Buy Good Things – Own Them A Long Time

Thrift or as some (my wife) might say being cheap, is one of my core values. I never had to go without any necessities growing up. My dad on the other hand was one of 14 kids. On some Christmases, their gifts might have been a piece of fruit and a pair of socks. Because of this, my parents instilled in me the value of not wasting things and avoiding frivolous spending. Overall, this has served me well.

One thing I have come to appreciate is thrift can also mean spending more to buy quality stuff that will last. Sure you can save money in the short term by buying cheaper things. If they have to be replaced frequently or fixed frequently, you were better off buying the more expensive, quality product. In the acquisition world, this is the concept of Total Cost of Ownership.

When Gina and I were first married, she worked at a furniture store in Pacific Grove, California. She wanted to buy a couch and a couple of other pieces. These were expensive, even with her discount, to someone who still had his 2nd Lieutenant garage sale couch. Couldn’t we just get something at Ikea or somewhere cheaper? The thing is we still have the couch and the other pieces almost 25 years later. We did replace the slipcover and cushions, but the frame is still great. Both that and the solid wood pieces we bought also survived 10 military moves. I doubt the Ikea stuff would have fared as well.

I still like to save money. Now, when I’m making a purchase, I really try to decide if this is something that I’m going to use for years. This could be furniture or ski clothes or a nice jacket. In those cases, I’ll pay up for something that will last. But, if it’s something disposable or that I’ll need only for a short time. I’ll still go for the cheaper item.

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  • Mike Hunsberger, ChFC®, CFP®, CCFC

    Mike Hunsberger, ChFC®, CFP®, CCFC is the owner of Next Mission Financial Planning located in Saint Charles, Missouri serving clients across the US and wherever the military takes them. After 25 years in the Air Force he started his firm to support military, former military, and retirees through values-based financial planning enabling clients to live their best lives.