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Quality alternatives to 3 big common purchases

Here are three general categories and an analysis of each to help you decide which purchases are important. 

purchases on computer
Image: Unsplash

Recent inflationary trends have had untoward effects on the entire global economy, so many are taking a closer look at their purchases.

People tend to see three options: they can either continue to purchase a product, not buy it, or find an alternative. 

There are plenty of good reasons to go for the first two options, but you might prefer the third, finding an alternative.

If you do, it can be difficult to decide whether buying a less expensive option is going to be worth it or tacky.

Every individual product will be unique, and personal tastes will obviously differ, but here are three general categories and an analysis of each to help you decide for yourself. 

Food

grocery store showing fruits and vegetables
Image: Unsplash

What we put into our bodies is not something we should look at casually.

But food is growing increasingly expensive: recent inflation reports have found that many foods have increased by more than 10% in the last year

Outside of going to a local bakery or purchasing products, most foods offer at least two options: a name brand, and a generic, possibly in multiple forms. Which is the better option?

Much of that depends on what the consumer regards as most important: nutritional value or taste. 

Health: Generally speaking, healthier food is going to cost more. This can be particularly true in the case of bread products and sweet treats.

There are inexpensive ways to prepare bread and treats, which normally utilize less nutritious methods and ingredients. 

Taste: Taste is a category that certainly varies from one product to another. In some cases, such as cereals, two companies’ foods are made and boxed in the same facility yet are sold at different prices.

In other instances, such as boxed cookies, there’s a clear difference in taste and quality. 

Jewelry

jewelry earrings in a pink background
Image: Unsplash

Jewelry is an area that sees a dramatic range of prices. At the high end are diamonds and gold versus the low end of the plastic and other synthetic materials.

An option between the two extremes is lab diamonds. Many may assume lab-made diamonds are a generic and even cheap option.

Though the stereotype may resist change, the truth is, there’s a considerable difference. Diamonds manufactured in a lab have the same chemical and physical properties as those created through natural geologic processes.

The cost of artificial diamonds is about 30% less than real ones.

The only real difference is that the lab creation is not a natural diamond. If that is worth 30% more cost to you, so be it; if not, a lab diamond could be the way to go. 

This same idea applies to many other kinds of jewelry, as well. If bought behind the glass (not super-cheap jewelry), the item will last and look just as good as top-of-the-line products.

Cars

ai cars morality
Image: Wired

This one shouldn’t be a big surprise, but it is often overlooked. Everyone loves owning a brand-new car and driving it off the lot.

But at what cost? Most cars lose up to 30% of their value after a year. That means a $30,000 car is only worth $21,000 after one year has passed.

When you figure in the interest rates and monthly payments, a buyer can spend more than $10,000 over the course of the payment process to get that new car. 

You have a few great alternatives to getting a brand-new vehicle:

  • Find a mechanically good car from an accident: If a car is hit from the side and has no mechanical issues, it can be a great purchase. The cost of a new door is a fraction of your savings versus purchasing a car without the pre-existing issue.
  • Purchase a rental car: After a year or two, most rental companies will sell their cars to the general public for a huge discount. They may have more mileage on them than comparable vehicles of their age, but something to keep in mind is that rental agencies tend to keep their cars in pristine condition.
  • Wait a few years: Sometimes, it’s possible to find a car that either was never purchased or was returned after a few months of use, even a few years after it had come out. Two-year-old cars with less than 10,000 miles exist, and unless you have the current year listed for your car worth thousands of dollars, landing one of these deals is a steal. 

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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