Shomer Shekalim

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what are you really paying for?

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legal warning: The information here should not be understood legally as financial advice. If you believe anything on this site is in error, please contact me. I am always open to corrections, new ideas, and new opinions...

Recently I have been having a discussion with one of our readers about buying low quality vs. buying high quality products (it didn’t start that way, but it’s where we ended up.)  This entire debate is really a question of knowing what you are buying and what you are paying for.  Here are some classic examples:

Electronics – When I buy an expensive piece of electronics, I want not only the product, but a warranty for if it breaks.  Not only that, I may want a warranty where I can go into the store and simply replace it, or else have them ship it out for me.  This costs extra and usually comes in the form of a name brand.  Sometimes there are electronics stores, that in order to maintain loyalty, will do it as a service for customer who buy from them.  When I bought my iron (I iron all of my shirts) I wanted an iron (1) that did not need purified water (yes, they exist in Israel and they are a huge money and hassle saver) and (2) would be replaced in the store on the spot if it broke (obviously you have to know if the store is reliable; I did my homework).  My verbalizing what I wanted, I made a virtual checklist and when an inexpensive, but reliable store offered me an item fit the bill for a good price, I went for it.

Ambiance – When you go to a restaurant, it is not the food you pay for but the ambiance.  A cup of coffee costs less than a shekel, but the other ₪ 9 is for the pretty place you’re sitting in.  If you think about it, there are plenty of ways to turn up the ambiance and save money.  One time my wife and I were in a restaurant.  We ate dinner and were thinking of dessert.  Dessert would probably be somewhere in the vicinity of ₪ 40 (for the cake and some coffee) but I proposed an alternative.  I proposed that we bench, pay, leave the restaurant and buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (₪ 22)  and walk in the park while having dessert.  My wife agreed to the option and we had an even more romantic evening and saved some money.  It’s not being cheap about the dessert, it’s realizing that you’re paying for the ambiance and knowing that you can do a better job yourself.


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