Simple Living—What if You Had Less, But Better?

What if you bought fewer clothes, but better ones?  They would last longer and look better.  One watch, but a better watch.  Men don’t wear much in the way of jewelry—don’t wear a watch that looks like it is from the drugstore  One pen, but a better pen.  Are you going have your client sign the big deal with a $0.99 BIC or a $10.00 Parker?  Three to five business suits, but better, quality suits.  One vacation, but a better, more memorable one.  I like buying things that are quality-made and that are made to last. 

As an example, I buy more expensive classically styled shoes (close to $300 per pair) and wear them for 10-12 years with one or two decent resole/heel jobs ($45 each job).   I also have more than one pair so that I don’t wear the same pair twice in a row—they need time to dry out between wearings.  I used to know a guy who would buy one pair of shoes ($100), and wear them for a year.  At the end of the year the shoes looked like they should have been retired three month earlier, but we will use a year in the example that follows.

  • I spend $600 on two pairs of shoes.
  • In four years, I get both resoled and heeled $90
  • Four years later, I have both resoled and heeled again $90
  • In year 12, it’s time for new shoes.
  • I spent $780 for comfortable, quality shoes that didn't look cheap.

My friend spent $100 twelve times for a total of $1,200.00 or $420.00 more than me.  Who is more frugal and who is just cheap?

BTW, the last pair of dress shoes I bought was more than eight years ago and they still look great.


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