You get what you pay for and other -isms

If ever there were a catchphrase that embodied me, it would be, “You get what you pay for.” I have stood by this time and time again and it continually rings true. That isn’t to say you can’t get a sweet deal at Dollar Tree – you can. (Especially at Christmastime – wrapping paper and tags helloooo!) But you know you’re not going to throw a fit if you buy a glass from Dollar Tree and it breaks in a week because hey, it was just a dollar. You can go back and get another. You can laugh and go, “Well we got a dollar’s worth of use out of it.”

I have yet to find a situation or product to which this aphorism is not apropos. When I bought my first real designer purse a few years ago (a Coach, if you must know), I got my money’s worth. There is a huge, vast difference between buttery, hand-crafted leather, heavy zippers, silk or satin lining, and quality hardware on a purse versus what one can buy at Target, Kohl’s or Marshall’s. And I rocked a purse from Target in New York City when I first lived there. I got my twenty-five bucks worth and then some; and then I was able to throw it away when it fell apart on me.

I purchased my very first Kate Spade bag in May and it’s everything I thought it would be and more. Totally worth making my credit card cry. It’s been a dreamboat of a handbag, if that makes sense. And! I know that by properly taking care of it, I will get years of use out of it.

My dearest dude Kevin thought I bought into this whole thing a little too much but even he has had to concede the point much more as of late. Like my search for good moisturizer, he has been seeking out a pair of sunglasses that don’t crap out on him within two days. He went through two different pairs in a week before he relented and let me take him to a couple of places where he’d have to actually drop more than $30 (or $80, or $100) on sunglasses. I know what you’re thinking. At a certain price point, sunglasses become overpriced plastic. And you’re right! But there is a “sweet spot” with sunglasses and dropping $100-150 for a pair isn’t unheard of. These designers know what they’re doing.

Though we tried and tried and tried to find something at a reasonable price, there was nothing to be found that would fit him well, be comfortable and be worth the money. We landed at Sunglass Hut where all the designer sunglasses strutted their stuff and eventually he settled on an “inexpensive” pair of Ray Bans. $160 later, he is the hap-hap-happiest cool shades wearing guy out there – and they look great on him, too. Anytime I see them sitting out, I nudge him (by mentioning their price) to put them back in their hard case. It’s very motivating.

If any of you do not believe that “you get what you pay for,” I’d love to hear why not! If you do, what are you willing to pay a high price for? Sheets? Makeup? Silverware? (For me, all three.)


Writing about that catchphrase got me thinking about other colloquialisms and aphorisms that are pretty common – some more applicable than others.

  • When it rains it pours. Pretty self-explanatory. And something I am currently dealing with, if I’m gonna get all personal. It can’t be just one thing, it has to be a slew of things happening all at once, right?
  • Everything happens for a reason. I want to punch someone when I hear this one.
  • A stitch in time saves nine. Whatever.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This one I actually kind of buy into, as well, because I am definitely a person who’d rather not take the risk and have something guaranteed, rather than gamble on gaining more.
  • Right church, wrong pew. I don’t quite know what this means but it’s funny and a friend knew it off the top of her head.
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Yes! Though hardly anyone “gifts” horses anymore, if you do get one, don’t check its teeth. Just say thank you.
  • Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. A little confusing but basically it boils down to not doing something stupid and self-destructive out of revenge or hatred, because it’s just going to do you more harm than good.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. My mother LOVES this phrase. It is irritating to hear when I want to overgeneralize and overreact, however.
  • There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Ew. But…also true.

Add in your favorite in a comment below!

“Happy” Tuesday – at least I hope you all are having a good one. I’m still mucking it up in the rain.


  1. Kevin Schneider says:

    Things you get what you pay for with:
    Sunglasses (new convert)
    Dog food (you don’t have to feed them as much, so it makes up for it)
    Law School (I hope!)
    Heinz ketchup
    Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
    Premium ice cream
    Shaving supplies

    Things you don’t:
    Cars (to some extent)
    Anything disposable
    Cleaning products
    Most Junk food (including Oreo’s, generic is fine)
    Gasoline (premium is totally unnecessary)

    • Kevin, I have to disagree with you on some of your “don’t” list, especially Oreos, cars, and cleaning products. Disposable I think you’re right. Hydrox is NOT an acceptable Oreo substitute, sorry. Gasoline I totally agree, however.

      I do love your longer list, though!

