As I grew up and eventually relied on my own income to fund my life, I came to question and understand the costs of things. When making a big or small purchase, I started to analyze when and where quality trumped value. When I bought a new pair of cleats at the beginning of each soccer season, this was evident. Ever since the 4th grade, I’d been wearing Copa Mundials. They had to be Copas, they had to be kangaroo leather and they had to be made in Germany. The price could go up or down, and I’d buy the same pair of cleats each year as long as they met those requirements. Not only did they last me a whole season, but also they were lightweight and fit perfectly. The cheaper versions of them may have been easier on my bank account, but they were tougher on my feet and fell apart before the season’s end. Conversely, you won’t ever catch me spending big money on designer flip flops. They’re flip flops, you guys. If you aren’t taking advantage of Old Navy’s beautifully low prices, you’re spending too much money on an extremely casual shoe. That being said, it’s clear that quality trumps value in matters that are important to you specifically.
Parents buy car seats, cribs and swings with higher safety ratings because their child’s safety is important to them. Vegans will spend more money at the grocery store on vegan-friendly foods because their lifestyle is important to them. Graphic designers and video editors opt for the more expensive Mac computers because they easily support their workload. So, when I, a major allergy sufferer with extremely sensitive skin, had to choose a water softener, I did my research and decided on quality. Some items cost more because of a brand name associated with them. Higher-quality water softeners cost more when they work better.
In the same way that I am so particular about my cleats, I made a list of requirements for my potential water softener. It needed to have a dual-tank (so I didn’t have to wait on regeneration), a smart system (so I didn’t have to deal with timers), use reverse osmosis (to remove all of San Antonio’s hard water minerals and possible skin irritants) and a space-saving design. That may seem like a tall order, but several systems met these requirements. In the end, I trusted user reviews and followed my instincts to a system at the top of the price list. While I couldn’t buy it right out, I had the option of renting it. I was more than willing to make a comparatively small monthly payment for a Kinetico water softener – the system described to me as a spa and salon favorite, as well as the ‘Lamborghini of water softeners.’
By renting my water softener, I found the perfect bridge between value and quality. My skin, hair and laundry are treated to the purest water, and it didn’t cost me my weight in gold. If you can find a similar deal in your purchases, by all means take it! Nothing beats the results and longevity of a quality product. More often than not, you’ll have to choose between a great deal and a great product. Prioritizing your needs and wants is the first step to smart shopping.