside my budget —  buy them anyway!

“…buying a quality product is
more than just the product itself.”

 

There was almost always a certain degree of “discomfort” when you make a purchase of something that’s typically “the best”. I’m sure you can relate to this, right?

You hand over your hard-earned cash for something… while at the same time you’re very aware that you could get something that “does the same job” for around a tenth of the price.

Take my Titanium Tweezers for example (about to launch the V2.0 on Kickstarter soon):

Hand-on-heart I firmly believe there are the BEST tweezers in the world (I would not make them if I did not think this was the case)

Hand-on-heart I firmly believe there are the BEST tweezers in the world (I would not make them if I did not think this was the case)

You can buy other tweezers for a fraction of the price.

But let me ask you this…

Does the cheaper one really do the same job?

Personally, I find there is usually some degree of discomfort when I hand over money for a product that typically seems “expensive” at the time.

Yet here’s the crazy thing…

 

When some time has passed after making a purchase and the feeling of thinking, “jeez, should I really have paid this much for THIS?” has passed…. I have never (and I mean NEVER) regretted it.

To spend your money “wisely” would be to buy the product that fits your purpose the best, right?

Well I think that’s flat out wrong.

I buy the best (or at least as near as I can get to it) because I think that’s the right choice.

It’s a form of “excellence” I reckon. Holding myself (and the products I allow into my life) to the highest standard I can.

In other words… I don’t want “good enough” in my life… I want to have the best in my life.

Take a look at this:

I don't make trailers... but if I did... then they would be like this!

I don’t make trailers… but if I did… then they would be like this!

The above is a trailer I just bought for Cogent. The quality of it is beyond ridiculous (I’ll do a video on it soon I think). Basically, if Cogent made trailers then this would be what I’d be making.

“The quality of it is beyond ridiculous…”

 

And, to be honest, I’m still feeling the “discomfort” of paying so much for it. But I know it will pass …and that I’ll have a trailer that will outlive me (seriously, I’m going to be passing this thing onto my son!).

When I think back on everything I have ever purchased that seemed “too much” at the time (because I usually search around and end up buying the best) I can’t think of a single time where I wish I’d bought a lower quality or cheaper version. Never.

But I can think of many times in the past where I’ve been “cheap” and gone for the non-best, budget version of something. And, without a doubt, I have regretted it every damn time.

“…in the past where I’ve been ‘cheap’
…I have regretted it every damn time.”

 

And it gets worse…

When I buy something that’s not the best (or at least up there with the best) then the regret is with you every day you have that product.

If you regret the initial purchase of something of high-quality because it seemed to cost so much at the time… that feeling ALWAYS disappears after a few days, weeks or months. And, after that, you’re left with an awesome product and the knowledge that you bought the best and it’s going to perform well and do what you need it to do (and usually more!).

But here’s the thing:

I’m starting to think that buying quality (hey, it doesn’t need to be the best – that’s just how I do things) is so much more than just the product itself.

It seems that accepting only the best products into your life or not even products… it can be things like services …or even, say, coffee shops or restaurants …then it sets a standard for other things in your life.

I’m think about things like friends for example. If you’re going out and welcoming cheap, poor quality products into your life …then, just maybe, you’re going to be welcoming poor quality people into your life too!

“If you’re going out and welcoming cheap, poor quality
products into your life …then, just maybe, you’re going
to be welcoming poor quality people into your life too!”

 

Now, I’ll admit, I may be talking absolute poppy-cock (that’s English slang for bullshit). But maybe these things are connected. Maybe not.

Personally, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m not the most sociable person around. I don’t have a monster-sized circle of friends …but the friends I do have are of the highest quality. I don’t think I’ve ever “fallen out” with anyone. It just doesn’t seem to happen. And I’m convinced it’s because I only let “the best of the best” people into my life.

I am convinced that the quality of the people in my life is related to my philosophy on only buying the best.

Maybe this sounds weird. I have no idea.

What do you think about all this?

