Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quality wins.

This post I read this morning over at Remodeling This Life was very timely for me. Emily writes about readers of her blog judging her based upon the type of cookware she has stacked on her kitchen shelves.

Forget about the judging part. We're all human and I think we all make snap judgments - however large or small or frequent or occasional - based upon the things we see people have or do. I'm not saying it's ok to judge, but that's a post for another day.

What I appreciated about that post today was affirmation of the idea that spending a little more for quality items does not make us any less aware of where our dollars are going, and certainly, simply owning items that retail for hundreds of dollars does not make us any less frugal or our lives any less simple.

We have become quite adept at finding bargains at Goodwill, garage sales, and through gifts and hand-me-downs. Yet over the past couple of weeks as the mail lady dropped off several L.L. Bean packages at our house, I couldn't help but feel that twinge of guilt, that nagging thought that maybe I should have looked harder at the thrift stores for some winter outerwear that would suit my children, and I perhaps could have saved hundreds of dollars on these items.

I spent more than I ever have on coats, snow pants and boots for the kids this year. I spent so much I'm embarrassed to even think about the total. But ya' know what? I likely won't have to do it again next year. More times than not, quality wins. And I'm fine with spending a few more dollars to purchase items that will last my children - who play HARD outdoors in the winter - for a minimum of two years (and yes, everything was purchased just a littlebit big) and they will still be nice enough when my kids outgrow them to pass along to someone else. Our experience with L.L. Bean has always been positive. Every item I have ever ordered from the company has been pure quality and worth every penny. The kids aren't always happy with this because it means they don't get a new backpack for school every year, but who cares? If the Bean backpack can take the abuse my son doles out, it deserves another year or two of service.

I also chuckled a little when I read Emily's post because just last night I posted on Facebook that I am in dire need of new pots and pans and I wondered if anyone had seen any Black Friday ads with wicked good deals on them. Our pots and pans have been in bad shape for some time, but I have put off buying new because I want to get really good ones that will last forever, or close to it. This might be the inspiration I need to start shopping!

FYI, I love L.L. Bean, but L.L. Bean has no idea who I am, aside from a happy customer with a debit card and two growing children.


  1. You are a lady after my own heart! I put up with things much longer than I should because I want to replace them with nice, quality items and not junk! I'm all about good deals, but I want nice stuff. Right now we have an awful, hand me down kitchen table in our breakfast nook, and my nice kitchen table from Dillard's in our dining room. Why? Because I want a fancy shmancy dining table with matching China Cabinet one day...and I'm willing to wait until we have the money to buy it:) Can't wait until my nice kitchen table is back in it's place and this hand me down table goes to Good Will!!

  2. I bought a pair of shoes when I was a sophomore or so in college (so a LONG time ago). It was the most I've ever paid for a pair of shoes -- over $100. I still have them today and they are in excellent condition. They are dress shoes I wore often with suits so they don't get a lot of wear these days, but they did for a long time. If you can be patient and save your pennies it is worth it to purchase the quality product. And let's face it, the older I get the less I want to have to replace something every few years!

  3. Michelle, I can totally identify with the kitchen table scenario. We had a rather drab hand-me-down for a few years and it started to really depress me. Then last year (at Thanksgiving, actually!) my uncle was clearing out his house to do a huge renovation and he gave us his GORGEOUS dining room set. The chairs date it a little (90's modern, anyone?) but the table is beautiful and I can see us using it and loving it for a long time.

    Camille, I can totally identify with the new shoes, too! When I was pregnant with Rachel and having terrible back/hip pain I spent over $100 on a new pair of shoes. It was the biggest splurge EVER on a pair of shoes and it was totally worth it! And those Dansko shoes lasted for a looong time.