Price Check or Value Check?

"Don’t think of cost.  Think of value."

When I was courting my wife I wanted to gift her something really special one day. If you know Maura, then you know that she loves cosmetics and skin care and using girls' faces as canvases. She really wanted two specific brushes from M.A.C. to add to her (what seems to be endless) collection of make up tools. She was interested in upgrading some of her equipment to experiment different techniques and such. 

I knew she wanted the 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush and the 168 Contour Brush. If you're a guy and have no idea what these are: lucky you. I'm just kidding. So the day that she mentioned them I wrote them down and planned to go to M.A.C. to get them. 

When I got to M.A.C. and asked if they had the 187 and the 168 and asked to be rung up immediately. She said "the total is $95.00. Will it be debit or credit?"

I don't care how much money you make, if you are unaware of price point for cosmetics and makeup tools then there is no way that you would immediately understand why it was expensive. 

I wondered if these brushes would make whoever they were used on shine like an angelic creature. I wasn't ready for that and the associate saw that. She told me that they were also selling a gift package for the holiday season that included the exact two brushes that I was looking for, plus a bonus one, and it all came presented nicely in this clear box.

The price of that gift set was $88.00.

I was a little hesitant because the wood was a different color and so were the bristles but I thought I was getting a great deal because I would gift Maura MORE than what she wanted! And I was going to save $7!

So I bought the gift set and went to see her. I was so thrilled that she would be surprised at the third brush and at how nice everything looked. I gave it to her in a gift bag and her eyes lit up as she started to dig through it. 

"They are the same brushes," I said. "The 187 and the 168 is in there. I know it looks different but MAC made the these to look different for the gift set."

"They are not the same," my wife told me as she examined the bristles. 

Has that ever happened to you? You get someone a gift thinking you were going to set off emotional fireworks only to flame out?

Maura then explained to me how cosmetic companies make stuff different for gift packages versus individual tools. She told me that the process of making them was different. Even the fibers on the bristle weren't the same, the wood wasn't the same, and so on. 

I did not believe her so she showed me YouTube videos of professional makeup artist who advised against getting the gift package set for the same reasons Maura was giving me. She also showed me comments on makeup forums testifying about the lackluster usability of those brushes. Every review stated that if you were serious about makeup that you should get the individual brushes because they were more sturdy, of higher quality, and of better value.

She was not being ungrateful. Rather, she was being smart. If I was going to spend that amount, I should have spent the extra amount it would have taken to get the best ones. 

She still has those two brushes in her tool set. She would not have had the ones I originally bought because they would have worn out. She would have had to purchase them again. 

Here's a good lesson: Sometimes going cheap can cost you more. 

So I took them back and got the individual ones. 

As I drove back home I began to think about all the ways I cut corners in my life to save a penny. You might be thinking the same thing. Most of us have made this mistake in our lives. We buy something because it costs less but it is less valuable. The adage that says "you get what you pay for" is true. 

I have many more experiences in my life when I participated in cost-saving rather than in value-getting. I remember we once hired a sound company to provide us live sound, equipment, and engineering. They were suppose to set up and break down and assist with the sound-check. We went with them because every other company was $10,000 more expensive. 

I assumed we were being favored by The Lord but in reality I was just being cheap. Be mindful to discern these things in your life. 

We got what we paid for. We didn't even have the artist sound-check, the event started late, and their equipment was so faulty that one of our guys had to run and get his own mixer!

So before you go with the cheapest photographer for your wedding, or the less expensive car, ask yourself, "am I really getting value from this or am I just saving money?"

That is one of the most expensive lessons that I have ever learned. 

How many times do we forsake doing something because we think "the cost" is too much? Trust me, when we downgrade to save on costs then we are also devaluing ourselves. We are taking the cheap route and that isn't the one that will bring you the deepest return. 

Quick Note

Please don't mistake this as a post against frugality. In fact, my wife and I enjoy being frugal. We know that what we have are blessings from God and we want to be good stewards of our money. Having said that, we pay for value. You need to look no further than what kind of groceries we get. 

I would say that food is one of the best examples of this. We know that quality food (ie. Organic, fresh foods) are more expensive that cheap food (processed food, fast food). Yet, may people have a tendency to ignore what they are putting in their bodies because they want to save a couple of dollars. 

That bad food that you put in your body will cost you dearly in the long run. That is a fact! 

Also, don't mistake this post as validation for your vain spending habits. Buying expensive clothes, cars, and accessories won't give you a return. Yes, you may be paying for quality but for the most part, you are paying for the brand. So make sure you know that you haven't been played when you pay. Unless your identity is wrapped up in brand names and you need that for self-worth then I suppose you could indulge in needless spending. Word of advice: Don't. 

Quality Isn't Always Easy to Pay

Most people do not go back to school because they consider the cost in terms of dollars first and get discouraged at the financial sacrifice that entails. What they fail to consider is the cost in missed opportunities, the cost of lacking wisdom, and the cost of limited growth. You lose far more when you don't prepare yourself. 

If you're on the fence about starting your own business and feel like the price is too heavy to pay, consider that versus the joy you will gain doing what you love. Yes, it may cost you so much at the beginning, maybe even for many years, but you'll appreciate what you do more when the time comes to bask in the fruits of your labor. You can prepare yourself by saving up, getting wise counsel, learning under a mentor, and so on to better prepare for the work ahead. 

Make sure you pay for quality.

Think of value first. Think of cost second. 

Have you ever made the same mistake of making a purchase based on the cost only to find out you didn’t gain any value? Tell me about it here in the comments below.


Love you all. God bless.