Most people know that the purpose of budgeting is to help you take control of your finances. The first step in doing this is creating a monthly budget. First, you figure out how much you make each month. From that, you monitor what you spend and deduct it from your total income. Many people look for ways to reduce their expenses as much as possible. But, is that the best approach to budgeting? Some say buying quality over quantity is more cost-effective. The ‘Buy Once, Cry Once’ mentality in budgeting may cost more upfront but can save you a ton in the long run.
What is the ‘Buy Once, Cry Once’ Mentality?
Buy Once, Cry Once is the idea that you value quality over price. It means that you can purchase something one time for a higher price, and it will withstand the test of time. Believe me, I understand the importance of cutting corners here and there to save a buck. I used to be the type of person who never paid full price for anything. But after seeing the bottom line of buying multiple cheap items, the ‘Buy Once, Cry Once’ mentality is now ingrained in me.
Invest in Quality Clothing
For example, I used to buy cheaply made clothing from the large box stores to save money. My closet was full of items from the bargain bins and discount racks. However, within a year, the new items started to look worn or would fall apart and need repairs. Instead of buying a cheap, poorly made winter jacket for $20, look at purchasing something from a quality brand. Yes, it might cost five times as much. But, you get what you pay for. So, chances are it will last you five times longer than the more economical option. And honestly, you’ll be happier with it in the end.
Don’t Settle for Cheap Knock-Offs
Another example would be buying an expensive appliance. Many high-end appliances like air-fryers and insta-pots have flooded the market, but the appeal comes from their longevity. I use both these appliances several times a week, and they are still working as well as the day I bought them. Sure, you could spend less on a knock-off, generic product. But spending more on a quality appliance will save you money in repairs and replacement costs. You buy the appliance once (and cry because of the high price), but then you have a well-made product that will last you for years to come.
Cheap Vehicles Often Lead to Costly Repairs
However, the most obvious application of the Buy Once, Cry Once approach to budgeting was when I bought a used vehicle. Several years ago, I was looking for a new car. However, there was no way I could afford high monthly payments. So, I found a used vehicle from a private seller. On the surface, everything looked clean and functioned well. But, within a few months, I experienced one costly repair after another. In total, I spent nearly as much on repairs as I did on the vehicle. Had I increased my initial budget, I could have bought a more reliable car that didn’t require so much maintenance.
Buy Once, Cry Once Mentality in Budgeting
So now that we have wrapped our heads around the ‘Buy once, Cry once’ mentality, how does it fit into budgeting?
If you ascribe to this mantra, then you know your budget is going to take a substantial hit upfront. After all, paying for quality is not a new idea. In terms of budgeting, you should look at the expense as a one-time expenditure. When you plan for a large purchase, you can adjust your budget so you don’t overextend yourself. Going back to the example of buying a new winter coat, you would put aside extra money in the budget around November/December to accommodate the extra expense.
Think of it this way; a one-time expense for a quality item usually turns out to be a better value over time. Rather than having to budget to purchase lesser quality items more frequently, you invest in better-made items that you only have to buy once.
However, if you are making a larger purchase like a car that is bigger than your entire budget, it will probably require a loan. But the Buy Once, Cry Once theory still applies. Although you have larger monthly payments, buying a better quality vehicle will save you money in labor and repairs.
How to Get Quality at a Lower Cost
Even though you are going to spend more upfront with this approach, you can still find quality at a decent cost. Just because you want to buy quality products does not mean you have to buy the most expensive option. You can save a lot of money by doing some research before you spend anything. Compare product reviews and shop around for the best deals. Depending on what you are shopping for, you can likely find excellent deals with seasonal offers.
Another way you can stretch your budget is to find second-hand items. With online marketplaces and sales becoming more active than ever, there is a good chance you can find used products for a great price. If possible, take some time to explore used options before you blow your monthly budget.
Shifting your mindset to purchase something based on quality over price will reap many financial benefits over time. The ‘Buy Once, Cry Once’ mentality in budgeting may be hard to grasp at first. But once you embrace it, I can assure you that you’ll ultimately be more satisfied. By creating a free monthly budget, you too can be on your way to financial independence.
Budget Smart, Invest Wise
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.