Being a true frugal means you should think about saving in the long run. People try to buy cheap products to save money instantly and regret later that they have wasted their savings on something that was poorly built. Generally cheap products have poor quality. You may buy something cheap and may have to replace it in the next few months. Then you are wasting your time and money. If you spend on something a bit pricey but solidly built, then obviously it will last longer and you will be able to use it for years without any hassle.
Some products are ok to be bought cheap. If you do not intend to use them often, why bother spending a fortune on them? But usually we buy things because we want to use them more often. Cheap products usually have shorter lifespan and have more chances of easy breakage.
Beware of cheap Chinese products
Chinese products have become synonymous to poor quality. While saying that, there are different grades of Chinese products available in the market. Chinese products are available in the shelves of top retail stores to cheap dollar shops. More than 90% of the things I have seen are made in China. I am not against the Chinese-made products and I have no problem with it. I am just too tired of seeing the massive amount of poor quality products available everywhere. The products found in top retail stores have most likely passed stringent quality-control tests and are more reliable while the ones found in small retail stores, online stores, ebay stores and dollar shops are the ones that we need to be really careful about.
Why are Chinese products so cheap and are of bad quality? There are few important factors such as the use of poor quality raw materials and duplicating the products of other brands.
I've worked in retail industry that sold Chinese products such as machinery and catering equipment. The products are quite cheap and the quality is cheap too. You basically get what you pay for. If you are having a bad day, you would even end up getting a brand new item that wouldn't even work in the first place. Then you'd have to waste your time chasing them up for a refund or replacement. I've seen plenty of unhappy customers. The store may exchange the items or repair them but you would have to go through the unwanted hassle and waste your time.
I've also noticed the product manuals that accompany these cheap brands are usually poorly written. The product manuals sometimes do not even represent the product itself. The specifications in them are incorrect. This totally fools the naive customers. So be very careful before buying cheap Chinese products. Don't just look at how cheap they are, also look at the quality and the product information they give you- usually cheap products will have poor quality.
You may feel you are up for a big bargain but usually it's not really worth. I've seen it first hand and I know how it is. You simply cannot trust the products most of the online stores or warehouses sell. Some of their products come defected in the box. Most of them have cosmetic and functional defects, which they later fix in the warehouse before selling to the public. That means the public is consuming the almost second-hand or repaired items and paying the full price!
I think it's better to buy a second hand product of a well-known brand rather than spending money on an unknown brand.
So beware of those online stores, places selling direct from warehouse, ebay stores and unknown brands. Save up some money and invest on a solidly-built products from well known retailers that provide good customer service. Spending more on some of the things now will reduce plenty of headache in the future.
Avoid spending over $100 on cheap brands
I would personally recommend not to spend over $100 on low quality products or unknown Chinese brands. If you are buying something to use for a longer period or for commercial use, then just forget about them. Instead, go for a better brand from a well-known retailer even if you have to pay a few hundred dollars more. This will save you a lot of hassle later on.
Better products have a better resell value
It is also important to remember that better products have a better resell value. If you buy a low-quality cheap product and want to sell it second-hand after a few years, it will virtually have no value. For instance, you paid $1800 for a Chinese refrigerator of an unknown brand, which was $500 less than a well-known brand and used it for your business. If you tried selling it later, you would find it hard to get people interested in it because it is a second-hand item of an unknown brand. Even if you happen to sell it, the resell value will be a lot less. If you instead bought a better product, your reseller value would be higher and you wouldn't be losing much.
Feel free to comment and share your opinions.