6 Things You Should Spend More Money On
The business mantra of our times is "Save money, save money, save money".
The airwaves and print media are full of it. 'The quickest way to give yourself a raise is to save money', as the old saying goes. Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com has made a career our of speaking to the miser in us all.
Outsourcing and offshoring are now so commonplace we can't remember a time when clothes weren't cheap and entertainment wasn't on demand. It's such an in-built reflex that one struggles to think of occasions when one shouldn't go for a discount.
However, there are definitely times when the urge to skimp should itself be restrained. Not everything cheap is good. In fact, there are a great many goods and services where one should buy the best one can afford, and not just when one is shopping for a neurosurgeon!
Long term, what constant discounting does for the merchant is devalue what he's selling. Hands up who can remember something that used to be pricey in their youth that is now ... not? Exactly. Lots of things. We now expect clothes to be cheap, even disposable.
Behind that steep fall is a chain of closed family businesses and outsourcing to China and Poland.
Being perceived as cheap is terrible for brand image. Cheap = bad quality.
As a passer-by once said to me when I was advertising a free concert on the local high-street "If it's free, it's probably no good!"
Here are a few things that shouldn't be skimped on.
1. Selling Luxury Goods.
This is cheating a bit. By definition, high-end goods can't be marketed in a cheese-paring way.
If one is selling 7-figure real-estate, sports-cars or Rolex watches, one can't advertise with discount codes and 'two-for-the-price-of-one'. It's not consistent with the niche.
Your customer will be disturbed if your message doesn't match your goods. All customers are nervous; they're wary of being cheated. You want them to relax. One way to do this is to meet and exceed expectations.
So the Maserati buyer is greeted in a beautifully-appointed showroom by a supermodel, and not in a garage forecourt by a spotty schoolgirl. Their doubts erased, they can then proceed to the next step of the purchase process, in peace.
2. Legal Services.
We all hate lawyers, don't we? We all hate lawyers and we all dread appearing in court. The words "lawsuit" and "fun" rarely turn up in the same sentence. The law is what you turn to when common decency hasn't worked.
Skimping on legal help is a bad idea, except in one case: when you have absolutely nothing to lose i.e. you're flat broke and have zero assets of any kind.
You can then hire a pro-bono lawyer and have at it. The best/worst litigants are they very poor and the very rich; the very poor can't be squeezed any more and the very rich can use lawsuits to club their opponents into a coma.
Everyone else should hire the best solicitor they can afford. 'A bad lawyer is worse than no lawyer at all', as the old saying goes. Jimmy's friend who skipped out of second year law-school to take drugs in South America with a shaman is probably not the man to handle your divorce case. His ignorance of precedent and relevant law will cost you dear.
Forget Hollywood. Hollywood tells lies. Beautiful lies, but lies nonetheless.
Your trial judge is not going to be impressed when your representation doesn't even know how to address the court properly. Your opponent's lawyer will be mentally adding a zero to his fees when your guy fails to notice a pretty obvious flaw in the case he's presenting.
I remember many years ago acting in amateur local musical theatre. Just once, mind. The experience of being directed by a professional camp slavedriver put me off the theatre for good.
There's something about being insulted by an overweight effeminate man in the most caustic way that is deeply annoying to the male psyche.
Now this chap was a good director. I have to say he did his job to the uttermost and gave excellent value for money. Our production of 'Oliver' fairly hopped by opening night. We were all very impressed. Except ...
One day he drove up for work while we were waiting outside the theatre to be let in. I still remember it; an orange volkswagen. And not a particularly new one, either.
So this was the reality behind all the airs and graces, the histrionics and the bitchy remarks; my dad was better off than this star of stage and .... whatever.
He had shattered the illusion. And the audience never forgives that.
Clothes really do make the man. There's something about sitting in a crisp suit and tie, with polished shoes and manicured hands. One instantly feels more competent.
When one is well-dressed one feels less self-conscious in company. Indeed, the people around you will start shifting in their seats and touching their humble garments; you've made them feel inferior.
This is why high-end salesmen spend a bit extra to look sharp; it can make the difference between going home a winner and just going home.
Men who are used to playing The Game will give you a quick glance when you walk in the room; your Marks and Spencer suit and Clarkes shoes say volumes before you even open your mouth.
Cheap tools wear out fast and snap when you need them the most. You really don't want to be stuck on the hard shoulder in the pouring rain trying to make that cheap Chinese jack work, darn it!
6. Food & Healthcare.
I've put these two together and they cover the same spectrum of care of the body. Processed food and quack nostrums are no substitute for a varied diet and sound medical advice.
Go to your dentist to get your teeth cleaned at least yearly. If you have aches and pains that last longer than two weeks, go see a doctor. That odd little problem could be the harbringer of something that could knock all your dreams flat for a few months. 'A stitch in time ...' as they say.
A man can be a billionaire and a toothache will colour his day grey the same as a poor man's. Spend a bit extra on keeping the temple of your soul in good order.
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