BIFL: buy it for life products
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  1. #1
    Registered User Alaska's Avatar
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    Default BIFL: buy it for life products

    This came up recently in our household. Buying for life, or, not skimping in the present and therefor not having to repurchase a product in the future. Or simply, quality over quantity.

    I have been searching for a new pair of clog like shoes for years. My last pair lasted me for nearly ten years before the sole split and started leaking and getting my foot wet. If I didn't live in a wet area of the world I probably would have gone right on wearing them as they looked fine from the top. So, I've been reading reviews and talking to friends and I finally settled on a replacement clog. I ordered a pair of super birkies. My SO freaked out when he saw how much I paid for them (79.95 with free shipping). But what he doesn't realize is, I buy one pair of shoes about every three years because I always buy quality shoes that transcend "trends." seriously, i have a pair of 16 year old dr. martin mary janes from college that i still wear a few times a month.

    Whereas he buys cheap crappy shoes and is back buying another cheap crappy pair about every 6 months or less. 15 years ago we had an argument about the washing machine I wanted to buy, too expensive...I bought it anyways and it's still kicking and the cheap washer he convinced his Mother to buy bit the dust after less then five years.

    I'd rather buy a $80 pair of shoes once then a $30 pair 5 times over the course of 10 years. Call me crazy but it just seems more frugal in the long run to me. I think I'll buy the SO the expensive version of his work boots for his birthday in November just to prove to him they DO last longer and are worth the cost upfront vs rebuying later.

    Anybody else have the BIFL frugal mentality? Or am I alone here?

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    well I just dont find that there are too many things like that. I have gone the opposite way. We buy used things and write them off when we are tired of them. Even and maybe esp. appliances that are supposed to be the best have lasted less and less time.

  3. #3
    Registered User Alaska's Avatar
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    That's why I fear my older appliances breaking...if I have to buy a new one I know it will not last nearly as long even if its a formerly quality product line. It's like the newer stuff has drop dead dates and they just cease functioning, so the company can sell more product. Scary.

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    I'm like that sometimes Alaska. When we bought our house we were given money to buy a washer and dryer. We chipped in our own money and bought a high-quality Maytag set. They are still going. That was 30 years ago.

    We also buy Toyotas for that reason...they last forever. The body may rust around them, but those hummers keep a chuggin'. Our first one lasted 16 years. This one is a 1996, so that's 17 years, and it's not had any engine trouble yet. Nothing but regular maintenance. Though we did have to replace a strut recently. I think that's mostly due to the winter roads here.

    However, not all things new are the best...

    We find the older houses are generally built better. While a lot of people are rushing to buy new, we check out older house stock first. Not the 50's and 60's stuff. But we go into the 20's and 30's. We make sure the structure is sound (check the joists and basements carefully), the wiring and plumbing are up to snuff, and go from there. The house we have now had 2 x 10 joists, which is really unusual. It's a very solidly built home.

    We also buy used furniture with hardwood frames. New furniture with hardwood frames is too expensive. But I have to buy hardwood to support my SIL when he comes to visit. He is just a heavy guy...and tall. Just a big fella.

    So sometimes I'm with you, and sometimes not...depends on the item.

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    I will spend more for shoes. I research and buy the more expensive running shoes for my sons who run outside because you can really mess up your feet and legs buying cheap ones. Also, when my oldest son needed a pair of work boots, I bought him the more expensive, better brand. You need good shoes if you are going to be on your feet all day. A couple of my kids have especially wide feet and dd#1 has wide feet plus needs extra arch support. I bargain hunt and buy their shoes online. Propet is the brand I usually end up buying for dd, because she wears an 8.5 4E.

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    Registered User SallyC's Avatar
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    When I bought my first basic Kitchen Aid mixer, I thought I was buying it for the next 20 years. The motor managed to burn up after about 10 years. I figured I should buy a heavier machine because I use it to kneed bread pretty much every week. So I bought the big, heavy, "professional" unit. I got only 4 years out of it. I sheared the main post completely in half using it.

    I paid $200 for the first one and twice as much for the second. I thought I was making the right choice but clearly, "They don't make them like they used to". When I hear of someone saving their hard earned money to buy one of these machines because their grandmother had one for 30 years, I just feel sorry for them.

    Sadly, price and quality don't always correlate. Before too long, I'll ned to replace my refrigerator. I'd love to believe that by buying a "good one" it will last but I don't think it's going to happen.

