I don’t know if it was my upbringing in a stereotypical Indian middle-class family but as far as I can remember I have never walked into a store with an intention of buying something and not immediately choosing the cheapest product on the market. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. The “ It gets the job done, hence it’s more than enough” thinking. AKA Typical Middle-class mentality. The concept of paying more to buy a better product seemed unnecessary and in my house deemed wasteful and was vehemently frowned upon.
Fast forward to today. I like to cook and I needed a new knife. For the better half of last year, I have been using the common knife in my shared corridor room and the cheapest one Ikea had to offer. On this occasion though, fed up of straining my arms trying to cut meat and bones and squishing the life out of the tomatoes while trying to slice them, I decided to buy a better one or maybe it was because I had just got some extra cash. I don’t know. Anyhow, I buy a better more expensive kitchen knife and was instantly filled with a deep sense of regret and guilt.I think the ghosts of all middle-class families roam around haunting anyone who buys anything other than the cheapest product with guilt. On the contrary, they reward us with pats on the back if we do buy the cheapest product. Like, make us feel particularly proud. Proud of being cheap. I almost sensed the ghost of my Mom looking at me shaking her head in extreme disappointment, which is a bit odd considering my mom is still alive.
But all the guilt quickly vanished while cooking my next meal.OMG! I never had so much fun during prepping for a meal. Cutting vegetables which were a chore was now so smooth and effortless. The meat, so easily cut and diced, fell apart in poetic injustice to the dead animal. The whole process of cooking was so pleasurable that I had a pang of regret not doing this sooner. I then went and bought a nice pan, and some vessels. I might have gotten a bit carried away and deserved to be shamed this time. But it made the process of cooking so much more enjoyable. I was looking forward to cooking instead of just waiting to have the meal. I wonder, in which other areas could I spend more to significantly improve my quality of living. Buying better products and improving the process of creating than just the creation.
Some areas where I think where we are better off spending a bit more:
- Cooking Utensils and knives.
- Hardware tools.
- Workout clothes.
- Daily commute like a cycle, skateboard.
- Trekking and outdoor equipment
- Backpacks. Especially for trekking or heavy loads.
- Travel luggage.
- Running/ Weightlifting/Crossfit shoes.
- Pen drives /hard drives
Beware, The law of diminishing returns applies. If I had gone overboard and bought the best knife Ikea had to offer, it would not increase my cooking pleasure more after a certain point. After a certain level, the ghosts are right. It is wasteful. And you should feel guilty. But if you find the sweet spot, it can make a tonne of difference and trust me, it’s worth every damn penny.