What's worth spending more for?

What stores, brands, products or services do you choose to spend a bit “more than necessary” for, and why?

doesn’t matter what brand, as long as they are supplying better materials, better functionality, practicality, ease of use, and looks to finish it off…I’ll spend more…no matter the brand…there aren’t better brands just better products.

I spend more when I know that I’m buying more durability, or useful technology. Like my electric shaver:

It cost probably 2-3 times the lowest generic razor, but it uses a trick battery charging technology that has kept the razor working like new after 2 years. It also has the cleaning feature, which has kept the razor sharper than my last one.

I spent too much money on this thing too:

Sony shortwave radio. The quality is impecable. It feels like a solid brick.

I also pay more when it comes to auto parts. I prefer to buy parts from companies that are associated with the manufacturer, or who have somehow demonstrated the performance of their parts in a semi-scientific manner. I’m thinking specifically of Spoon Sports, Mugen, Iceman, Steeda, Ford Racing, Porsche, Koni, Toyo.

I’ll take around my house tonite and see if I have anything else I spent too much on:)

With me it is cooking supplies. I love to cook and even though I probably don’t need 5 star restraunt quality knives it makes me feel good when I am in the kitchen. I will go the extra step to buy the top quality cookware and kitchen utensils just to make the experiance in the kitchen more enjoyable and in my eyes insures better quality food.

Pluse I love kitchen and cookware design.


I eat mainly vegan diet, but I’ve made a choice to buy leather shoes/ boots for cold weather. I live in a very cold climate, and walk about 4-5 miles a day and have a lot of problems with my feet that seem to get worse when I wear fake leather shoes. I walk so much that it make sense to drop basically the equivalent of one month rent on a pair of shoes that I know will be comfortable and will last me several years.

Other than that, I’ll pay more for everything that’s even marginally better for the environment. After a lot of research. I’m not lured in with feel good raw cardboard/green leaves/rainbow façade.

a few:

American Apparel>> made in the USA, classic basics, great colors, simple.

Apple (did I even need to type that, you know why)

G.Star>> industrial style

Puma 96 Hours>> simple, modern, lux.

DWR>> (though I also buy knock offs, and Ikea (and similar) and mix it all in…) they have become the plac you trust for modern furniture that won’t go out of style

Audi>> late '90’s early 00’s Audis just speak to me, the A4, A6, A8, and TT from those years were faux bauhous’olicious

Sameunderneath>> ( http://sameunderneath.com/ ) is $100 too much for a hoodie? It’s bambo, designed locally, and softer than a cloud…

Moleskins>> also, just classic.

As far as stores: I’m usually willing to drop 10-15% more at a locally owned store that does a great job merchandizing their assortment and spent some time and money on their interior, esp if you get to meet the owner and chat, like:



I think with all of the above, it often comes down to being a brand or store I trust can deliver on what I’m looking for.

Are you allowed to say you buy Puma :wink: J/K

Im all for buying quality over price. I had no sofa in my apartment until I found the one I really loverd and wanted. Bought a used B&B Italia from the Danish national bank that was 15 years old for $3000, new 10K and I know I will have it forever.

i have this theory that its better to buy once than to buy several times. ie. going through several cheap ikea products vs. buying something of quality once.

Put it this way, I have never regretted buying something expensive, be it a pair of Prada shoes, good cookware, nice furniture or an expensive computer, but always find myself wishing i didnt spend that $20 on something cheap and disponsable.

The interesting thing i find is my recent spending habits (bo doubt liked with my career) changing to percieve the resonable iimit on purchases a higher and higher value. Back in uni, I had no prb spending $50 on something i liked and wanted, then it was $100 and now $1000. Im not sure if its purely disposbale income or more of an appreciation of quality and value that higher priced things can bring…

In any case, I would always rather do without and enjoy the 8 month search for the perfect item then buy the cheap and available. One of the best feelings is searching out that unique, hard to find product (not necessarily expensive) that gets lots of comments and notice. Its all worth it.

one last note- I LOVE vintage electronics and appliances. You cant spend better money getting some 50s chromer kitchen stuff that will last forver vs. the latest plastic fantastic crap. I have countless 50s/60s kitchen stuff , record players, etc. that i got from thruft stores, but would gladly pay antique prices for compared to new junk.


…I reckon you spend the extra bit because you wanna feel a wee bit different to the NORM crowd who run around in grey suits driving ford mondeos, (or vauxhall vectras round my way)…I personally shop for most of my clothes in independant shops who search around and get limited items in from far away places where the buffallo roam and strawbails fly by…and always go into the Sony shop every time i pass by…

burnsie :open_mouth:

I’m generally sold on quality, functionality, or strong asethetic value. What I find funny with my purchasing habits at times though, is that I’ll be standing in Target looking at buying a “commodity item” and thinking “I just want a fucking $1.99 spatula, is that too much to ask for?” while I’m looking at all the OXO stuff. You would think that I’d be a bit more supportive of people putting a “creative spin” on products to add value to them like we’re supposed to. I guess it kind of comes down to a great comment that someone made while I was working on a cookware project and we were thinking about how to justify the function or unified “design language” of the product. He said, “Do you get the joke?” As in, “do you see what the function or value of the design is?”

