Musings Episode 13: Being Practical vs. Being Cheap…

I’ve always wondered why some people look for the cheapest things, instead of just focusing on being practical.

The cheapest gas.

The cheapest iPhone.

The cheapest meat.

The cheapest (worst of all) shoes.

Many times when I ask about this most people equate practical and cheap as being one in the same. When they most certainly are not.

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2013 Ford Taurus – starting MSRP $26k – new and “cheap.”

 Acura Integra - Fully modified asking price $14,500 - 57k actual miles. Which would you pick?

Pre-2000 Acura Integra – Fully modified asking price $14,500 – older and 57k actual miles, but quality engine and make. Which would you pick?

I really wanted to bring attention to this because many times a lot of people tend to lose more money than they’re under the impression they save.

Sometimes it’s not always about finding the lowest price.

Sometimes it’s not always about clipping coupons to shave off the most cents.

Often times it’s about seeing the bigger picture, and realizing that looks can be deceiving and math a bitch if you don’t pay attention to the overall numbers.

Think of it like this – you go to the gas station – you top up your tank – the next week, you find gas at a cheaper station, not exactly one that you’re all too sure about, a no name station but hey – what do you care? It’s 15 cents less on the gallon!

Which technically is only 9/10ths of a gallon there, buddy.

Which technically is only nine-tenths of a gallon there, buddy.

One thing may be accomplished here – but two things could also be setbacks.

“Setbacks…?” you ask, questioning my sense of logic and slowly wondering if I have any bit of common sense.

“It’s cheaper gas,” you think to yourself.

The two main setbacks? Well let’s think:

A) You just wasted the current gas in your vehicle’s tank driving around looking for cheaper gas. Good job.

and

B) Aside from the bullshit the media tells you about it “all being the same,” you’ve potentially put something very bad for your engine in your tank that possibly has cheaper “detergents” – if you don’t understand what I mean, this basically means the numeric grades you see at the pump, “87, 89, 93”. While every station may have these, some skimp on quality.

Or worse, selling bad gas (left).

Or worse, sell bad gas (left).

And yes – you’re partially correct, it’s been argued that to a degree it doesn’t matter what grade it is – BUT,  in my opinion that’s only when it comes to mid-grade. If you’ve ever pulled up to a pump you’ll notice the little ticker counters above the prices – and you’ll notice that while there are three nozzles, often there are only two tickers – often, mid-grade pulls off the same ticker as low grade.

So yeah, you’re partially being screwed…but honestly – I’d rather be screwed less and take my chances by buying high test.

I’m a fan of classics, ergo I drive one.

Gotta love Hondas.

Gotta love Hondas.

It’s probably the only thing I’ll consider my child, and probably the only kid I’ll ever have in my life, nephews being the exception. My vehicle only takes high test. Believe me I’ve tried – there was a time when I thought, “fuck it, gas is up to $4.35 a gallon, I’ll go cheap this time.”

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Damn…did I screw myself over. One empty tank later and my girl (car), is choking like mad. Three fuel injector treatments later and she was back to normal…fortunately.

Now I’m not here to rant about gas, but this is just an example. Let’s shoot for another one —-

You hate your phone company? But you got that new iPhone 5/Samsung Galazy S III for only $100? Sounds good…sounds good….did you have to renew your contract for another two years?

Yeah.

Think on that for a minute.

Let it really sink in.

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Now take what you pay per month on a contract plan (I can guarantee you it’s probably more than me).

With a company you hate.

Uh-huh.

Then multiply that figure by 24 months.

Take that figure and compare it to the cost of the phone…which you’re probably going to ditch when “Like, OMG the iPhone 6/Samsung S IV is out!”

Truth is…you’re eating more of the costs than you think.

…..did you crunch the numbers? Good? Still think you got that phone for a steal?

Didn’t think so.

What am I trying to explain here? Well…even though you may think you got the better end of the deal because it was a “cheaper” price for a phone everyone has, you’ve just locked in two years of your income (and your life….that you’ll never get back. Congratulations.) all for the hype of that enticing price you saw in the display window.

Now let’s say you want to leave the country within those two years.

Move to a place where there’s no service provided by that company.

Just plain change companies because you’re finally fed up and bring yourself to accept the service sucks.

Or like many do….change service providers because one company has a newer phone that you’ve suddenly fallen in love with like a girl who changes her mind as often as she does shoes.

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What do you get slammed with?

Huge fees because you’re breaking a contract.

That iPhone 5 doesn’t seem as cheap as it was when you first bought it now, does it?

Me? I pay roughly $40 a month for my phone.