 

  • Phil says:

    So, if I buy a slew of your products, would that repel my no good friends? Jk Nice story. You’re probably right to a certain extent.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Magnus
    Have to say I pretty much agree with all you have said here: the price disappears over time – as long as the quality is there. Cheers. Daniel

  • Steve says:

    Agree totally, but with the exception of technology based products. No matter what you pay for that bleeding-edge piece of ultimate wonder tech, it will be obsolete and useless in acouple of years.

    My dad, who was a fitter by trade, taught me the wisdom of ‘buy once, replace never.’ Being a canny northerner, he’d figured out early that it always works out cheaper that way. Problem was, other, even tighter buggers, would nick his stuff. So he made sure he bought the best padlocks he could get.

    Case in point. 20 years ago, I paid a small fortune for a French Gitzo tripod. Cost more than my camera. It’s the only bit of photo gear I’ve never replaced. And it’s still brilliant. Been through seven or eight cameras in that period.

    • Yes, for sure. I bought a $100 tripod two years ago – it’s falling apart and ready for the bin (not sure why I’ve not thrown it out yet).

      Spent $500 on a new tripod a few months ago and there is no comparison (they were both the same make actually …but one was the BUDGET version!).

      The second, more “expensive” tripod is the bargain for sure.

  • Natalie says:

    I agree 100%. The frustrating thing is when nobody makes the product you want to a high enough quality. Happens to me all the time!

  • cc says:

    I’ll toss my hat here:

    While I agree with Magnus as a matter of principle (I have tried to do things on the ‘cheap’ enough times, and seen my parents do it – well, that’s another story that I’ll get to shortly), and learned $$$valuable lessons along the way.

    That said…

    Spend if you must, but when you do, spend wisely…

    I am in my mid 50’s. My parents lived at the tail-end of the depression in the U.S. If you reside in the United States, and have had the opportunity to talk with or be around someone 80+ years of age who still has a sharp mind, you already know where this is going.

    So, ‘young folks’, listen up (you too Magnus…)

    No one alive today under the age of (80) has any idea – nay, any concept, of what ~real~ economic hardship is all about. You, Me and the rest of us, have lived the life of Riley (or ‘Brian’…?) Anyway… There were all sorts of phrases and colloquialisms that proceeded out of that era, for it was a time where experiences of hardship, want, hunger, despair, Thrift, selflessness and Sacrifice became the rule by which most of the populace lived.

    Of course, there was still innovation and progress that continued right along during that period, but the experience was burned into the memory of those who grew up & around it, hence, those hardy souls carried with them a sense of ‘reserve’ and thrift. Spending money ‘frivolously’ and tossing away goods as is done today was essentially considered a ‘sin’.

    I always ask myself before making a purchase outside of everyday necessities: ‘Is this a tool I am going to use on a frequent basis, or is it a tool that provides utility that could potentially save a life at some point’…?

    In terms of many of Magnus’ offerings, I can justifiably answer: Yes. But I still give the purchase careful consideration…

    Remember, just because you have grown up under a certain economic ‘paradigm’, with little disruption to goods & services or general availability, does not mean that you will never experience anything different –

    Carry on Magnus…!!!

    • @cc…
      Oh, man, that’s so insightful. Thank you CC.

      I’ve heard this line of thought before. I kind of don’t want to hear it (probably because I’m in my modern-day, no-hardship big soft bubble :-D)… but it makes sense and, yeah, we “young ones” jut simply cannot grasp it.

      I’ve had credit cards before …never again!

  • Joshua Dick says:

    I totally agree. You’re not alone: https://dcurt.is/the-best

  • Peter Amsel says:

    This is something that I’ve learned to be true over the years and have tried to put into practice in my own life, whenever possible. One prime example is a the best pair of winter boots I’ve ever owned … and still wear (they just took me through my fourth winter and, were I to polish them, they’d look as good as the day I bought them).

