Price versus Cost


Zig Ziglar

The late, great Zig Ziglar

I’ve been reading Zig Ziglar lately, and all sorts of ideas and thoughts that I’ve been hearing on podcasts and from my coach Berni have been gelling in my mind. In particular, I realised that an experience of my own really brought home to me the difference Zig describes between price and cost, and I would like to share it with you.

Aren’t Price and Cost the Same?

No, they aren’t. Price is what you pay up front for something, and cost is the actual money you spend over the lifetime of that something. Zig beautifully explains this by describing his experience in buying a bicycle for his six-year-old son. Shocked by the price of a good Schwinn bike, he buys a cheap one instead. Within six months, he’s spent almost the price of the cheap bike again in repairs. He then junks it, buys the expensive bike, and his son uses it for six YEARS. Clearly, the “expensive” bike turned out to be much less expensive in the long run. Or, as they say in the Netherlands, “goedkoop is duurkoop” (cheap is expensive).

So What’s My Story?

As you’ve noticed if you’ve visited my BlackBox Cosmetics website, the products there are not hugely expensive, but they aren’t cheap, either. If you are used to buying your skincare products in cheap drugstores, you might find the price a little daunting, especially if you live in Canada and have to factor in shipping and the unsettling behaviour of the loonie.

I myself fell prey to this thinking when my BlackBox moisturisers ran out. I thought I’d wait a while before ordering refills, especially as a dear friend whose daughter works for a skincare company in a local mall generously gave me a nice big pot of their water-based cream. Can’t get a better price than free, can you?

That cream smelled nice, and it seemed to work OK on my sensitive, inflamed face. I seemed to need an awful lot of it, but what the heck, I had a big pot. The inflammation seemed to be getting worse, though. Darn. The skin on my face was peeling and itchy, despite the massive amounts of cream I was putting on it. Sound familiar?

I caved. I ordered my moisturiser refills, got them and started using them again. I cannot believe the difference in my skin. It took a few days for it to settle down after the way I’d abused it with the other product, but now it is back to being happy, peaceful and smooth. I’m never doing that again. I’m only using tiny dabs, thanks to the aloe base, but I’m making darned sure I always have refills on hand.

So Why Should I Care?

The moral of the story is: never buy cheap crap. Whether it’s clothing, skincare or food, you will not save money in the long run by refusing to buy quality.

It’s not easy to remember that lesson. I am too often seduced by $8 t-shirts at Superstore, even though I know I will be throwing them out by the end of the season, if not before. Spending more at a decent boutique will ensure a garment that will last me year after year.

It can be even trickier with food – the cost to your health that you can avoid by eating healthy, real food and avoiding cardboard boxes (especially ones that tout the health benefits of their contents) is more subtle to see, as it can take years to develop. But there can be no question that eating quality food is more likely to lead to a long, healthy life than downing cheap, processed pseudo-food.

How about you? Are you able to prioritise quality products in your life? What kind of choices do you make, and why? Talk to me in the comments!

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