Shop for qual­ity goods

Central Leader - - OPINION -

Twenty years ago, I bought a bike.

It was a Spe­cialised, an Amer­i­can brand, and quite frankly, I don’t think I ever got as much value out of any sin­gle thing I have owned as that bike.

It still serves me as an ex­er­cise bike on a frame in the garage.

So when it came to buy­ing a new bike sev­eral weeks ago, the first bikes I looked at were Spe­cialised bikes. I bought one again. In case you think this is shame­less brand spon­sor­ship, I have not re­ceived a cent from the bike com­pany.

All the money has so far flowed the other way, though my years of bike-com­mut­ing in my 20s and 30s did save me a packet.

And I did bar­gain a bit when I bought my new mode of com­mut­ing, as all of us should to keep our con­sumer mus­cles ex­er­cised and shops on their toes, though I think the sales­man could see in my eyes how much I wanted it and the dis­count he gave me was more gen­er­ous than my half-hearted ef­forts de­served.

My brand loy­al­ties are based on my own pe­cu­liar take on ‘‘value’’.

One of the aw­ful things about stuff is that so much of it is made to fail pretty quickly.

Ex­pe­ri­ence shows that there are com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing stuff that costs more but wears so well that the value you get from ev­ery dol­lar ex­ceeds that of cheaper equiv­a­lents.

A jew­eller once showed me the markups there are on dif­fer­ent price points for jew­ellery.

The more ex­pen­sive the item, the lower the gap be­tween the price of the raw ma­te­ri­als and the price.

It’s grossly un­fair and fits into that per­pet­ual theme of how ex­pen­sive it is to be poor.

Even when you are ‘‘sav­ing’’ money buy­ing low-cost items, you are of­ten ef­fec­tively be­ing charged more. So what can you do? This isn’t go­ing to be much help to those on low in­comes, but the an­swer is buy less and fo­cus on value.

I’m not big on take­aways, de­spise trips to the mall, and don’t have ex­pen­sive tastes in elec­tron­ics or a fash­ion ad­dic­tion but I will splash out on a pair of McKin­lays boots, for ex­am­ple.

The up­front ‘‘in­vest­ment’’ is more, which is a prob­lem for the cash-strapped, but I’ve only had to own two pairs in the last 10 years.

Sim­i­larly, I have an Ice­breaker fleece from nigh on 13 years back.

It still looks good and now I own a cou­ple more items from them.

They cost me a bit, but I don’t ex­pect to have to re­place them un­til I’m in my late 50s. Money to buy bet­ter can only be found by spend­ing less on other things.

All of us know what we frit­ter cash on, be it take­aways, take-out lunches, cof­fees, park­ing tick­ets or heaps of poor qual­ity stuff for the kids.

If you want bet­ter value stuff, and to save money in the lon­grun, you have to take a knife to that.

The long-last­ing McKin­lays boots now cost the equiv­a­lent of $5 for each work­ing week in a year.

Frit­ter $5 less each work­ing week for a year and you have boots that will be the only pair you’ll need for the next five to seven years. And you’ll be able to say you bought New Zealand made.

The other thing to be­ware of is fall­ing foul of our per­va­sive sales cul­ture and that na­tional ob­ses­sion with ran­dom trips to the mall. Nei­ther are con­ducive to buy­ing well.

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