Posted by Tim Stobbs on June 20, 2014
There is a forum over at Reddit called Buy It For Life, which focuses on products that are durable, high quality and practical. In summary they tend to think planned obsolesce sucks and should be avoided where possible. Ironically while looking into some of the items discussed you can’t help but notice that some very old technology is suddenly ‘new’ to people again.
For example, I bought a fountain pen a few months back and while I’m still getting used to it, I can understand why people like the 16th century idea. You actually get used to using a specific pen and it flows way nicer than most disposal pens on a page. Yes, you do have to fill it up periodically, but overall I think the hassle is worth it. Or another classic idea is using a cast iron fry pan, while I personally love them for some cooking, while wife finds them too heavy for everyday use. Yet in that case we were given a couple by a friend who was moving so it didn’t cost me a cent.
The general idea of buy it for life items is to consider your costs over the long haul. Paying a higher price upfront can be more affordable in the the long run. For example, do you buy really good quality sandals that will last you a decade or buy a cheap pair every year or two? People may flinch from paying$100 for sandals, but if your average cost per year is only $10, it might be cheaper than paying $15 a year for cheap ones that fall apart. Not to mention the more ‘expensive’ ones are likely much more comfortable.
Yet there is a downside I can see on the whole idea of buying it for life, it is becomes a bit of a floodgate of spending if you aren’t careful. After all when you start justifying spending several hundred dollars on high quality goods, you might end up buying more stuff than you really need. Just because something lasts doesn’t mean you should buy it. After all you need to use an item frequently in order to justify the higher initial cost. So while I’m enjoying researching products and buying some I’m also asking myself: how often will I use this?
So far to date I don’t think I’ve gone that overboard with my shopping. I’ve bought the following so far:
- Saddleback leather wallet and notebook cover
- Fountain pen
- Birkenstock sandals (my second pair, both were gifts)
- Cast Iron frypan (gift)
- French Press for coffee
My latest research project is looking at getting a manual coffee mill grinder. Which is another downside to buy it for life, you tend to do a lot more research on what to buy. Yet the upside of this is you tend to be very sure on what you want before spending the money.
So do you ever invest in high quality items or do you tend to buy the cheap stuff? What would you consider buying for life?