As an avid handbag and shoe collector, I pay attention to the prices of items in both both retail and pre-loved markets. While I do buy many items brand new, I also enjoy scouring the pre-loved market to find the items I would love to incorporate into my wardrobe that are in the higher price range. The beauty of the pre-loved market is being able to find the items you want for a lower cost which many feel allows them to buy more… I felt this way when I first started. I thought since I had spent less per item, I could buy more items. However, although it may seem painfully obvious this is not the case – it was the case in my head. This logic is clearly a fallacy. Buying more, even though it might cost less, could very quickly become spending more than you would have had you bought the item brand new to begin with. After realizing my error, I took a serious look at myself and how I spent the money in order to come up with a game plan to follow moving forward. My goal: quality over quantity.
Okay, so that sound lovely, but what IS quality? Is quality expensive items? Is it rare items? Is it the most expensive thing in TopShop? I do believe the definition of quality can vary depending on what you’re qualifying. It can also vary drastically based on the budget in which you are shopping. Personally, I have determined that quality is in the time, care and consideration put into an item – no matter what the item may be. This does often equate to high costs, but it doesn’t always mean that something will be astronomically priced. And even if the item costs more initially, it is important to take into consideration whether buying the less expensive option means you will have to repurchase more frequently than if you purchased the higher cost option. This will be true for any item from kitchen cabinets to running shoes.
For every item you purchase there is an opportunity cost (economics concept). The opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain from the next best option. For example, let’s look at running shoes. Let’s say you need running shoes and you only have $250 to spend. You go to your local store and there are many different style and color choices ranging in price. You find the cute trendy ones that match your favorite leggings and they come in many colors and are only $75. You’re absolutely thrilled and you buy 3 pairs, excited for how cute you will look at the gym. What you didn’t take into consideration is the support and structure of the shoe itself. You go to the gym and you hop on the treadmill and run your mile and then go home happy you looked cute and got in your run. The next morning you wake up and your back hurts a little bit. Not too much, but enough to notice. You continue to wear the shoes at the gym for weeks, maybe a couple months, and you begin to realize that your back is really hurting. It occurs to you, maybe its the shoes. There will be additional associated costs such as therapy, massages, new shoes, possible doctor visits, etc. $250 has morphed into thousands. The opportunity cost of that choice is high as opposed to going for the one pair of highly rated running shoes with great support and structure that were $250 and neither cute not trendy.
I am trying to take this into consideration when I make purchases from here on out. I want everything I spend money on to work for me. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is an investment, but I do want my items to serve a purpose and be the best at serving the purpose possible for my lifestyle. I have certainly been the girl who thought having 100 pairs of shoes made me special. But, I wouldn’t wear them, like them or have a use for many of them. I simply collected. However, now, I am incorporating the quality pieces that will last many years instead of fast trendy shoes. The amount of money I have spent on shoes I no longer own is sickening. I could have bought ANY pair of quality shoes, possibly several pairs, for the cost of the tens of shoes I have purchased in the last 15 years and since given away. Better yet, I could have bought one or two pairs and invested the rest into something that would given me a return on my money. Rather than money I literally donated to Goodwill through shoes.
So what is quality to you? Again, for me, it is an item that will stand the test of time – or at least 5 to 10 years. It is the items that work with me instead of against me. I would like comfortable and classy items that can be incorporated into my wardrobe easily. This may not mean I will have the most shoes but I will be able to say that every pair serves a purpose for me. I also intend to move apply this logic to the rest of my life as well. Be it with friends, vacations, handbags, books or living environments. I want to pursue quality in my life, investing in that which can compliment myself and my life and contribute to the overall satisfaction I feel with my life.