I have this problem. I honestly don’t have the skills necessary to determine if something is “quality” or not, other than if other people tell me it is so. I have a problem figuring out when it is better to spend more money for something. Yes, in retrospect, I can tell, if I buy something for half as much, and then it lasts only a quarter as long as whatever I could of bought would have, it was a bad decision. But I really lack the ability to tell these things in advance.
Maybe everyone does. But I find myself on the “cheap” end of the stick a LOT more often than I would like.
Name brands aren’t everything, right? Why pay a ton of money for a name brand clothing item when I can find much much less inexpensive things elsewhere? I’m just paying for the “brand” after all, when I buy a name brand item? Except, I think I’m not. I think there is actually a significant quality difference between some name brands and some no-name brands. I’m just not sure how much of a difference and how much that difference is worth.
My case in point. A few weeks ago, I found this adorable sweater, turtleneck, and corduroy pants combo marked down at Aldi for $4.99. I don’t often buy clothes at Aldi, in fact, I am not sure I have ever bought clothes at Aldi. But this caught my eye because it was marked “Clearance” (I love clearance), it was adorable, and it was in my son’s size. My son needs some more pants, and he could also use another sweater or two. $4.99 to fulfill both these things, and also get a turtleneck – great! I admit I did not look the clothing over as closely as I probably should have, but I did inspect it for tears, runs, or any other obvious imperfection.
Well, a few wearings (and washings) later, and I am regretting the $4.99 I spent more and more. The sweater is unraveling at the seams, and the button fastener on the pants doesn’t fit in the buttonhole correctly and has to be forced, which is making that loose and feel like it will come off too. The turtlneck is okay, but is very thin and not too exciting. The sweater makes me so sad. it is the cutest little striped sweater (which is ultimately why I was drawn to it) but it is so shoddy that I am not sure it will even survive another wearing. Sigh.
I know, it was only $4.99. What do I expect, anyway? It was a poor buying decision that I know I am doomed to repeat. In my quest to buy affordable clothing for my kids, I often end up buying clothing that doesn’t stand the test of time.
I think from now on I’ll stick to Goodwill. If I can find name brands there in good condition, they’re guaranteed to be cheap. And I can call myself frugal instead of silly. Still afraid to buy a new vacuum though for fear of being cheap instead of frugal…