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Do You Get What You Pay For?

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Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla:During a discussion about a recent software purchase for my kids' school, one of my friends said what we've all heard a million times: "You get what you pay for." At the time, I said that I didn't believe that was true, but I realize now that I need to qualify that.

woman at cash register
Economics classes taught me that we are a market-driven economy and that prices will reflect what consumers are willing to spend for an item. That's why a hoodie from Hollister and one from Target may both be 100 percent cotton but have wildly different prices. You do get what you pay for, but sometimes you are paying more to get a brand name, a different level of service, rent in an upscale neighborhood, etc. If any of these things are important to you, the more expensive product may be just what you are looking for.

Generally, what I am looking for is the exact same product at a lower price. If I really need to buy that name-brand garment, you can bet that I'll check online, look for sales and see if I can find a store coupon to go with it, or buy a discount gift card to make the purchase.

We all evaluate similar products and try to determine whether or not we will need brand recognition or a longer warranty -- and then figure out how much we are willing to pay for those extras. I recently read an article that talked about how money can best make you happy. It stated something I believe in deeply: Money spent on items didn't bring as much happiness as money spent on experiences (such as travel).

That just confirmed it for me. I plan to continue to compare and contrast my purchases so I can save what I can, wherever I can, and spend some savings to go somewhere fabulous!

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