Thinking of stuff that I’d spend the extra money on, should I actually have said extra $ to spend:

Shoes. I’ve got several Doc Martens floating around, and I’ve always appreciated their comfort and quality. I’ll keep on buying from them in the future. I’ve also gotten into the habit of buying skateboard shoes for casual shoes since they usually hold up a lot better then some basketball shoes with weird foam rubber injection molded parts that have weird glitter and shit in it. The leather, padding, and soles always seem better quality since they expect you to scrape your shit against a curb all the time. I’ve been on a Merrell tangent for awhile now too.

Watches. Theres definately something to be said for a good quality watch. Someday if I’ll be irrational enough to throw down the money for a Tag Huer or Movado.

Jackets. Still think that Carharts are the shit, even though you look like a construction worker wearing one. No I DON’T wear them ALL THE TIME, but if I’m not trying to look “fashionable” at the moment, I’ll always throw one of my dirty assed old Carharts on to go outside.

Clothes: I’m a “bargain shopper” kinda like a woman in the worst way. When I can find a good sale I LOVE picking up a $65 dress shirt for like $15 on clearance. Some of my favorite lines are Banana Republic, Gene Meyer, Geoffery Bene, and Keneth Cole.

Cars. Cars are my single WORST obsession in life. Probably have cost me more then a drug addiction would! I haven’t owned anything extroardinary or special, but I’ll always buy cars on the basis of the viseral/emmotive qualities of driving them, rather then cost, reliability, or value. I told myself that when I ran my last beater into the ground I would do something rational like an Escort, a Malibu, or God forbid a new Kia with an extended warranty, and I bought a “hopped up” Jetta GLX instead. All the suspension mods and motor work I wanted to do were already done by the previous owner. I can’t wait to get to the point where I have a home of my own and a garage that I can work on shit in, and I can afford at dedicated “project car” and a truck as a daily vehicle. As far as what I’d buy for a car that could “do it all for me” in terms of looks and performance, I can’t wait til I can afford an Audi or a BMW.

Furniture: Furniture is something I’m definately gonna drop bank on someday. I think there is SOO much to be said for a piece for furniture that has the utmost quality and comfort. I’ll be crazy enough to drop a cumulative $15,000 into living room furniture someday, with the assumption that investing in a fine Italian couch is worth it because I’ll NEVER want to get rid of it. Consiquently, that’ll be the “museum living room” that my kids will be PERMANENTLY EXILED from. :unamused:

Le Creuset

Since I like to cook, I want to buy tools by a brand that has been around for awhile and represents quality. I don’t know too much about the details of how to pick out a dutch oven, so i trust the brand instead.

It seems to me that nearly every market has a place for high quality goods/brands that cost extra. It just depends on the person and what they are serious about.

What spawned this question, cg?

I’m building a presentation for our marketing group on the value of design. I love Virginia Postrel’s “Substance of Style” case study on the Graves Toilet Brush, and how it was Targets best-selling product at a significant premium. I want more stories, and I want to know who does it best.

It’s interesting that this topic hasn’t come up before, since delivering value is what designers do.

PS, for those who’ve never seen it: http://www.lovemarks.com

I love Creuset too. Their cast iron skillet I live by. Use it almost daily. I also enjoy cooking and totally can rationize expensive, good quality kitchen tool. Global knives, Rosle tools, anything Stelton…

…I gotta eat, right? :slight_smile:

Singapore Airlines was the first brand that I was conscious of my own willingness to pay a premium of 300-800 dollars depending on the season to fly internationally.

I had flown northwest etc across the pacific before and realized that while it was all very good to get an economy class seat from chicago to singapore for $800 on occasion, the 28 hours it took from door to door where not worth the savings when I took my own condition on arrival into account plus the experience of undergoing those hours in a frill free flight.

SIA rocks and their economy is like first class anywhere else. Non stop food and beverages, superb interactive entertainment system that beats JetBlue hollow and customer service is unbeatable. You start and end each leg of the flight with a hot steaming towel to refresh yourself with.

I also pay for Bounty paper towels after having gone through the dollar store brands and expensive brands as well. It just works better.

Swiffer cloth is worth the premium over supermarket and “value” brands you can pick up - they genuinely do not have that “cling” built in and do nothing more than shove dust around.

