Slowly Sipping Coffee

I’m not Cheap, I just don’t “overbuy”

This past President’s Day I had the day off. Yep, I’m at one of the odd oil companies that still honors this day, which meant Mrs. SSC was at work, and the kids were at daycare, so I had a real free day to myself. I decided I would take the opportunity to go fishing, since I hadn’t been on the water yet this year. The weekend before, I checked my fishing tackle, read up on some new rigging techniques and made a list of things I needed from our local outdoor store. I got some different hooks, weights, and other items so I could try a new fishing technique. It’s actually old as dirt, but since I’m new to freshwater – non-fly fishing style fishing, it’s been “learn as you go”, and I have no one to teach me anything. That equals a lot of fishing, and just a little catching.

This was some catching! Yeah!

This was some catching! Yeah!

When I got to the lake, I talked with a guy, Cowboy, and he was telling me about a website that had all of these crazy expensive reels on sale for less than $50. Line, rods, reels, lures, anything you would ever need. He mentioned that he found it over the holidays when his house had been robbed and they got $1000 worth of tackle from his place. My first thought was, Holy crap, including my kayak, I don’t have $1000 worth of tackle! When he described his reels that he had stolen he talked about how he’d paid $400 for one, $200 for another, $300 for one that was on sale… Then I realized, I must be pretty cheap when it comes to buying gear. My whole rod/reel setup was less than $60, although I did get it on a great 40% off sale. It’s worked great and I’ve caught some really big fish on it. My other rod and reel, was one my mom used back in the day, and with a little reel lube and occasional line replacement, it is still catching fish at over 30 years old… My kayak, I got on sale for $150 off, along with all the accoutrements. Then I realized what the difference was in my shopping habits and Cowboy’s shopping habits.

I shop for value on my money spent balanced with the return I’ll get out of it. Hmm, that sounds like a lot of jibber jabber, so let me explain what I mean. I’m just an average Joe fisherman that probably couldn’t tell the difference in quality between a $400 reel and my current reel. Okay, I could, but I wouldn’t see it being worth the extra $340. I understand that the $400 reel will no doubt be “better” than my reel that I use. If Cowboy values that extra quality, then that’s awesome it’s his hobby, he should be able to enjoy it with whatever tackle he finds makes it more enjoyable for him. I would find a lot more enjoyable things to do than spend an extra $340 on a reel, so for me, it doesn’t pay out a positive return. I also understand that in general more expensive means better quality, but it doesn’t mean you have to overbuy. For less than $60 I’ve had a rod and reel that has worked great for over 3 years now. I didn’t overbuy but I didn’t buy cheap either.

I’ve found buying “cheap” leads to more spending than buying quality because cheaper things break quicker and need to be replaced more often. However, there are plenty of middle of the road companies that make great products for fair prices. I tend to stay in this path, unless I find a great sale. Even then, just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you need it.

I’ve come to find that’s the key with spending and not just related to hobbies. It’s not about “how much did it cost”, even though it seems like it for some people. I’m not one of those people. I’d rather get a fair price for good quality than spend more to have a name brand. When we were kids, my Grandad would give us $100 for Christmas. The stipulation was that you had to use it on shoes first, then you can do whatever you want with the money. My brother would invariably get the new Nike Jordan’s and still need an extra $10-$20 bucks from mom or dad. I’d hit Shoe Carnival and get 2 pairs of shoes, and have $60 left over to spend on whatever I wanted. I didn’t overbuy, my shoes lasted the year, and I got to get more toys or what not with the leftover.

