September 20, 2010 | by  |
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How to deserve nice things

When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to wear anything white because I, without fail, would permanently stain it. Most importantly, I have learned the hard way that there’s no point in paying for knives that actually cut, for leather that you will scuff, and for porterhouse steak that will be eaten blackened and solid.

So, if you’re going to bother shopping anywhere beyond The Warehouse, Farmers, or the $2 Shop, you better make sure you deserve it.

Before buying anything, think about what you want to use the item for and when you’re in the shop, define what the potential purchase is designed for. For example, scissors from the $2 Shop can cut anything, roughly and bluntly; while nail scissors from Farmers cut hair, fabric and nails very well. If you want a good steak, tofu, or piece of chicken, then find out what type or cut you need, and look up the best way to cook it! Yes, you will need to do some research, but the best part about doing things right is that you can make the most of the advice of those who know what they’re talking about. Still not convinced? Imagine buying an iPhone when you just need to use it for cellphone calls, or a $180 electric grill that still won’t make you a nice toasted sandwich.

When you acquire something new, get the whole kit and caboodle. Nice knives need nice sharpening blocks, and you need to learn to use them so you get the most out of them. Read the instruction manuals and keep them. Find out how long the warranties on your products are, and keep your receipts! The best one for me here is that some glass (as in, for your beverage) companies have a guarantee on their products, so if you break your wine glass (as I do regularly), they will unconditionally replace it for free. Work out how long things are likely to last, and their replacement cost. I use overly complicated classical logic for this:

  • Improvement to my life versus inconvenience of not having the money.
  • Resale value.
  • Cost of maintenance.
  • Time spent maintaining item, or paying for its use (with food think about preparation time and effort you may not have).

If you already have nice things, learn how to maintain them. Buy a $4 tin of polish and some good brushes, and polish those leather boots so they’ll last years longer. Use waterproofing spray on your schoolbag. These are all basic, cheap ways to extend the use of items you shelled out megabucks for. How long since you tuned up your laptop to free up disk space and improve performance? Look after your stuff so you deserve to have it.

Oh, and apply these rules to your romantic life for a very cut and dried way of avoiding heartbreak.

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