Every day individuals are faced with making choices. The decision making process has a tendency to create lots of stress in everyoneís lives. Individuals always want to make the right choices when several options are available. They often seek the advice of others to help reinforce their choices. Last week I watched a game show on TV titled ďDeal or No DealĒ hosted by Howie Mandel. After watching this show for fifteen minutes, it becomes quickly apparent how much influence the contestantís family and the audience members have on the choices they have to make throughout the game. Thereís lots of stress as well as excitement displayed by the contestants and their family members, which creates an entertaining show. But who needs all this stress to make choices? Better to have some strategies in place in order to make daily choices with confidence.
One of the most recurring choices we are faced with daily as consumers of products and services relates to Price Verses Quality. What factors are more important; and under which conditions? In this lesson, we will discuss some observations Iíve made, to perhaps help you to reduce the stress associated with these choices.
As consumers, I think itís important to categorize our decisions in some sort of order of importance. For instance if an individual were looking to purchase a car that will be their primary source of transportation to and from work Ė should they be shopping for the least expensive car? I think not. Reliability records are an important factor Ė since that cheapest car might spend too much time in the repair shop and cause one to lose time at work and maybe even their job. Thus investing more up front for a reliable vehicle should be an easy choice. Just ask Toyota/Lexus owners why they purchased their vehicles Ė and reliability will be at the top of their list. Itís no wonder why Toyota is the leading vehicle maker in the world today. A good trade-off would be to purchase a Toyota for reliability Ė but skip all the extras you will rarely use. Forget the DVD player or GPS system. If you never use cruise control, order a vehicle without it. Choose only the options that you absolutely need and you can probably afford purchasing a better quality vehicle.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if an individual has to decide on choosing a name brand mouthwash verses a CVS or Wal-Mart store brand with the same exact ingredients, the choice should be just as easy. The store brand which is 50-70% less will do just fine. Thereís nothing critical about this decision.
Next letís look at cookware. We use cookware every single day and more than likely non-stick surfaces are your cookware of choice. The surfaces made of Teflon are fairly cheap to purchase and definitely easy to clean. But medical authorities report them to be dangerous to your health. Non-stick cookware made of ceramic-titanium is much more expensive to purchase but is deemed safe and long lasting Ė and is also simple to clean. Which should you choose? I say pay more for the cookware you use every single day and stay healthy. The potential medical bills in the future can be 100 times the cost of the cookware.
I think itís important to develop strategies for purchasing decisions well in advance of having to make the actual choices. Here are some to consider. First: if you are not in dire need for something Ė donít be anxious to buy it. Wait for a sale and you can get a top quality product at the right price. This applies to TVís, computers, cell phones or any other larger ticket electronic item. The technologies keep getting better along with the pricing. Watch for your favorite brand to go on sale and purchase it at the right time. Second: If you like a name brand consumer staple Ė compare it to a store brand. I enjoy shopping at Costco and find their store brands to be of similar or better quality than many name brands, sold at a substantial discount. Third: Consider how often you use a product. If you use something every day Ė ALWAYS BUY QUALITY! However if you need an odd wrench to fix a problem once in a lifetime Ė buy the cheapest you can find. Fourth: Donít look at the most expensive item first. It will set you up for frustration. Buy the exact quality necessary to fulfill your exact needs. Fifth: When shopping for services, get referrals from people you know or trust. Only choose providers with happy, satisfied customers. Donít just look for the cheapest provider. This strategy can save you an enormous amount of stress and money in the future by choosing reliable and trustworthy service providers like doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers or auto repair shops. You need all these service providers throughout your life and must surround yourself with the BEST you can find.
Analyzing your REAL NEEDS and having a strategy in place for how to approach purchasing decisions can reduce lots of stress in your life. Itís great to feel confident and is very satisfying to make GOOD CHOICES!