Have you ever found yourself overbuying on things? Is overbuying worth it for you? It was for my brother, and he got his return on enjoyment from the money spent by having Air Jordans, even though they wouldn’t always make it a full year…

26 thoughts on “I’m not Cheap, I just don’t “overbuy”

  1. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure

    This is something I have thought about a lot as I’ve been going through all the things in my house. You know the things I’m throwing away? The cheap stuff I didn’t ever love but bought because they were cheap. The stuff that remains are the things that were “worth” their money… which, in most cases, were actually more expensive, but hold greater value. Cheap crap isn’t worth it.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah we found the same type of thing when we did a big pare down of stuff before our move to Houston. The cheap stuff isn’t worth it.
      We’ve found some higher end items that we thought should have lasted longer didn’t even though they were from a reputable company. Nordic track for instance. We should’ve gone the middle of the road route and stuck with good and fair for a treadmill, because the NordicTrack we got has been broken and not working longer than it’s been functional… Never buy Nordictrack…

  2. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    I try not to overbuy but I don’t want to go too cheap either because I agree with you, cheap sometimes ends up being more costly. It can be hard to find that line between good value and overbuying but I would rather err on the side of slightly more expensive than cheap crap that will be in the garbage in 2 weeks.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I totally agree. I like to shop and review bigger items, even fishing rods and reels, and find a good middle of the road company and then wait for sales to get a better deal. I also err on the side of “pay a little more now” rather than constantly replacing something. It adds up quickly if you go cheap.

  3. Amber Tree

    Forcing to compare against buying a good pair of Air Jordans is a though one… I just loved these shoes to play basketball! The best I have ever had…

    Anyway, Your article makes sense: we should buy value if we need the item. For me, there is no clear line on: is it a brand or a no brand item…

    In my photography hobby, I have a basic camera, some non premium brand lenses but some lenses I wanted to have the real stuff and paid the premium price for that higher quality. Overall my camera bag costs half of the price of some friends. Why did I not go all the way premium stuff?
    First of all, the limitation in photography is 95pct of the time me, not the gear. For the specific use of the lens that I haven the reviews from premium vs no brand were almost the same. The premium lens I bought was way better in reviews than the no brand one…
    That is how I make my choice. What is my need, who has the best offer for this need.

    1. Mr. SSC

      My brother thought the same thing, but then he played a lot more basketball than me. 😄
      I have the same limitations with fishing or any of those hobbies, in that better gear isn’t going to help me catch me more fish, lol. Good gear is worth it, but it’s just balancing how much I will get out of it vs the cost.

  4. Harmony @ CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    My husband and I pretty much agree on finding the best deals possible and buying a lot of stuff second hand. We do argue a bit about getting a “new” vehicle. I want to pick up something really cheap off of Craigslist. He wants to go to a used car dealer, so we can have some sort of guarantee that it won’t explode the day after we buy it. We are still “debating.”

    1. Mr. SSC

      That’s a tough call. I’d be reluctant buying a car off of Craigslist, but yet I have many colleagues that have had good experiences with it, so that would make me more inclined to try it. Of course, I don’t have a high opinion of car salesman or dealerships either, it’s just a necessary evil when you need to get a new car. Good luck on that debate and let me know if you go craigslist and how it turns out.

  5. Stockbeard

    I used to overbuy, not necessarily expensive stuff, but insane quantities of it, for no good reason. You have no idea how many “TV set top boxes” I bought in my lifetime. They were all functional but I always “needed” the last one.

    I have gotten rid of that habit, can’t think of anywhere I “overspend” nowadays.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Me too, I have more of the “same” kind of things from back in the day when I’d just buy,buy, and maybe one more in case this one breaks, lol. Like you, that habit isn’t around anymore and I just go for what fits my need and will get me the best quality in a range I want to spend.

  6. Fervent Finance

    Nice fish! My grandfather used to fish a ton and my father still does. They bought their tackle from Walmart and the like. Yet they still have caught more fish and bigger fresh water fish than anyone I know in our area. So I never thought spending money on tackle lead to more fish, because I witnessed the opposite growing up. Unless you’re out in the ocean fishing for tuna… I’m sure your tackle is more than okay! :)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! Like you noticed and Amber Tree pointed out, it’s not a tackle problem as much as a “me” problem in catching more fish. 😄 especially with fly fishing where that stuff gets real expensive really fast, I’ve found some great tackle on sale that catches loads of fish. I’m much better at fly fishing for some reason, but I just haven’t read too much on freshwater techniques and the like. Until recently anyways when I decided I don’t know enough and that’s probably why I fish more than catch, lol.

