Not having a lot of money means that there’s not a lot of money to spend. But here’s the thing though. I still need to buy stuff. Food, of course. The occasional item of clothing, or maybe toys. Other stuff from time to time. Just like you, I imagine.
And often times, the decision of what to buy, at least when I’m buying something new, depends totally on how much it costs. If I can buy a can of tomatoes for â‚¬.33 a can, and they are just as or nearly as good as a can that costs â‚¬.85, why should I buy the â‚¬.85 can?
Being frugal doesn’t always mean buying the cheapest option, of course. There are many other factors that come into play. Can I find it new or used, and do I want to buy it new or used? How much money do I want to spend, can I spend? Do I want to go for quality, or can it just fulfill a temporary need?
But when I do choose to buy something at a very low price, what does that price really mean?
For example, when I went back to the United States last year, I went to Walmart with my uncle. It was the first time I had ever visited a Walmart, and it is likely to be the last. I bought a tee-shirt there, for $3.00, a price which I had never before seen for a new adult tee-shirt.
$3.00 is a good price, a very good price. Is it the best price however? Should I really be paying only $3.00 for a tee-shirt? What does that low of a price really mean? To start, it means that there is less profit for the manufacturer. Less margin of profit, less margin for error, on the entire production. Possibly fewer jobs, and certainly fewer jobs in the United States (or France for that matter). Almost certainly my tee-shirt was produced by somebody earning pennies to do so.
Is $3.00 a good price, a fair price? Should I, or we, or anybody, be continuing to buy things based on how little they cost? What if we paid just a bit more? Although I bought the tee-shirt, and continue to buy other things based solely on price, I’m still bothered by this issue.
What do you think? Is it ethical to buy cheap things, or is there no other choice? What if we bought less, but paid more? Do you buy on price alone?