Living Frugally: Paying For Quality

Paying for QualityAs I have mentioned in other Living Frugally posts, there are several misconceptions about frugality and frugal people. One of my ‘favorites’ is that frugal folks are “too greedy to spend money.” 

The masses have been convinced that frugal people spend as little as possible because we can’t stand to part with money. How wrong they are!

On New Year’s Day, which is also my wife’s birthday, my wife and I enjoyed a laid back drive around town. We visited a few stores including two antique shops. In one of these shops I came across a nice pair of Dr. (Doc) Martens shoes. I had never owned a pair but discovered they fit really comfortably.

My wife then educated me on how well-made they are, mentioning that she had never met anyone who succeeded at wearing out a pair of these high quality shoes. I asked the store manager to check the price for me and learned that a brand new pair of the exact shoes I tried on would cost around $300.

The important question is, “Would it be frugal of me to purchase a three-hundred dollar pair of shoes?”

The fact is, I’m rough on my shoes. I don’t like being home a lot. I’m an active person and as a businessman, public speaker, etc., I’m in my shoes a lot. I’m in the market for a new pair about every two years at most. That’s $660 between now and my sixtieth birthday if I purchase one pair every two years. (not including inflation).

Considering the math, my frugal mindset tells me I should happily let go of $300 in exchange for a high quality pair of shoes that even I can’t wear out. In the long run, I’ll save over $360.High Quality

Is it greedy to expect the highest quality in return for your hard-earned wages? Is it greedy to choose to spend less in the long-term while enjoying the highest level of craftsmanship? Of course not, it’s not greed it’s frugal…aka smart living!

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. If you have the money, don’t over think it. Just buy the shoes if you really like them, and if you think you will get your bang for your buck.

    • A good point. Sometimes it is nice to buy something just because you want it. For me, the practice of being frugal – avoiding waste and being prudent in saving/investing – means it is more likely that I will be in a position buy the quality goods/services I desire, when I desire them or need them.

  2. Investing in good quality items has always been part of a frugal lifestyle.

    • Very, very true. Thanks for stopping by, Indiana Teacher. Watching the Colts play today?

  3. Excellent post. This is a good example of quality as a component of frugality. To me, that would be very expensive for one pair of shoes because I like to mix them up, but I see your point. I apply this for buying in general. When I was younger, I couldn’t afford the nicer appliances so I would automatically buy the cheapest they had. Although I got lucky with a couple of them, most of them would stop working within a short period of time. Sometimes it is worth spending the extra money so you are not purchasing the item year after year.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Karen. Like you, I have gone the route of automatically buying the least expensive – often cheapest in every sense of the word – item and been less than satisfied with its performance and longevity.

    • Thanks for reading Karen! Three hundred dollars for shoes does seem like a lot at once. Growing up I always told people I wouldn’t pay $100 for Jordans unless they lace themselves up. Now at almost 39 years old I see the logic in spending a bit more in order to have the highest quality which actually saves money in the long run.
      (I’m still not paying $100 for Jordan’s name on a pair of basketball shoes though)

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