How many times do you want to buy a product? Think about it. Do you want to buy it over and over or do you want to buy it once? Most people want a ‘buy it for life’ (BIFL) product, and I have to agree with them.
Now, I am not talking about disposable objects (though there are great reusable alternatives on the market). I am talking about those products which last us for a long time, but we end up replacing them at some point — the products like shoes or appliances.
Built into the price of many ‘too good to be true’ items is the fact that those items will break down. Did you know that when light bulbs were invented, they lasted for decades? Why do you think that they do not last as long anymore? Yeah, you guessed it, manufacturers want to make more money. With the rise of LEDs, bulbs are becoming more expensive but lasting longer again, and that is one of the points on my list.
So, check out my list and find out how you can find the BIFL products.
Check The Product Reviews
If you want a product which lasts forever, then it should last forever. A buy it for life product is about more than just taking care of the product. If the product is built to last and you take care of it, then it may just outlast you. So, how do you know if the product life is long?
A great place to start is with the reviews. When it comes to reviews, people are motivated to write a review when the product is really good or really bad. I always check the reviews of a product before buying it. No reviews yet? Well, it may not be worth the risk. Products which are built to last should have a lot of reviews, and a lot of positive ones too.
Look for independent sources, as manufacturers have a tendency to put good reviews on their own website, and check that the reviewer has actually bought the product first. On sites like Amazon, you can also go back through a person’s reviews and see what they have bought and reviewed. This is a great way to see which reviewers are paid reviewers.
Find a product with a long lifespan and not only can you get a BIFL product but you will also start moving towards zero waste.
Check The Materials Used
When manufacturers create a product, many do it with planned obsolescence in mind. This means that they set the product up to fail. One way to do this is to bring out newer models each year, and another of the most common ways is to use sub-standard materials. You can get a cheap deal, but you are probably going to be replacing the product in the near future.
Before you buy a product, check which materials have been used to create it. It may be more expensive to buy a glass container than a plastic one but the glass one is going to last a lot longer (as long as you do not drop it), is more sanitary in the long run, and can be recycled easily when it comes to the end of its life.
The design is also important. I like to think that simplicity is best. There is a reason why simple designs work. Take a look at the humble can opener. I started with a simple design, and it worked. Over time, I upgraded to the fancier models and electric ones. Over time, there was a slight increase in convenience, and then that would all be washed away when a problem developed.
Look for high-quality materials and simple design, and you are on your way to a “buy it for life” product.
At Durability Matters, we are big believers in spending more money initially to save yourself money in the long run. If a product seems too good to be true, then it is probably not a BIFL product. Retailers draw you in with cheap products which you need to buy again and again.
It was not long ago that people would buy a razor with one blade and replace that blade after multiple sharpenings. They spent money at the outset and saved money in the long run. Now, in the name of convenience, we have razor heads with five blades which are replaced before the month is out. There are even clubs which encourage signing up to receive products on a monthly basis.
Now, when we look back on those who use simple razors, was that a time where people were not cleanly shaven? Do we now have less hair on our faces? Or do we benefit from slightly more convenience? If we return to the old days, we only need to spend our money once and benefit from the longevity of a product.
Talk To People With Experience
Most people like to recommend the products which they have bought, and you can get some bias here, but it does give you the chance to ask about real-life experiences. Are you looking to buy a vacuum? Ask your friends and family what they recommend. Does the product still work? Have they had to repair it or replace it over time? What are their negative opinions about the product? Do they feel the same way after owning it for 2, 5, or 7 years? Would they buy it again? Do they need to buy it again?
You will also gain valuable insight from experts and repair people. Are you buying a vacuum? Talk to an expert or someone who repairs vacuums. If there are products which will last, then they are the ones who will know about them.
Check The Return Policy
There are some companies who are so sure of their products that they offer a lifetime warranty on them. If you want a buy it for life product, then this can extend the life of your product even if it breaks or wears down. If you can return a product when it is broken and receive a new one, then it really is going to last a lifetime.
The great thing about lifetime warranties is that the company has trust in their own product. It can be a hassle to have to return something to be repaired or replaced but, with a lifetime warranty, you have some guarantee that your product is going to last.
When you are buying a product, be sure to read the small print in the contract to know exactly what you are getting. You may need to keep your receipt for the lifetime of the product, and you do not want to leave yourself short if you need to get a replacement.
Reviews Which Go The Extra Mile
Customer reviews are a great place to start, but where do you go if you want to go the extra mile? The answer is consumer reports. Some customer reviews can be biased or come with ridiculous reasons. I saw a bad review for a bicycle once where the shade of the frame did not exactly match the lady’s eye shadow color. I am sure that the review was relevant to her, but it was not exactly helping the masses.
Consumer reviews are reviews by experts and have no bias in there. You will find no strange reasons for a good or bad product. There are set criteria, and all products in a category are weighed against those criteria. Look for trusted reviewers and read everything that they have to say.
BIFL Is Back
There are a lot of ways in which you can find a buy it for life product. If you are willing to spend a little more money at the outset, then you are going to save yourself a lot of money in the long run.
Just think about buying one of the large-ticket items in your life: a vehicle. You could buy a used vehicle and get it cheap, but the repairs and insurance are going to cost a lot in the long run, and you are going to need to replace it after a number of years. If you take the time to research vehicles, budget for a little more, look for high-quality materials and a simple design, ask around, and check consumer reports, then you can find a vehicle which will last you for a long time.
We are slowly moving back to a world where people are purchasing BIFL products instead of disposable and easily-breakable ones. In this disposable world, it is becoming more eco-responsible, and cooler, to buy a product once and never have to buy it again.