Last month, I introduced the concept of downshifting
which I’ve been doing for several years. As I was a student from 2006 to 2014, I learnt to make do with a more simple lifestyle, and not to desire the luxury or high end versions of most things. This is a fantastic way to save money on groceries, as well as pretty much anything you buy. So basically, downshifting is swapping to a cheaper version of the same product, and seeing if it is good enough for your needs.
Now clearly, I am not going to buy bad quality items. Sometimes, downshifting means you realise that the cheaper item is not actually good value for money, because it doesn’t last long or it doesn’t taste that good. Yes, sometimes it is worth spending more because of better nutritional value or longevity, etc.
Clothes Shoes Maketh the Man (or Woman, I guess)
Take shoes for example. I would never buy a cheapo pair of shoes to wear every day to work. You need quality footwear to take the wear and tear of daily life and to support your feet adequately and healthily. Quality shoes cost £££ here in the UK. You could spend £55+ (on sale or discount price) for a very plain, good quality pair, up to £200 for a fancier pair of men’s all-leather brogues for example. However, these would last you for years and years. Compare that to one of my brothers, who always buys cheap shoes, £45 on average, but he has to buy new ones every 9 months. So roughly every 3 years, he buys 4 pairs of shoes, that’s £180 worth! That’s the same as £60 every year.
The Old Jamaican
Let us compare my brother’s expenditure on shoes to someone who bought quality. I knew an old Jamaican man called Ferdi who actually had the same pair of shoes since 1936, and he just died about 2 years ago… that’s 76 years using the same shoes!!! He just re-soled them whenever they needed it and waxed/polished them every week. He kept them really clean and tidy. I am guessing the shoes were pretty expensive, as they looked like a really thick and sturdy, quality leather and the sole was stitched. It looked solid.I guess a pair of men’s shoes like that nowadays would cost about £150. Based on the average wear my spouse has with shoes, I am guessing in today’s prices, about £10 every year in maintenance (cost of wax/polish plus re-heeling or re-soling every 2-3 years).
So, aim for value and longevity, because it saves you money in the long run!
Photo credit: sira Anamwong/freedigitalphotos.net