Buy cheap, buy twice – or so the saying goes. The point being: if you want good quality items that last, you need to be willing to pay for them. And it’s true; spending a little more to get good quality items can save in the long run, especially with things like clothes or furniture, which experience everyday wear and tear.
The trouble is, you can’t always be sure that spending more will get you the quality that you’re after. With some companies, you’ll be paying for brand rather than quality. Here’s how to tell the difference between the two.
We don’t want to overstate the obvious… You know that review sites such as Trustpilot can be a great source of wisdom. But it’s also good to use a little bit of caution and remember that reviews aren’t always what they seem:
- A lot of companies will solicit reviews from happy customers, which means results can be skewed positive.
- People will often review an item when they first buy it. This means that good reviews don’t necessarily imply durability.
- Reviews from blogs or social media influencers may have been paid for. If that’s the case, they should include some text stating that you’re reading an ad. It’s easy to assume that, even if it is an ad, the influencer will still have to have tried and enjoyed the product. That isn’t always the case.
Reviews are still a great place to start, and the best ones come from trusted friends and family rather than strangers on the net. Trusted review sites like Which? and non-corporate forums like Reddit can also be quite reliable.
A really good test of a product’s quality is what it’s made from. No amount of glitz or branding erases the fact that substandard materials produce substandard goods. If you don’t know much about the item that you’re buying, it’s important to do some research and start to understand the lingo. This means you’ll be able to recognise whether the materials and manufacturing processes being sold to you are genuinely worth the extra money, or just marketing buzz.
A lot of the time, this is information that will be hidden in the technical specifications of the product. If you’re about to spend a significant sum of money, don’t be afraid to ask about how it is made.
If at all possible, avoid buying the item when a sales person is giving you their patter. Instead, go away and spend some time reflecting on whether the features and functions were actually as good as they made out. It’s far easier to make an informed decision when you have had some time to think, and you’re not in the high-pressure situation of having something sold to you.
Deciding whether to spend more on a higher quality item really depends on the specific situation – sometimes, you have to buy cheap to stay in budget, and that’s fine too. But if you’re in a position to consider getting something that will last, it may well help you save money over time.