False Economy Theory: Why Investing in Better Quality Pieces Saves You Money

False Economy Theory is a term used to describe the idea that buying cheaper items will save you money in the short term, but will actually end up costing you more in the long run due to the need for frequent replacements and repairs. This may be especially true when it comes to your favorite items that you use frequently, like blankets or jeans. Investing in high-quality pieces may seem like a bigger upfront cost, but long term it can save a surprising amount of money.

Buying quality products doesn’t only mean a financial gain for you. Based on the theory of supply and demand, purchasing less products means that less products get created overall - reducing not only physical product waste, but pollution, single-use packaging, chemicals used in production, etc.

One prime example are blankets. Poorly made blankets from low-quality synthetic materials may seem like a good deal at the time, but they often quickly get holes, pilling and unraveling at the seems, not to mention they lose their softness after just a few uses. Ultimately it costs more money to replace your blanket every year than to invest in a high-quality piece from natural fibers that will last you a whole lifetime. In fact, according to a study by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, “a garment that is worn 50 times before it is thrown away has half the carbon footprint of a garment that is worn only 5 times.” The same goes for home textiles. Investing in higher quality pieces allows you to build a home of your ‘must-have’ pieces you love, while keeping a clean conscious. 

What False Economy Theory tells us is that what may seem like a cost savings in the short term, can actually come at a much higher cost over the long term. When shopping for items that are expected to last a long time, it is important to consider the long-term cost and benefit, rather than just the upfront cost. And if caring for the planet is something you value, it's critical that you invest in quality pieces made from natural materials that will last. So go ahead, invest in the more expensive, higher-quality piece you’ve been eyeing - it can actually help you save money and reduce your impact on the planet.

Sustainable Apparel Coalition. (2017). The Higg Index. https://apparelcoalition.org/the-higg-index/