One of the great frustrations of my life is trying to figure out when extra money spent will result in more, less, or the same amount of hassle. Amongst those who are frugal, one of the common pieces of advice is "spend more money for a quality item that will last longer."
Under this idea, I spent $400 on a mountain bike on Saturday. It's a lovely bike, and I already took it out for a trail ride. I spent an extra $50 to get a lighter frame (I'll be doing some road biking with it too), and it's definitely worth it. However, I bought the bike somewhere 30 minutes away, and I already have a service issue; in my very first bike ride, I managed to somehow pop my tube. I don't see anything crazy sticking out of it, so I can't imagine that I went rolling over nails. I've saved up money for quite a long time for this bike, and my excitement is now dampened by this unfortunate issue. I'm taking the bike to be serviced tonight, and I'm hoping that nothing is found sticking in my tube so that the bike shop will fix it for free.
Today, I will also be packing up one of the lenses from my D40 to be sent in for servicing. Thankfully, I'm still within the one year service window. The autofocus on this lens has been broken since December (yes, I procrastinate too much). And this lens issue has been causing me to use my camera less and be less happy about my camera ever since.
Conversely, I spent $5 on a pair of headphones last summer when my old pair went belly up. The headphones have worked so well for me that I bought another pair this weekend so that I can have a gym set and a home/work set (avoids putting on sweaty headphones at any time other than the gym). I could have shelled out for a much more expensive version, but why bother? And on the flip side, I spent more money for my ipod nano ($150) than I could have spent on a similar product, but the ease of use, loveliness, and long battery life have all been completely worth the investment for me.
I'm hoping that the fixing of my bike and camera lens will lead to useable products that don't have any immediate issues. But I have to admit that I'm a bit disheartened right now. Complicated products are often hard to do right, and I did my best to find good quality items. I did some research, checked out some reviews, and was quite happy with my purchases when I made them. But I must admit that problems like this are quite the downer and make me think twice about spending lots of money on something fancy.