Unlimited everything.

Smartphone everything.

No contract.

Ultimate freedom.

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Did I pay a little more for my phone than you? Maybe….but the freedom I gained from practicality feels way better than the metaphorical ball and chain so many people acquire to get that “cheaper priced phone.”

I could leave the country tomorrow for two, three months and come back to the same number, same phone, like nothing even happened.

You get the general idea here. These are just a few examples and I’m not saying they’re for every scenario, but it reaches a wide scope of people.

The list goes on – you buy shoes cheap because of the price, you either get uncomfortable feet or shoes that wouldn’t last 3 miles if you decided to walk it.

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It doesn’t have to be a crazy amount in order to be quality. $350 for a mass cut Chukka?

Fuck you Red Wing. I like you guys but with enough connections I could find a shoe maker who does a better job and creates a custom shoe.

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Practical.

Practicality.

That’s what you’ve gotta aim for.

Aiming for cheap is short term – short term is instant gratification – instant highs are often instant lows. The age old adage of “you get what you pay for” is still as relevant as the day “adages” were spawned. Aiming for stupidly expensive is impractical.

What I’m trying to say is cheapest isn’t always the best – nor is overpriced. Sometimes if you spend a little more and shop around a bit differently while not always going after the mainstream stuff, you can really find yourself living a comfortable, enjoyable lifestyle with things that last.

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I’ll buy a $300 Seiko diver’s watch any day over an $8000 Rolex or a $10 Timex – both of which I’d be terrified to get shoved into a pool with while wearing.

This doesn’t just include consumable items either. This type of thinking spreads to all aspects of spending – especially travel – a coach ticket on off-season to South Korea while picking a decent hotel that’s just an extra 5 minutes out from Gangnam, works out to be better than the peak-season ticket while wanting to stay in the city center and skimping on accommodation, winding up at a shared dorm dump.

The extra $15 you spend on cotton shirts, instead of that polyester shirt you found on sale for $5 at a closeout store, ends up lasting longer than the plastic crap that causes you to catch fire if you get to close to a hot engine hood on a Dodge Ram…and really with a little (and I do mean little) research you could get tailor made shirts for less than $20, cotton, without having to trek over to Hong Kong.

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You could look like a million bucks and only spend a thousand.

Instead of trying to look like a million bucks while spending $900 and looking like $9 (we’ve all seen it at some point).

Remember, it’s not always in the numbers but in the quality as well.

Anyone like LG TVs? I do – I have one. They’re great, I love them.

My ex was looking for a quality flat screen TV last year but didn’t wanna break the bank. She thought either a cheap off brand TV, or Black Friday was the only option.

 (HA....yeah no.)

(HA….yeah no.)

The result? 32″ LCD TV $149 with tax. Brand – Dynex.

“Dynex? Who the fuck is that,” you’re probably thinking.

Well, they’re a subsidiary of LG…and you know what, the quality is practically the same. Is it as sleek and sexy as the LGs? If you’re an electronics snob like I sometimes am, probably not.

Asian chick not included.

Asian chick not included.

….but she didn’t care. Because the quality was the same if not similar…for half the price…and she didn’t have to go buy some extreme ass-backwards off brand.

This is what I mean when I say practicality…and it doesn’t always have to involve coupon hunting like a mad house wife holed up in a condo while her husband works a 70 hour work week.

Extreme-Couponing

Next time you’re out and about think, before you buy…be it plane tickets, gas, shoes, clothing, heck, even food.

Quality over quantity.

Stay savvy.

– Rego

Musings Episode 13: Being Practical vs. Being Cheap… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

Musings Episode 7: Work, Play, and Love…

Tonight I thought I’d get off the usual track of how my recent episodes have been going, instead switching to something a little different, yet still applicable to all aspects of life.

So many moments throughout the day people are clouded with the daily grind of work. Many times a balance is forgotten to be had, instead the sole focus being monetary gain.

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I don’t blame you for it.

There’s many awesome, and great things and experiences money can buy…and for all those who say money can’t buy happiness – bullshit. Like the infamous quote that once floated around in the social ether once upon a time, “money can’t buy me happiness…but at least I can cry in my Ferrari.”

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Also my private jet.

Money is a very, very useful and beneficial tool, if used correctly. The thing that can mess people up however, is losing sight of the purpose of creating and/or attaining the money.

Things are not the primary objective here. As I’ve said before it’s experiences. Road trips across Europe. Baseball games in South Korea. Sauna with your S.O. in Japan. Sandboarding in Brazil.

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We live in such a 40-hour work week driven society, many forget that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…ergo why this is reflected for many by blowing hundreds on alcohol over the weekend.

