The problem with CHEAP

By Dave 

It is not uncommon to hear things like ……

“Why are you taking so long to decide? It is CHEAP so you should just buy it”

“You should buy in bulk because it is CHEAPER”

“You should buy a few more because it is CHEAP”

According to, CHEAP could be defined as any one of the following (in the case of the above scenario):

  1. costing very little; relatively low in price; inexpensive:
  2. costing little labor or trouble:
  3. charging low prices:
  4. of little account; of small value; mean; shoddy:
  5. obtainable at a low rate of interest:
  6. Of decreased value or purchasing power, as currency depreciated due to inflation.

6 different definitions! But if we do study them closely, they are inherently similar. And in many cases, the value of the item is so low that it has become extremely comfortable for “you” to afford and buy them (although I must also add that “comfort level” is subjective and would vary among individuals.)

CHEAP has infiltrated our lives and it is not uncommon to find more value shops sprouting out in our local neighborhoods compared to a decade or two ago. These value shops sell all kinds of products at really low prices and could range from household products, personal care products, car grooming products, toiletries, cosmetics, and the list goes on.

Having the existence of value shops are certainly helpful as they provide an alternative to the more expensive products that are sold in malls. You could probably get a mug for $2 at the value shop compared to one that might cost 2-3 times more if the purchase is made at the mall. Not over-generalising, there are various reasons why these value shops could manage to price the items so low (rental, country of shipment, bulk purchase etc) but that is a separate discussion altogether.

What happens though when things are CHEAP? You could end up buying more than you realize as it doesn’t yet occur to you at that point when you load up the shopping basket that items will just keep accumulating. You are loading up the basket because things are CHEAP but will probably end up storing it away somewhere when you are back at home.

It is not hard to break this habit; all you need is to ask yourself a few questions before every single purchase.

  1. Do we really need this?
  2. Do we really need to buy so many?
  3. Could we do without this?
  4. Is this really necessary?
  5. Could we borrow or buy this from someone else?
  6. Does this thing add value to my life?

Question yourself and be more deliberate with your purchases. Instead of mindless buying and consuming stuff, give some thought to what you really need. You will come to realise that you actually don’t need that much.


  1. Falling into the cheap trap is very easy, and many people do fall into it thinking they are saving money.
    What I do is I first determine what to buy, and then try to find it as cheap as possible. So I don’t follow discounts but if something I have determined to buy is on discount I consider it.
    Buying something could last months sometimes, but I know I bring home something I love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree! Its more of a deliberate and intentional decision.


  2. […] a previous article, we discussed the problem with cheap, which was actually, a prime example of mindless consumption. We make purchases without giving much […]

    Liked by 1 person

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