What matters more to you: price or quality? For some, price is the driving factor while others it is the quality. I have had two experiences in the price versus quality debate, one a few years back and another this past week that plant me firmly in the middle of the debate. How is that possible? Here is how.

Quality Is Most Important

A few years ago, after buying my first house, I had to buy a ton of things I never thought of ñ like bathroom rugs. Not wanting to spend a crazy amount of money, I went to Walmart to stock up on things and ended up buying a bathroom rug and shower mat for something like $15 total. Awesome deal, or so I thought.

Fast forward a few months and I was doing laundry. It was time to wash the bathroom rug and shower mat, so I put them in the washer, then the dryer. When I pulled them out of the dryer, the rubber backing was shredded. It looked like it snowed in my dryer! Disappointed, I went to another retailer and bought a new bathroom rug and shower mat. This time, I spent more money and got a name brand and they lasted for many years.

Price Is Most Important

Earlier in the week, I was shopping for a new dress shirt. I went from department store to department store looking for a light blue dress shirt. You may be wondering how difficult is it to find a light blue dress shirt since it is a staple shirt. It blew my mind as well that I couldn’t find one. First, they all had button-down collars. I hate button-down collars. Then they were that sateen-like material that meant I was going to have to iron the shirt for 30 years after washing it to get the wrinkles out.

Frustrated, I started going into various stores. One store I stopped in was H&M. For those that never shopped here, they sell men and women’s clothing for low prices. I’ve never shopped there a lot, but they did have some amazing prices. When I found a blue dress shirt, I was initially excited ñ only $19.99! But when I picked it up, I could tell why. It was lightweight and very thin. I knew it wasn’t the best quality.

My journey continued and I ended up at Bloomingdales. I’ve never shopped here before so it was a bit of an eye-opener. I found some dress shirts, the only problem was that they were $295! I wanted to see if they were made of gold thread or came with platinum buttons, but they didn’t. I quickly left the store. In the end, I found my shirt at another mall.

Price vs Quality

As you can see, I am smack in the middle of the argument. I will pay more for quality, but I will not pay an insanely high price just because of the brand/label on the item. I’ve learned that you do get what you pay for, but only to an extent. I liken this to the idea of needing to be rich to be happy.

Study after study has shown that the happiest we are is when we are earning a salary of around $75,000 per year. In other words, happiness is a sliding scale, it goes up until you reach $75,000 then starts to slide back down again as you make more than $75,000. I see the price/quality debate the same. You get what you pay for up to a certain point, and then the quality is roughly the same, you just pay more for the name.

Final Thoughts

Going forward, I will continue to shop for high quality items that are reasonably priced. I refuse to buy a low cost item simply to save money. As with the shower rug, that decision ended up costing me more money in the end since I had to buy 2 sets. But, I won’t simply assume something is highest quality because it is priced the highest either. I like the middle ground, where good quality is priced right.

Readers, where do you fall on the price versus quality spectrum?