Wouldn’t it be nice if the items you used on a regular basis didn’t keep breaking? Unfortunately, if you’re buying items solely based on finding the lowest price, chances are the things you buy are going to break at some point or another.
Instead of buying cheap items to save money today, you may want to consider buying a quality item that’s more expensive and could last forever. This strategy of buying is called buy it for life. While buying items for life may be smart in some situations, it’s not the best idea in others. Here’s what you need to know.
When you should buy an item for life
When you’re getting on your feet financially, you won’t be able to buy everything in a buy it for life manner. The costs would add up too fast. Instead, focus on items that you use most frequently.
When buying it for life, most people focus on items like cookware, kitchen knives, tools, furniture, and sports equipment. Even within these categories, not all items are able to be bought for life. However, they do give you a good starting point at things to look into.
Some brands even offer lifetime warranties for the items they sell. These warranties can make buying an item for life a reality, but only if everything works just right. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that lifetime warranties don’t always stand up to the test of time. In some cases, companies go bankrupt or sell the brand off to another company.
Even if the warranty is still offered, there may be limitations that disqualify your item from getting repaired or replaced. Even if it is repaired or replaced, chances are the replacement may not live up to the same quality standards as the original item you purchased decades ago.
When it doesn’t make sense to buy it for life
Not everything you purchase should follow the buy it for life methodology. While it’d be nice if everything would last forever, there are just some things that won’t last no matter how much you pay for them. If you can’t seem to find a buy it for life alternative for a certain item, they may not make them anymore.
In today’s world, you aren’t going to be able to find buy it for life alternatives for electronics. They simply go out of date too fast or their batteries die. Similarly, you aren’t going to be able to buy a car for life because it will eventually wear out.
Clothing isn’t really a buy it for life purchase in most cases, either, because the purchase may go out of style or will eventually wear out. However, certain pieces of clothing, such as jackets or quality boots, could potentially fall into the buy it for life category if you buy it right.
What to look for in a buy it for life item
When evaluating an item to see if it is a true buy it for life item, make sure you aren’t making the assessment based solely on the price of the item. There are plenty of expensive versions of everyday items that are made cheaply but cost way more than they should. Most of the time, you’re paying for the status symbol of a luxury brand. While some luxury brands are higher quality, that isn’t always the case.
The best way to find buy it for life items is by doing research. The easiest way is to search Google for what you’re looking for and “buy it for life”. Another great resource is the buy it for life subreddit.
Other great resources are friends and family. Typically, older family members have had more experience finding great buy it for life items that they swear by. Once you’ve found a buy it for life item, make sure you evaluate the cost, quality and how often you’ll use it.
One tip to find true buy it for life items is to buy used. Some of the highest quality items are no longer being manufactured. That said, these items can still be found at estate sales, garage sales and on Facebook Marketplace. If an item is truly a buy it for life item, buying it used shouldn’t be a big problem. You may even save some money, too.
ChooseFI’s favorite buy it for life items
To wrap up, we’d like to share some of ChooseFI Facebook Group members’ favorite buy it for life items. Here are some strong contenders you may want to consider.
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer–ChooseFI Facebook group members have had their mixers for decades without problems.
- Furniture–The key is buying quality furniture made from solid wood and solid frames. Dressers and tables can often be refinished to give a new look. You may need to reupholster fabrics after they wear out.
- Knives–ChooseFI Facebook group members specifically mentioned Cutco and Benchmade brands. They also recommend learning how to properly sharpen quality knives.
- Backpacks and Other Bags–ChooseFI Facebook group members specifically mentioned LL Bean, Jansport, Northface and Osprey brands.
- Tools–If you’re looking for hand tools, look for old Craftsman tools made in the USA. For all other tools, check out this great list on Reddit.
- Pet collars and leashes–A ChooseFI Facebook group member mentioned Lupine brand collars and leashes last a lifetime.
- Cookware–In particular, ChooseFI Facebook group members mentioned Le Creuset dutch ovens, Lodge cast iron skillets, Vitamix mixers, All-Clad pots and pans and WMF stainless steel pots and pans.
- Boots–Buy it for life boots include LL Bean duck boots and Frye boots. That said, they may need some routine care and cobbler trips to repair or replace soles.
- Sheets–One ChooseFI Facebook group member mentioned Cariloha bamboo sheets and stated they have a lifetime warranty that is actually honored.