Buy the Cheap Thing First

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse.

I love this advice! It goes against traditional notions of saving money and stuff, but makes complete sense: if you are trying something for the first time and need to buy equipment or gear, buy the cheap stuff first.

Usually, smart, sustainable thinking goes in the opposite direction: quality is (generally) more expensive up front, but cheaper in the long run. Buying cheap crap wears out faster, contributes to landfills and corporate greed, and costs you way more as you replace your sixth pair of $20 leggings when a $90 pair would still be with you. The ideal is often to buy the best quality item you can possibly afford.

When it comes to something you are trying out, however, be it a sport, cooking technique, or techno-hobby, you don't even know if you like it yet, let alone what particular type of gear will be best for you. Plus, as a newb you are more likely to accidentally destroy your stuff because you don't know what you're doing. How heartbreaking to destroy a $300 tricked-out hiking backpack when you could have destroyed a $20 pack - or to have it sit in your closet after one disastrous backpacking trip where you decided you hate the sport?

Eventually, you'll know if you actually like this hobby and will stick with it, as well as what features you might actually need in your fancy, expensive gear (or you'll learn that, in this particular case, the cheap stuff is just fine, bonus!). Plus, you've had a bit more time to save up for the good stuff.


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