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How can you tell when something is good quality?

Posted by on Thursday 26 August 2010 in bad buys, frugal, green | 0 comments

This is another cross-post between The Really Good Life and my recycling blog, How Can I Recycle This?

The first stage of the recycling triangle is Reduce – reduce the amount of things you buy/use and buy items that’ll last and can be repaired rather than ones that need replacing frequently. A key rule of frugal living is similar: don’t pay twice for something – a more expensive quality item might last two-three-four-times longer than the cheaper alternative.

But how can you tell when something is good quality – that it’s worth the extra money and it’ll last?

Back in the day, it used to be all about price – better quality items made with better quality materials cost more. But the rise of all powerful brands put an end to that. Now poor quality items made from poor quality materials command a huge price if they’ve got the right logo on them. And once respected brands have lowered their quality, or spun off lower quality ranges, without dropping their prices, hoping we won’t notice the difference. I’ve used a picture of clothes because the fashion mark-up is really obvious with them, but it’s an issue across the board: clothes, food, homewares, tools, electronics, cars, cleaning products…

Whenever we’re making major purchases, we look up reviews online/tap the expertise of friends on Twitter to ask their opinions but people have a habit of suggesting the thing they have/use rather than the best thing: partly because it’s often all they have experience of and partly because the more people who join them helps justify it’s their decision. Most people I know have their own area of expertise – for example, I know a lot of geeks and they know from painful experience what computers should be bought and what should be avoided like the plague – but outside their area of knowledge, they’re at a bit of a loss.

So how do you tell what’s good and what isn’t? What cues tell you when something is worth the extra money? And when it definitely isn’t?

Do you have a particular area of expertise? If so, tell us all about it!

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  1. Reduce This: How can you tell when something is good quality? | How can I recycle this? - [...] Over on my new frugal living/growing/cooking blog The Really Good Life today, I’ve asked a Reduce This related question:…

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