    When I was shopping for a pair of new boots I knew what I wanted and, more importantly, what I did NOT want: I did not want a pair of cheaply made boots made in China. So much of what we are offered today is born in a factory overseas, it seems an impossible task to find something “distinct”, but, after several hours of searching through just about every shoe store in the downtown core (which was a REAL task considering how much I detest shopping) I found a pair of boots made in a country that understands winter: CANADA! Now, I’d already found several pair that had been “within my price range” (ie. under $100), and seemed perfectly serviceable, but they were all from China.

    The ones I found were all-leather (not the sole, of course), hand-stiched, beautifully constructed, and they had really sharp-looking red laces as well, which gave them a distinctive look (red and black appealed to my aesthetic eye). The cost? $220. So, the choice was to spend less than $100 on a pair that would last one winter (believe me, the boots from the previous winter had cost $85 and were leaking by the end of the first winter … in Ottawa we have extremely wet, slushy winters, as well as deep-freezes that can freeze the brass balls off of … well, you get the idea), or spend far more on a product made in Canada that seemed to be of a much better quality.

    SOLD! Now, after my fourth winter using those boots, the actual cost is (so far) $55/year, and it will only continue to decrease with every year the boots continue to last. Oh, as an example of the quality of the materials used: the LACES have not required changing … how often have you encountered boot laces that have lasted more than ONE season let alone FOUR? That is called quality.

    Many years ago, in an effort to save money, I bought a pair of cheap jeans. They literally disintegrated after a few washes. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, said, “If you buy a pair of $5 pants, you get a pair of pants worth $5.” BAM!

    It’s so true. When we try to “save money” by turning to the “cheap alternative” all we’re doing is, in the end, setting ourselves up to purchase a replacement all the sooner. That’s the problem with the “throw-away economy” – everything has been (well, many things) designed to have what’s known as planned obsolescence. This is why my second computer was a Dell – and every subsequent computer since – have been Dell products. I’ve purchased the maximum warranty, and they continue to work far beyond that date. My current laptop is now a few years past the end of its warranty. All that means is that I don’t keep liquids anywhere near the device, but – for the most part – it works nearly perfectly, which says a great deal for a 7-year-old laptop when they’re expected to be replaced every three or four years.

    Suffice it to say, Magnus, I agree with in every respect save for one thing: if you are wise, you WILL spend your money on better products because, in the end, that will SAVE you money. What people need to understand is that it’s important to save – to delay the impulse purchase – until they can actually afford to pay for it rather than going into debt. But paying a premium for quality will never lead to disappointment, not if it means you don’t have to run out to replace the hang-key with a new product because it tore a hole in your jeans (it won’t ever happen with the Cogent hang-key, not with the exquisite bevelled edges and refined finish!). Quality is worth the extra cost, that’s what people have to understand. Quality is an investment, just as time and crafstmanship is, and it doesn’t come cheap.

    • @Peter…
      Man, I really enjoyed your comment – thank you so much for sharing it.

      I can understand your story exactly… but in my case it was running shoes. I spent twice the “normal” amount on them and they lasted year and years.

      Eventually I had to replace them …but you can be damn sure I went for the same make again!

    • AdManTheLabRat says:

      Peter,
      Small world, my WifeyRat and I were just like you with High Quality/Low Cost (amortized out 8-10+ years)
      DELL.

      Then we were Beta Testers for Google’s CR-48’s
      We were BRAND Committed and LOYAL DELL Customers yet DELL never once reciprocated, then DELL started slacking, fit, finish and quality were the first to tarnish.

      We have discovered Low Cost, Highly Satisfying ChromeBooks where we can each get our own Prestige Model for 25% of that Dell/Windows kit. Dell is scrambling to get a piece of this pie and we will not buy from DELL again until they topple the current King ACER.

      It’s a new world and Magnus is the President of an exclusive Club where we value High End Cool Tools made from a Durable and Lustrous Metal by a Master Craftsmen that interactively shares his Labor of Love.

      I’m in and thank you all for being here.

  • Jacob says:

    Agree totally mate 😉 good read!

  • AdManTheLabRat says:

    I am an EarlyBird, pledged and got my V2 TiTweezers.
    Looking forward to them.

    Thanks Magnus and Good Job today may you be blessed with Backers!

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