Thursday, January 24, 2008

Should I buy that?

We have all had the conversation with ourselves of 'Is this a want, or a need...' How do we, or should we react to that question? Even if it is a want, not a need - is it wrong for us to get it - IF we can afford it? This question has seeped into many other things for me - like buying expensive brand name clothes vs. the cheaper ones offered at Target or even Old Navy. Or, is it OK to buy a Lexus - even though a Toyota Camry is essentially the same car? Or an Acura vs. a Honda?

This is what I have come up with. It probably sounds like a giant justification - and I am sure there are holes all through it, but here it goes:

Let's say an Acura costs around $55k and a Honda with comparable features costs around $30k - but you really want the Acura. In order to buy it - my thought would be that you would need to be able to afford to give away the difference in price between the two cars to: a charity of your choice, your church, the homeless guy you pass on the way to work everyday, etc. - you just have to give it away. What this would mean is that the Acura you want would actually cost you $80k ($55k for car + $25k difference to be given away). The same goes for my clothes example too: Burberry Polo = $80; Mossimo Polo = $16. If you want the Burberry - you gots to give an additional $64 away - Making the actual cost to you for the polo $144! Get it!?

As I write this it sounds a lot like 'Carbon Credits' where I am offering a way for you to offset your 'Spending Footprint;' but my thought is this - people are going to buy things and perhaps this will make them think about it first - and even if you decide not to buy the higher priced item (even if you can afford to) perhaps you can give the difference away anyways! NOW that is a real good idea.

Like I said, I know there are holes - so fire away...what do you think?

11 comments:

cool mum said...

Great idea! Another thing to consider is the ethical practices of the company you are buying from. You would need to research which companies are treating their workers fairly and using environmentally friendly practices. There must be a good website for this somewhere...

For instance, if a person uses this offsetting method, and goes with the Mossimo polo rather than the Burberry one...what if the Mossimo shirt was made by factory workers who were underpaid and mistreated and the byproducts were dumped into the local river?

Some people say that in this case, buying the more expensive thing may have been the way to go (it pains me just to type that!). Actually, just leave both polos behind and go to Goodwill instead. There. =)

We know a lot of Walmart haters and their reasoning is that the prices are low because of the low ethical standards. We still get stuff from there occasionally...shhh

berry said...

I say if both products will function and last (endure) relatively the same amount of time then go for the cheaper one and redistribute some resources. Don't even bother with paying for a label.

Cool Mum has a good point too. Now it's getting tricky...

Justmatt said...

Wow Cool mum - thanks for murking up the water - I like it! Everyone be on the lookout for websites that cover these topics. When you find them...share. As the Great Michael Jackson once said:
'Heal the world - make it a better place...for you and for me and the entire human race...'

cool dad said...

Speaking of The Gloved One...

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways


When I face this dilemma, I ask myself, "Why do I want the more expensive one?" Like Berry said, if all things are equal, do I want it just so I can be noticed for having it?

Justmatt said...

Cool Dad - That is the question. And I would say the answer is yes. At least with me it is. Living in SoFla - perception is everything. What you wear, drive, etc. is VERY important to most people down here. Amy wrote a good blog on it called 'The Lifestyle Creep' and it is a strong temptation to jump right on in with 'the Jones'!
I was listening to a podcast by Shane Clayborne and he said that there was a church plant in England that had a night where everyone brought in their expensive 'Labeled' items and they sold them & gave the funds raised to the poor and needy. Also, no one was allowed to enter the church with any kind of label on their clothing that night. Very Cool.

cool dad said...

In the context of S. Fla, I hear what you're saying. And I can see, for the sake of work relationships, how perception and status are a big deal.

I'll have to check out Amy's post...

And that is really cool about that church in England. Maybe some churches over here can do something similar.

Justmatt said...

I agree - it would be cool to do so... I may look in to that...Brad - are you listening...or reading...

Jim Jordan said...

"If you can afford to buy Burberry Polo, buy Mossimo Polo....and give $64 away!" - John the Baptist

How's that? Not good? Ok.

We know a lot of Walmart haters and their reasoning is that the prices are low because of the low ethical standards.

Tell them Chinese political prisoners need jobs, too. :->

Justmatt said...

Thanks Jim for clearing that up for us : )

Levi Muller said...

If I had to give up the difference on top of what I just spent, I would never be able to afford to have what I want. Sometimes you just have to evaluate how badly you want something vs. the price of that want. Maybe you can also make a compromise with yourself. Instead of getting the Burberry polo, maybe you can settle for a polo that is a little better than the Mossimo polo, but not at the cost of the Burberry.

Justmatt said...

I think the same way Levi - BUT if we could give up what we WANT so that we and others could have what we NEED - then wouldn't that be a good thing?