Buying Premium VERSUS Basic Goods

Gucci marmont flap bag small
At Ampersand, Cebu City / Gucci Marmont flap bag in small


Are you one of those people who struggle to choose whether to buy a premium item or just the basic one that costs less?


Frugal husband currently has this dilemma of choosing what type of phone to get. His PhP11,000.00 / USD 220.00 Asus Zenphone has been wonky lately. It has lost functionality, unable to grasp a steady data connection, no bluetooth, slow wifi connection and it just generally lost its appeal as it has become so slow. So now his current dilemma, what phone to get as a replacement? As FH browsed different model phones, he is confused whether to get a premium or basic phone.


Premium versus Basic

I personally prefer getting a premium phone as to a basic one that may last me a minute! FH’s phone lasted just a year and now it’s slow as a 90’s computer. On the other hand, my Sony Xperia Z5 compact phone, which cost me a premium at PhP29,000.00 / USD 580.00 is turning three years old in 8 months. I’ve scratched up the camera lens so the back camera is no longer that good but the front camera still kills! The speed of its UI is still quick. The data, wifi hotspot, bluetooth, NFC, and other functions, amazingly, still work. This has been my experience with Sony VAIO laptops as well (unfortunate that they’ve been discontinued), which still work amazingly* despite the lapse of more than five years!

As for my phone, I have not babied it. I have dropped it countless times, left it in a parked car on a hot day, taken it to varied climates (spring, winter, and summer), and generally been using it as it should be. I don’t have to worry about it, I can just use it and live my life.

That’s essentially why I prefer buying premium for most of the items I use–phones, shoes, and handbags. I prefer buying quality items that last. This is fairly convenient for me as I hate changing phones or laptops constantly. I hate having to adjust to a new user interface or having to transfer files back and forth. The same thing goes for hand bags as my fondness for one should not be impeded by poor quality showing through i.e. unsightly faux leather peeling off the bag.


Cost per year of use


In judging whether an item has value for your money, I take the years/months/days of life of the item and simply divide it by the price I paid for it. For instance, let’s calculate the cost per year of use of my phone:

PhP25,000/2.33 years = PhP10,729.61 / USD 215.00 / year


This means that I paid the foregoing amount on my phone per year. With every year that my phone sees the light of day and survives, that cost per year will logically decrease. That is where value-for-money comes in!


It’s all down to preference


At the end of the day though, it all comes down to individual preference. Some people like buying cheap goods and replacing them each year. They get bored easily and want a new phone each year. There is, however, a cost to producing these goods. Phones and gadgets use non-renewable energy with minerals that take millions of years for the earth to replenish. So there is that.

What items do you pay a premium on?



*Amazing for me means that all promised functions, which sold me on the laptop, still work such as bluetooth, wifi, SD card slots, USB slots, CD drives, webcam, battery (well battery life expectedly is shorter), among others.

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