Budgeting: Value vs. Cheap

Budgeting: Value vs. Cheap
Photo by: TheCulinaryGeek

On this incredible day I’d like to address a thought on money budgeting 101. Thus was born the topic: Value vs Cheap.

“What’s the difference?” you say with wistful eyes.

I thought you’d never ask…

First, let’s talk about value. When we buy something based on the value we place on it, we usually feel that the product fills one or more needs that are important to us. The quality, effectiveness, longevity, amount of happiness it brings, and even the time it takes to purchase a product or a service are a few examples of needs. If we think that a product is of great value, we believe that the price we pay for it is well worth the need(s) it fills.

For instance, I took my niece out for an ice cream. (Yes, ice cream definitely fulfills many of my needs.) I wanted to get a good dose of a quality coconut delight flavor on a crunchy waffle cone with chocolate, whipped cream and almonds topping it off. (If you are salivating, then you definitely have an ice cream need, too.) I also wanted a clean, a fun and a family-friendly atmosphere where we could just kick back and talk.

We could have opted to buy a cheap novelty bar for a mere fifty cents from the local store. While it may have provided a quick craving-fix and a smaller parting of money from my purse, it lacked fulfilling key needs that the local ice cream shop could fill in that instance. If I rated it on a scale of 1 to 10, (10 being the greatest,) I would have given the novelty bar a 3.

Which leads us to the definition of the word, cheap. When a person buys purely on price with little regard for the needs the purchase fills, that is cheap. I know, it almost sounds like a swear word. (It really isn’t, but maybe it should be.)

Now, I am all for a great bargain. I am a constant sale and discount searcher throughout the malls and the grocery stores. However, I prefer to buy items based on the value it gives me, and not just on the cheap price. As you probably guessed, I used this rule of value on my ice cream purchase.

So, my niece and I ended up going to our favorite ice cream shop. Ice cream there is creamy, tasty, and full of customizable toppings with just the right cone and with just the right flavor. (I am a big fan of the custom-built-dessert.) After buying our delightful cones for three dollars each, we sat on the antique-looking chairs, we listened to the jazzy music and we just talked.

Was my happy factor up? Yup. I’d rate it a ten. Was the amount of my happy factor worth the calories I ingested? Yup.. incredibly so. Was the $2.50 difference between the quality cone and the cheap novelty bar worth the extra money I dished out? Definitely.

Now, I am not saying that novelty bars from the local store are not good. (I am a shameless consumer of novelty bars on certain occasions, too.) However, in that one situation, my needs were better filled by going to the ice cream shop. (And I will gladly go for that value again and again and again and again. Did I say, “Again?”)

With that salivating example, I might point out that value doesn’t only apply to ice cream. It applies everywhere an exchange for goods or for services are warranted. Cars, dish washing soap, clothing, house cleaners (I’ve yet to try one of these,) and a whole slew of consumer goodies all involve our thinking caps to determine value.

In order to alleviate some pressure on your hard working brain, I’ve come up with five key questions to ask yourself in order to determine value:

  1. What do I need?
  2. What will I be willing to pay?
  3. What need(s) does it fulfill?
  4. What need(s) does it not fulfill?
  5. Is it worth the price of the need(s) it does not fulfill?

There you have it…my thoughts on Value vs. Cheap. Hope this helps make your life a little bit easier, my Sweet Friend.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna get some ice cream.

Have an ice-creamalicious day!


The Happy Balance Girl

Copyright 2011 by Stacey Shimabukuro-Lui. All rights reserved.

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