Monday, June 25, 2007

Lesson 8: Spending More to Buy Nicer Things

Being married means that I spend more on nicer things than I would have otherwise. Case in point: The two pictures show the relative differene in my perception of a "dream house" at this point in our lives. The first one is offered for a grand total of $7000, the second, for something like 2.1 mil. While I somewhat jest at the extent of our differences (who wouldn't want house #2?), the fact of the matter remains that as a single individual, I would probably have no problem living in a $7000 hovel. (In some ways, the contrarian glamor of it is rather appealing). Nevertheless, I wouldn't ever want my wife to have to live in a roach infested shack. (See Lesson 9: Living a happier, healthier life). Before I got married, I slept on a $50 futon, which was great for me, but I deemed unacceptable for married folk. We went out and got curtains and rods for the windows (which were perfectly fine bare).

But the real difference is the attitude of buying - not for an immediate need - but for something that is going to last. As opposed to buying furniture made of particle board that will disintigrate at the first sign of moisture, I've bought furniture that hopefully will last for years. Instead of buying tools for a project based on "what's the least expensive", I've bought tools that will last a lifetime (or at least have a guarantee for that long).

Many people buy for "now". They want the DVD/VCR combo, so they buy the Cheap-mart version for $50, as opposed to spending $90 for a version that will last more than twice as long (prices quoted are fictitious with no knowledge of actual prices). Such tradeoffs on price and quality are often difficult to quantify, but can be key to saving big bucks in the future. The way I was raised, if something is worth getting, its worth spending the extra time and asking the extra questions to make sure you're getting the best value. This really is the key, whether you are buying an air mattress, or a house. Having the right information allows you to make a good decision on the tradeoffs between price and quality - sometimes there isn't any difference, sometimes 5-10 dollars can make a big deal. So sure, I do spend more on things now that I'm married. But I'm confident that the extra money I spend has bought me quality, functionality, and value that more than makes up for the dollars of extra price.

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