    • Kevin I’m mostly completely with you man! Especially Kraft Mac and Cheese, sheets, and ketchup. Man, you really get crap when you buy cheap on those items. I paid for some quality >600 thread count sheets (I can’t remember now, maybe 800? Could be 600, anyway) a while back and I’ve never slept better. My mom went out and then bought some dollar-store type “600” thread count sheets because I got mine, and they are completely inferior. Totally get what you pay for.

      I have to disagree with gas though. Premium is worth the cost. It does give you better gas mileage, and it is better for your engine in the long run. I got 2-3 more mpg when I switched from the low grade fuel to the premium grade.

  2. Oh you are so right on about this! And I am totally on board with all of Kevin´s ideas. I would also add makeup, shoes, and shampoo to the list.

  3. Kris here … your friendly Ango-Scottish correspondent here.
    Oh dear! Another can of worms then.
    You get what you pay for :
    I haven’t heard of Dollar Tree before (well I probably wouldn’t have) but we do have Pound Shops which I think must be fairly similar. I think the french (God bless ’em) have Euro Trash.
    OK….you get what you pay for …. how about Exchange Rates…you kind of get what you pay for. (A sensible suggestion would be nice please Kris)
    How about BAKED BEANS… you can get really cheap baked beans over here for about 10p but they taste so bad you wouldn’t give them to a dog (not unless it had just bitten you).The best beans (HP Baked Beans) cost a lot more but taste like heaven on a plate. I hate most ‘isms’ because they are so bloody well smug and invented by people who were trying to illustrate a point to some inmate in a lunatic asylum. I mean…’there’s no fool like an old fool’ YES THERE IS. Also…this book is a real page turner. The ability for a book to have pages that turn is the absolute minimum I would expect from a book. (Sorry..I stole this one from a comedian called Michael Macintyre 🙂 All the best

    • Sorry… I think my computer is playing up a bit which is why you’re getting bits of a draft or something. I will give it a good kicking and pour some really cheap and disgusting baked beans over it. That’ll teach it to embarrass me!! 🙂

      • It’s all right, I went back and edited it. 🙂 I don’t know that we have baked beans here that aren’t fit for dogs, just the regular ones. I think I have baked beans maybe once a year? And usually in the summertime. I like the name Pound Shops – very quaint.

  4. oh dear, I’m having flash backs of a shopping trip with my mother. First she was looking for a little flip book to keep store reward cards in her purse… shouldn’t be too hard to find, right? I took her into one store, and when the very helpful young guy comes up to assist her she says “I’m just looking for something CHEAP and NASTY”. I took her outside and killed her. I said, first of all, the prices in that shop are not expensive, they are regular (even though the guy said “we don’t really do cheap and nasty”)… secondly I told her, if you do buy something ‘cheap and nasty’ it may be cheap but its not really nasty otherwise you wouldn’t have bought it!
    Then I wanted a designer purse to match my designer bag…. but the label that made my bag is a good bit dearer than the other labels in the store on this occasion. So my mum gives me the big guilt trip and I end up buying the cheaper purse that doesn’t match my bag. Then when I get home I realise the cheaper purse isn’t designed long enough to put your cash notes in without folding the ends over… which would never have happened if I’d bought my matching purse!
    Lesson: you get what you pay for and don’t go shopping with my mother.

    • Hahahaha that’s a great story! Lesson learned, indeed. I have had buyer’s remorse when I have purchased things other than what I really wanted, especially when they were cheaper and turn out to be cruddy.

      Your mother’s comment of “cheap and nasty” is funny, although if I were the store clerk I would have raised my eyebrows.

  5. imaginecreation says:

    Things I think are worth the extra buck. In context, I’m a SAHM. =D
    Definitely Laundry Detergent, Vacuums, Coffee, Gas (too many times dirty gas has mucked up my truck’s engine, so I pay more and premium. And my mom’s Prius shows you average gas mileage and it’s an ongoing conversation piece about how Costco gas and such actually bring down the average miles per gallon, everytime), Cameras, TV’s, etc, toothpaste, hair products . . . I’ll stop there. =D I’m one that would rather buy a nice used car than a brand new cheap car . . . at the same price. So, really that matters too. Great topic!

    • Thank you! Love your input. I actually thought of another thing that is totally worth the extra money – organic milk!! It’s like $4 for half a gallon but it lasts foreverrrrrr. It doesn’t get all sour and gross within a week. Hair products – you’ll have to tell me what you like. I use Clairol Herbal Essence at $3 a bottle but I have also been known to use Aveda at $15 a bottle!

Leave a Reply to Kris White Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: