Lessons on Value

Why do I like good value?

When I get something which I perceive is good value— I feel more clever, smart, and innovative! To be able to figure out a more cost-effective solution for not much money.

Thus perhaps value is a system of problem-solving, and the desire to flex your own individual “smartness”, “cleverness”, or ingenuity?

Why we value:


For example:

  1. RICOH GR II and III as both excellent value. Perhaps this makes me feel more happy, clever, and innovative to figure out how to maximize my “bang for the buck”?
  2. Mexico City: the joy of living high with low prices. Best restaurants for the best prices, best value for Uber, food, coffee, living, and almost everything.
  3. Refurbished technology: Buying my maxed out 13’’ MacBook Pro touchbar refurbished as a great value. $3,500 original price, but refurbished only $2k. Perhaps value also has to do with “anchoring”— knowing what something used to cost, and feeling like you got a better deal.
  4. The feeling of “getting a good deal”— what does this mean? To feel that perhaps you “slighted the system”, or you were able to minimize your pain associated with buying something.
  5. For phone the insane value of a Xiaomi phone (~300 USD phones) with the same technology as devices almost 3x as expensive. Therefore, perhaps value is comparison to the competition — the desire to get more for less. The desire for maximizing economy?
  6. When you use something a lot, like my coffee “clever dripper”(several times a day), my RICOH GR III (all day), or my 13 inch laptop (all day), I feel great joy in the value — because I use it all the time! I feel dumb when I buy something and never use it. Then perhaps value is associated with how much and how often you use something. For example if you spend half your life commuting or stuck in traffic, then perhaps from an economic basis, it makes more sense to spend more money on your car than your home.
  7. If you don’t spend much time at home, perhaps money on your home is a bad use of money or value. But if you spend much time at home, perhaps it is a good value.
  8. Double use: Your rent in your apartment can feel expensive, but if you work from home or use it as your office, then it feels more value. Lesson: value increases according to how many other uses it has.
  9. Everyone wants to get a good deal for their money: The rich spend lots of money on certain things or experiences, but the perceived value is that it is still “worth it” to them. For example spending $10k on Leica equipment can feel like a good investment or value, if you perceive on using it for the rest of your life for your passion!
  10. Money spent on your passion is a great value.
  11. Education or workshops is a great value if you feel the knowledge or experience can change you and transform you for the better (empowerment!)
  12. Buyer’s delight: The opposite of “buyer’s remorse”. The delight in yourself knowing you got a good deal. Also, the delight of showing off or bragging to your friends how good of a deal you got.
  13. The joy of the skill associated with getting a good deal: The joy of getting a really good deal or discount while haggling (takes skill). For example getting a good deal on a new car after out-haggling the dealer. Or perhaps the joy at a flea market of getting a fashionable item FAR BELOW what you generally buy it for new in the store.

Practical ideas

  1. Whenever possible, buy used or refurbished. Or when buying new, make sure it’s a better value than other places.
  2. Stick to clean, simple, and minimal.
  3. Ask yourself, “How often will I use this thing?” For example a $100 Merino wool tshirt I wear everyday is actually a very good value, and if it is my only tshirt!
  4. When in doubt, don’t buy it. Perhaps our doubt is an indication that it isn’t a good value (in your eyes), and you might end up regretting the purchase later.
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