  7. Our Next Life

    I think over time I’ve bought every possible way — overbought, underbought, bought the cheapest thing, bought the “better” thing. And now I try to figure out what’s optimal in terms of enjoyment and being built to last — no way will I buy something just because it seems fancier, but I’ve bought enough cheap crap that broke too soon to be willing to go down that road. More and more, we’re buying quality items used, since that old adage is true: they just don’t make ’em like they used to. We furnished a lot of our home with flea market furniture which was MUCH cheaper than even buying from Ikea, but is made better than all but the highest end stuff today. Our one recent splurge was on a nicer than standard dishwasher, but that’s mostly because most new dishwashers today don’t actually clean dishes, and we were willing to spend a little more on one that actually does its job. So far it’s been a good investment, even if we’re a little annoyed that a cheaper one wouldn’t have done the job. :-)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Same here… After buying every which way we’ve gone the same route and try to find good quality used stuff or with more simple furniture just get Mrs SSC’s dad to make us something. I think a good dishwasher is almost invaluable. Our last two places have had loud noisy not super effective dishwashers, but I haven’t replaced them yet because, well, they’re not poor enough to justify replacing if not broken… I envy those with quiet efficient dishwashers. I plan on spending a bit more in that arena when/if I ever get to that point.
      I’ve been so disappointed with furniture I don’t even know where to begin. Expensive, cheap, middle of the road, it’s hard to find them made “like they used to” where they are built to last AND still be comfy.

  8. Tyler

    I for a long thought that cheaper was always better. But there are some things that are very worth paying more for if you are getting it. Simple things like Reynolds wrap tin foil. Cars too it’s a concept that escaped me for far too long.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree, some things you just can’t go cheap. Well you can but it ends up not worth it. 😀
      Even with cars, I say it follows that same model.

  9. Alyssa @ Generation YRA

    I think even before I was really serious about my personal finances, I’ve always been pretty price conscious. Although not too long ago, I would always buy cheap. I’ve learned too many lessons now that price point & quality are pretty comparable to each other (in most cases). I now would rather buy less, at a decent price point, and a quality item. Luckily, there are so many ways to buy quality at a discount if you just do a little research first! I am finding my go-to companies for purchasing slightly used items, and you can never forget Craigslist. Too many people are willing to almost giveaway their brand new, high quality items in these places!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah,I think everything has a price point for me now. We are all about finding stuff in craigslist or similar forums to get things gently used but still with a lot of use left in them. We use the same routes to get rid of stuff other people could use and we can then get something from it too. You find the right people and like you said you can get some stuff at a steal because they place no value on that item. It’s awesome!

  10. ThePersonalEconomist

    Totally agree, you have to look for value. Dishwashers definitely, considering how much they get used (in our house anyway). I’ve bought cheap Running shoes and paid the price, now I invest in a decent pair. It’s all about aligning your spending with your priorities.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Man, running shoes… I’ve only gone cheap for shoes when I was younger and for yard work. Then it doesn’t matter if they’re not awesome, because they’re going to get wrecked with mud, grass, and who knows what else. You definitely need alignment with spending, like so many other things in life. My last running shoes I got a good(?) pair and still with a sale price too. I didn’t break the bank but they’re comfy, fit well and provide good support. I think I’ll have to get a new pair soon though. They’re getting some miles racked up on them.

  11. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

    That’s such a cool money lesson from your grandpa! I completely agree that I’d rather get off brand and spend less than pay more just for some bragging rights. As long as the item will do what I want it to do, then why not just get the one that’s the best deal?

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks, and I agree! When I got my “new” rod and reel I thought the same thing because I’d never spent that much on one before, lol. I was just blown away by how much this guy spent on his tackle. To each their own I guess.

  12. Jenna L at Hello Suckers

    There are certain things that I will plump for the cheaper option for – usually underwear, basic clothing items and food but I know what you mean about the quality and I watch out for that. Something that I need and I need it to last however, I’ll budget for and splash out. Not overbuying but not scrimping either.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree that quality can come with a higher price tag. Like you some things are worth it, and some aren’t. It’s just been a slow process of figuring out what fits into each category. :)

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