MAC lipstick in Santiago shade is something I tracked down and bought in bulk when they discontinued it recently. Here’s why - http://www.nitibhan.com/perspective/2006/07/discovering_my_.html\

All of these have in common the fact that in my “value for money” equation the intangible value of the superior performance is well worth the premium I pay over cheaper alternatives.

These are few of my favourite things…


I’m a little different when it comes to kitchen tools. In the example of a dutch oven or iron skillet I go for the one my grand mother used. Its old weights a ton and takes for ever to heat up, But will hold heat like there is no tomorrow.

I think the rule is people will pay a premium for what they are passionate about no matter what that is. If you like plants than you are going to pay a premium for gardening supplies, or if you if you have a passion for cars you will pay a premium for that too.

Though not much of a premium product, I make sure I use the Q-tips brand. I made the mistake once of using the cheap dollar store versions to save a buck and the tips fall of, stems bend, cotton unravels horribly, etc. Pay the extra and stick with real q-tips.

Interesting thread.

Being in design I would think does have an effect our our value system and ability to identify quality/emotional/visual value with respect to price.

What about the opposite question to the first post…

What things do you buy that you are willing to go budget/cheap on?

The responses might be even more interesting! Off the top of my head I cant think of even one thing I would cheap out on, vs. hundreds I would pay more for…!


i’d go cheap on:

domestic flights

bottled water

hmmmm … good point! I can’t think of much more off the top of my head, having been burnt too often by “good value” products turning out less than useless.

ah yes, water. I’d go cheap too, but stay away from the Dansani type of filtered tap (not spring) water.


A few more things I’ve spent more money on than I needed to:

Braun Toaster. Unfortunately, it works no better than my previous $15 Wal-Mart toaster, and my wife broke it in less than a year. Would I buy it again? No way!

Doc Marten shoes. Someone mentioned this earlier. I have a couple pair of DM dress shoes. I like that they are made in the developed world, and they are incredibly durable. I’ve had one pair for 6 years and I still wear them!

Good quality food. I can’t say this is brand dependent, unfortunately. There are some people that make a good product and a bad product. In general, I try to buy food with the least amount of sugar or chemicals added.

Motor oil. I always use Mobil 1 synthetic. It’s really a superior product to the other oils out there, and there is enough data out there to feel as though that might be verifiable.

Cat litter. I buy the expensive stuff that has less dust. It’s from Purina I think, “Maax Scoop”. I hate to add litter to the bin and get a big dusty clay cloud in my face. I will pay more o avoid that experience.

Craftsmen tools or Mastercraft tools. They are both guarenteed for life. I’ve lived that commercial where someone brings back a 30 year old tool to Sears and they replace it.

Some Stanley tools. Stanley has a few innovative designs, or at least more comfortable ones that are just worth an extra few bucks on.

Things I wouldn’t spend money on:

  1. Flights. They are just too damned expensive to start with!
  2. Eggs. Free-run is BS.
  3. Pens. Bic are best.
  4. Tape/glue/paper/soaps/cleaners/bleach…basically near commodities. No one makes a superior scotch tape, imho.
  5. RTA furniture. I know I’m not going to have this stuff forever, why spend a fortune?
  6. Gasoline. It’s all the same.
  7. TV/DVD player. I know that someone better is coming (dual layer, HD). Why spend a ton of money on something that will be obsolete in 5 years?

As you can tell, I’ve been thinking about this post. I’ll keep posting as things come to me. However, I have to warn you…as a designer I always try to find the product that has a littlem ore design in it. I figure, if as a designer, I don’t pay more for a well designed product, why should Joe Anonymous pay more for design?

On the other hand…

I just went shopping for some cables for a new plasma / home theater / media center extravaganza. I realized I didn’t factor nearly enough money into the budget for the HUNDREDS of dollars worth of cables I needed. As I stood in the aisles of Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target, etc. I began to wonder about the difference between the $29.99 cables from Monster versus the $4.99 off-brand set. Will my image be THAT much better? Will the sound be THAT much clearer?

I think sensitivity to the user experience is the key to the up-sell process. I’m a moderate video expert and smart enough to realize that you get what you pay for, but in most instances the “value equation” rules my purchasing decisions. Is this a value? Will I perceive it to be a value over time or will I regret pissing away the $29.99 on something that doesn’t impact my experience?

EDIT: I saw this to help others:
[url] HDMI Cable Shopping Guide [url]

I’ve reached the point in my life where I can actually afford to buy decent quality stuff. But I still have the “cheap bastard mentality” that makes me ask the value question prior to every purchase.

Being a designer introduces an irrational element that makes us buy stupid things because we absolutely have to have them. I bought a WetNoz dog dish even though I don’t own a dog. It was expensive - but I love the form and it’s proudly displayed on my bookshelf filled with coins from my international travels. I guess that ultimately answers the question…