    Maybe I'm just being pessimistic.

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    It depends on what the purpose is. Sometimes I buy something knowing that I'll only use it for a short time. No need to buy the baby the "best" clothes if he's going to outgrown them in 3 months. Or this weekend we went on a camping trip. We don't like camping and only went because we were meeting up with a bunch of friends, and don't plan on ever going camping in the future. So we borrowed most of the gear and the few things we bought we did buy cheap.

    I also will occasionally buy something not top of the line as a stand in. Say I want an incredibly expensive couch set. Well made, the last for life kind. But I don't have the money. I will buy something cheap that will last for a few years while I save up the money to buy the more expensive set. It's still a planned purchase. Almost the same idea as a starter home... You don't start out with your forever home, but you eventually upgrade to it.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Great topic!

    I'm like Telephus, in that shorter term things we might buy on the cheap, while other things, we'll go for the gold. Or part with the gold, as it were.

    Any power hand tools here will most likely be DeWalt. If you want to know what the good stuff is, ask a contractor who uses them every day. If they get five years out of a tool they use heavily every day, I should easily get twenty out of the same tool using it part-time as an amateur. DeWalt tools are expensive but well-designed and well-built AKA worth the price. I can use a DeWalt drill all day long with my bad wrists, because they are so well-balanced even a seven pound drill does not cause me problems. That's worth a lot to me!

    I recently bought a new sewing machine to replace the one I bought in 1986. It's still usable but starting to show its age and having some problems. I'll keep using it for things that aren't too fussy and might mess up the new one. Like the old one, the new one is a Viking, and I expect the same excellent quality from it as I got with the first one. I paid $1,000 for it, marked down from $2,200. I could have gotten something cheaper. In fact, I have a much cheaper Brother that I bought for doing the occasional embroidered piece. No comparison in the quality between the Brother and the Viking, and I've already been told if the Brother breaks, the parts aren't going to be available to fix it. It's a $500 machine that's considered disposable. Ridiculous. I wish I hadn't bought it. Clearly, the $1,000 I spent on the Viking (really it was more like $1,500 with all the accessories I bought) is a much better buy.

    Our latest camper was expensive, nearly twice what we could have gotten a less expensive brand for. It's also the best built camper we've ever seen. The workmanship is excellent. It has high-end appliances that make camping in it a joy. It's thoughtfully planned and designed to maximize the small space. We're hoping it'll be our last camper.

    If it's something disposable, we're not probably going to buy the most expensive. One paper towel is pretty much like every other brand, and we're not willing to spend 20 cents apiece for throwaway plates when the cheapo two cent ones with a sturdy reusable holder will do the same job just as well. Using the cheap stuff when it doesn't matter is how we can afford to buy the expensive stuff when it does.

    We're not overly brand loyal for most things, but there are a few.

    We're at the age now where we've lived long enough to learn the difference between cost and value, and to have enough experience to help us choose what we want, and enough income that we can afford to buy better stuff, within reason. It wasn't always that way, and I do remember the days when we simply couldn't afford to buy the good stuff and had to get by with things we knew would have to be replaced over and over. And I'm grateful that's not where we are now.

  10. #9
    Registered User alaska_tiger_36's Avatar
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    I buy with quality of a product, intended use and life of the product I'm buying. Such as: If I'm buying "tools" I spent the money to get what I want - Honda tiller, Janome sewing machine, Excalibur dehydrator, solar oven, Food Saver, All American (double decker) canner, Tattler canning lids, etc because I want to spend the money once and have these items "for life". Other things that are consumables I tend to buy the cheapest item that will get the job done - dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, make my own cleaners, etc.

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    I forgot about sewing machines. I am brand particular with them. My basic machine is a Viking, which dh bought me nearly 15 years ago. When I wanted a machine with more features, I researched and bought a Kenmore because that particular Kenmore model was made by Janome. Kenmore contracts with one of the major sewing machine manufacturers to make their brand. I've had that one for around 10 years now. It has just needed tune-ups and cleanings. When I was in the market for a coverstitch machine, we bought another Janome. For all of these we saved up until we had the money for the model I wanted. We could have bought cheaper, but it wasn't worth it for machines I will probably pass on to my daughter one day.

    Brother machines are very good in the up price ranges and their embroidery machines are excellent. I wouldn't buy one of their starter machines ever. Singers I wouldn't buy at any price point.

