Everywhere I look these days, I see an obsession with “Cheap.” Every television advert seems to focus on cheap pricing, every bar blackboard tells me how cheap the beer is, and I get regular emails from readers of our Lanzarote website, which start with the words “What’s the cheapest way to…..”
I think too often, we lose sight of value for money when we focus on cheap.
An example came to mind when I was cooking last night. Way back in 1995, I started work for Volkswagen Group, and they required me to relocate nearer their head office. They had an extremely generous relocation package, which meant that I could furnish my new house at their expense. It was so generous, in fact, that I was able to buy the best quality products I could find at the time. One example was a set of Prestige cooking pans — I chose the top of their range set, which featured copper bottoms. I remember they were over £100, and at that time you could buy a cheap set for around £15, so it was extravagant in the extreme!
But I still have those pans! They have been used almost every day since, and I can’t begin to think how many times they have been through the dishwasher or been scrubbed clean by my father in law. They are almost 20 years old, and yet they still look exactly the same as they did on the day I bought them. I have no doubt they will outlive me!
I know from experience that cheap pan sets last about two years, so in the time I have had these, I would have paid out at least £150 for new sets of pans had I gone the cheap route. Add in my time saving from not having to go out and buy ten sets of pans over the years, and factor in the savings in gas and electricity from their copper based bottoms, and you’ll probably agree that it was one of the best buying decisions I ever made. They certainly paid for their premium price within the first 14 years, and each year they continue to last now, they drive another nail into the coffin of the cheap version.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating always going for the most expensive option when you buy something. But I am saying that if you buy the cheapest, there is almost always a trade off somewhere.
- The cheapest way to get from the airport to your holiday accommodation is on a public bus, but it’s bloody inconvenient
- The cheapest tyres for your car will be noisier, less economical and last much less time than if you buy a well known make
- The cheapest email service provider for your blog (And that includes the free ones!) will not offer the facilities you’ll need in two year’s time
- The cheapest web hosting you can buy will let you down more often, and their service will frustrate you
Change your mindset and look for value for money, rather than cheap.