“I’m too poor to buy cheap things”. Words from my art college instructor, Jean, many years ago have always resonated with me.
He was talking about cars back then, explaining why he drove cars manufactured from a country known for their high performance and higher price-point. The vehicles were expensive upfront but money was saved down the road with fewer repairs. Then there was the longer life span and higher resale value.
Back then, my spending habits were dictated by my student budget but as I settled into adulthood, I continued to spend money and acquire things like my old college instructor.
Especially in my home. And as a result, I end up buying less which allows me to spend more on better quality pieces where I see fit.
Below are my 5 ways to buy better, not more for the home.
1. Buy the Best Quality you can Afford
Cheap things break, need replacing or repairs, and/or end up on the curbside and ultimately landfills. To buy the best quality you can afford is taking action to break this cycle. Furnishing a room or entire home should never be about doing everything at once. Take your time, research quality made goods, save up for these items if necessary (whether new or second-hand) and ask yourself if you never buy another XYZ item, could I live with it?
2. Support Artist and Craftspeople
Artist and craftspeople have a passion for what they do and it usually shows up in the work they create. Buying from artist and craftspeople is a strike against assembly-line, mass-produced goods, which although cheaper are often cheaply made. Buying directly from craftspeople and artist also brings back a level of personal touch between a consumer and the product. To find local artisans and craftspeople, contact guilds, craft councils, art communities or try google searches.
3. Style Trumps Trend
The website Buymeonce.com writes in their mission statement: “We’re looking for the classic designs that will go the distance”. This statement sums up the function of style and what trends lack very well. What this means for your home is that once you cultivate a style that suits you, or you and your family, it will be something that evolves over time rather than extinguishes with it.
4. Become a Smarter Buyer
Eco-friendly, Energy Efficient, Fair-trade, Contains Recycled Material are just some of the labels that can make us feel like we’re making a conscientious purchase. But be cautioned, eco-labels don’t mean you should neglect to do your own research or that the absence of a label means it’s necessarily an unconscientious choice. Find out where your products come from and how they’re produced before you make a final decision. For more on buying smarter and more conscientiously, visit ethicalconsumer.org.
5. Go Small and Go Home
In 1975, the average size of a house in Canada was 1,050 square feet (1,780 square feet in the US, 1978). That size increased to 1,950 square feet in 2010 (2,662 square feet in the US, 2013). The “Tiny House” movement gained popularity partly due to the 2007-08 financial crisis in North America when people started looking for housing alternatives. However, Jerel McCants of Jerel McCants Architecture in Tampa, Florida cautions, “The cost per square foot can be higher if the customer intends to outfit their tiny home with amenities akin to a regular size house. To get the best value from Tiny House living, the owner(s) must really commit to scaling down.”
These 5 buy better, not more tips makes for selective and informed consumers who are less likely to waste, have a discerning eye for quality and style, and like my instructor Jean, thrive on getting the best value for their money. Buying better, not more makes good dollar sense whatever your income level or whether you’re just starting out in life, empty-nested or somewhere in between.