  12. #11
    Registered User photogal06's Avatar
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    We are definitely BIFLers! I really dislike shopping, so I prefer to do some research and buy something that's going to last (so I don't have to shop for it again any time soon!)

    With some things, like appliances, I repair, repair, repair what we have, because I know anything new isn't going to match the quality of the old ones. I will probably cry when my washer dies. When I am forced to buy a new appliance, I go with few bells and whistles, since the simpler ones seem to last longer. My ILs always have the newest and latest, and usually the "features" are the things that break on theirs. Likewise, I've lived in a lot of houses, from historic to new construction and everything in between, and nothing compares in quality to the 1906 beauty I have now....solid, she is!

    Shoes...yeah. My daughter has big feet and has had knee problems in the past, so I buy her good shoes to try to prevent future problems. Hers are $150 a pair, and I buy two at a time so she can alternate. But she will wear them for years and years, until they're completely worn out, unlike many kids her age who buy shoes constantly.

    Clothes...here's where I deviate a bit. I prefer my clothes to last at least 3-4 years and still look good, but I need options as I continue to lose weight. So I've been buying middle of the road things from Kohl's. They keep their size when air-dried, but when I need a smaller size, I toss them in the dryer after a few wearings and washings, and voila!, shrunken to perfection, lol! They don't look quite as good when they come out of the dryer, but I think I'll still get a few years out of them.

    I really liked the book Overdressed for explaining what happens to donated clothing...such an eye-opener, and I bet it applies to all kind of things. Ever since I read it, I've been extra conscious of buying things that last or that are multipurpose, or simply fixing what I have or doing without whenever possible.

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    Registered User ilovechocolate's Avatar
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    Our den sofa-sleeper is 38 years old. The upholstery is shot due to cats using it as a scratching post, but structurally it's sound and still comfortable. I just buy slipcovers on sale to match/go with our décor.

    Our Dodge Caravan is 15 years old and keeps on going. We've maintained it well. It does have a big dent on one side thanks to DS and a matching dent on the other side thanks to a deer who ran into me, but with regular routine maintenance and the occasional "big" repair, it's lasted all this time We plan on keeping it till it won't run no matter what.

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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    I don't consider $80 for a pair of shoes to be expensive. I have a bad back so shoes are really, really important to me.

    And no, Kitchenaid stand mixers aren't made the same way anymore. They are definitely cheaper construction. The best mixer for kneading bread is now the Bosch.

    One of the benefits of buying used is you can see how the item is holding up.

    We also do some BIFL, mixed with cheap, temporary purchases. I don't see ever having to buy a winter coat again - unless my size changes dramatically, because I buy good wool or down coats and they last forever. We have furniture that we'll pass down to our children and it is so good they'll be able to pass it down to their children. However, the upholstered furniture like the couch and chairs, that will probably go to recycling before 10 years are up.

    Early in our marriage we bought a 24 serving set of high quality stainless steel flatware. The tines of the fork don't shift and the spoons don't bend even if you're scooping ice cream with them. We've had that set nearly 30 years and they still look brand new. I'll never had "community grade" flatware again.

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    Registered User Zhoen's Avatar
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    Like the others, I'm a mix. I would *LOVE* to be able to buy stuff that will last a lifetime, but it's so hard to find, and so expensive when you do! I buy as much as possible second-hand, though, so while it may not last as long as "new," it is a fraction of the cost, and I am not adding to the waste stream. One thing I really like about the thrifts (aside from the prices) is that since things have already been used, a lot of the seriously bad quality crap never makes it to the racks-- there's worn and stained stuff, of course, but not fall-apart stuff, because it's already fallen apart and not made it that far.

    And since I live with two children (one special needs and destructive,) a cat, and a messy husband, there's no point in me buying anything super-nice... I try to buy things that are "solid" and for furniture, stuff I can re-cover/re-paint when band things happen. What else can you do?

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    Registered User Alaska's Avatar
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    Zhoen, so happy to be past the destructive age with my son. I thought it would never happen and maybe it's a temporary reprieve of sorts right now, but...for years we didn't have a coffee table or end tables or, anything in the living room aside from a couch and chair because he broke it all. Between the time he learned to walk to about a year ago he destroyed every single piece of glass and ceramic in the house along with lamps, wood furnature and he tore the blinds and drapes off the walls. Boys....so destructive! I was so jealous of my friends with girls (until they became teens).

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