Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Quantity vs Quality

I've always been a quantity over quality kinda gal. I'm talking about stuff not men ;P

Whenever I went looking for clothes, shoes, etc I looked at the price vs the materials, make, and construction. And I bought the cheapest of x I could find. So, how did I get to be drowning in debt? By buying too much and not paying the credit card off every month.

I think this stems from coming from a family of limited means. In order to get by we bought the cheapest stuff and if it was on sale, even better. Sale was my most dangerous 4 letter word (and still is very dangerous, just to a lesser degree). Then the goal is to wear that out until its unrepairable. I took the first part of the lesson to heart, but not the second. If something was broken, I'd just buy a new one, again the cheapest I could find. Thus ending up with a lot of stuff. I'm not 100% sure why I didn't take the second part to heart like the first, maybe because I was embarrased to see my family (and myself) in shoes with tape, pants with mended knees, and shirts with holes/stains. And I could "afford" it, by that I mean, I had room on my credit card.
This is a vicious cycle, one I've almost broken out of. I still look for cheaper items, but usually its a higher quality item that I found at a discount store like Marshalls or Winners, or it was on sale. But, now I'm being more conscious as a consumer, shopping with a plan, distinguishing needs vs wants (do I really need this? Do I already have x number of this at home? Do I have any other clothes that will go with this item?), and looking at items more carefully (How does it look on? Does it suit/flatter me? Are the materials comfortable?) All of these things have allowed me to spend less over the years and get more enjoyment out of what I already own.

Of course, this is moot as I'm on a Shopping Ban but I've been thinking a lot lately about my shopping triggers. And the "need" to replace items because they fell apart or piled or lost a button, etc is part of my triggers. More on some of my other triggers in other posts.

How about you, what triggers you to spend? Are you a quantity or quality type of shopper?



  1. I'm with you on the word "sale" being such a trigger for pretty much the exact same reason. I've tried two things that have really helped me resist the siren song of "sale".

    First is a forced (at least) 24-hour cooling off period between seeing something I want to buy and actually committing to purchase it. That helps me make sure it's something I legitimately want/need rather than a gut reaction to the sale itself. If it's a major purchase, then the cooling off period is even longer.

    Second is something that works particularly well for clothes & accessories: picking things when they're at full price and then committing to waiting to buy them until they're drastically reduced in price. It can take up to half a year for a brand new item to get slashed down to the price I'm willing to pay, which is a fantastic cooling off period. Plus, it helps confirm for me that I'm purchasing something I care about rather than buying something just because it's on sale.

  2. Very good tips B! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. That first line made me chuckle, lol.

    I used to be a quantity shopper while I was in university, but I've been slowly but surely turning myself into a quality shopper. You'll probably notice on your shopping ban that the quality items will hold up much more nicely over time as you're not shopping. By the time I finished paying off my debt my wardrobe was absolutely decimated, save for a few quality items. Since then I've been trying to bring in fewer items of higher quality, because it pisses me off now when my wardrobe falls apart on me. Good luck with the shopping ban!

  4. Hi Cassie, thanks for dropping by.

    I'm trying to be more discerning in my wardrobe choices as well. I think its part of the process of growing up :) Although I still find I look at the price more than the make/materials. I don't know if I'll ever get over that, unfortunately. Maybe after the shopping ban is over I will have a better idea of what held up the best over time and this will be the kick I need to stop letting price be the final decision maker.

    Thanks! So far I haven't really been tempted to shop or buy anything so its been easy. Once I think I need something its going to be harder to tell myself no. But its part of the process :)

  5. My triggers are just seeing stuff that I want to buy.

  6. Hi Mochimac,

    Yes, that would make sense. I've just been trying to be as conscious of my purchases as I can be to try and get out of debt and stay there. I've always been impulsive when it comes to purchases and I'm trying to curb that.

    Thanks for dropping by!