Throw in the consumerism of technology today, the “OMG I MUST have the iPhone 5, the 4S is like, so played out!” and you’ve got a recipe for a bad mix.

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I’ll admit it, aside from all the B.S. the media has portrayed since the beginning of time, one thing they did get spot on is the bits they’ve done on technology and the de-sensitizing of the youth today.

Why, you ask, do I agree with this?

Well, before technology, ironic as it may seem, there was more creativity…hear me out for a second. I’m talking about creativity in activities, in socializing, and in getting out and hitting the town.

Again, you’re probably asking, why do I say this?

In the movie Powder (1995), one of the characters quotes “It’s become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.”

I find this an interesting quote, because partially it’s true. Think about it – before the internet and smart phone age, the majority of the time if people wanted to talk or socialize with each other, they had two options – either pick up a land line (or if you could afford it) grab up your cell phone that was once the size of 2 bricks taped together, and call up whoever it was they wanted to get in contact with. If that wasn’t the case or if airtime was too ridiculous to pay for (before the days of “unlimited” everything), you had to go and meet up with that friend – or go over to their house.

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Unless you were this guy. This guy answered to no one.

There was a very critical human element in this…it was an engagement that required effort and time, and because this effort and time was expended many made sure that meet or that phone call was used well or properly.

Now? We just shoot text messages to each other, not even having to take the time out to text with our fingers. People constantly in touch with people they know everyday, and by the end of the day being saturated with the interaction, feel that actually meeting up with someone isn’t that big of a deal. They’ve communicated throughout the day, so why would there be more to talk about in person?

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…and contrary to popular belief, the mass majority of people who text and drive are not, just young people…fuckers.

This type of communication in my opinion has affected multiple human relationships, from friendships to relationships.

The friends you used to hang out with in primary school everyday after class, who stuck with you through high school and you used to talk everyday to on the phone, now get shot a casual text to “see how they’re doing”…

…your mom who you used to call on the phone and talk to for at least fifteen minutes you shoot a quick Happy Mother’s Day text to instead of a quick voicemail before work….

...what every mother loves to hear.

…what every mother loves to hear.

….that new girlfriend you have freaks out because you didn’t message her back fast enough or maybe didn’t use the right emoticon in the right sentence….10 years ago you realize the drama could’ve been avoided if you just rang her up for a few minutes…

Technology has reached a peak where people break up and divorce over Facebook statuses and wall posts.

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Fucking Facebook.

One wrong picture.

One wrong status.

Kids nowadays don’t knock on their friend’s doors but instead text, to say they’re outside. The fear of walking up to your friend’s door and [god forbid] having their parents answer is greater than running into traffic with your shoe laces from both shoes tied together and tripping.

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Smooth, ace…

It seems to me now we’re so hung up on data limits and the newest apps we forgot about the basics of human interaction.

This can – and has led to social dysfunction and downfalls. What happened to the novelty of paper birthday cards?

The fun of making the cake from scratch (heck, even the box), instead of picking it up from the store or a caterer?

Or how about instead of watching a movie on NetFlix on your cell phone while sitting at Starbuck’s with your S.O., actually taking the time to get messy in the kitchen and make dinner with each other then watching something on NetFlix with an actual TV later on?

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It’s the little things that matter but people have forgotten about…we forget to get back down to earth and remember the simpler things.

The effort.

The imagination.

The thought.

The involvement.

The more convenience we develop, it seems the less we actually attach or feel like we’ve created or engaged in something that’s a part of us.

This is what I mean when I refer to play and love in the title of this week’s episodic musing. This is why every week, I try to give you ladies and gents different ideas on what to do over the weekend – because if you notice, most of them involve heavy socializing.

They require an effort.

Engagement.

Imagination…and involvement.

Without these, we’re merely on auto pilot with technology dictating to us what we should or shouldn’t do, or how it’s easier to do this than that. Like the 8 ball we used to ask questions to when we were younger.

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But I like the effort. I like the effort of ringing up a friend and sorting out logistics for our next meet instead of through text.

I like the effort of looking for that one special gift for an anniversary by going store to store and taking in the sights, instead of just hopping on Amazon and ordering.

Call me old-fashioned or old school, but I like that feeling of putting effort into connecting with other people.

Networking and genuine interaction is key in everything – business, pleasure, and love.

It’s what keeps and maintains things long-term.

What people have to remember is this: with instant gratification, comes instant boredom.

The faster the high, the harder the crash.

Stay human.

– Rego

Musings Episode 7: Work, Play, and Love… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life