Buying a “Waffle Maker”

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, I went on a road trip with my wife, dad and stepmother to Virginia.  There was no real point to the trip, other than going somewhere we’d never been.  After a couple thousand kilometers of driving, we saw some amazing views along the Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park (I felt like I was rally car racing).  Thanks to the GPS directions, we also got to see a lot of the Apalachian foothills, where we saw some really interesting small towns on the way home.  Along the way, we had some interesting conversations (20 hours in the car does that) – one of these conversations focused on my distaste of my waffle maker.

My wife and I bought a waffle maker a few years ago, for the 2 or 3 times per year that we had waffles (and real maple syrup which is the only way to go).  In our haste to buy a waffle maker, we went with the cheapest one we could find.  The problem with purchases like this is that my buyer’s remorse is going to last forever because the waffle maker won’t break and it doesn’t make sense to buy a new one….so we’re stuck with a waffle maker that just makes “okay” waffles (if that isn’t a real problem, I just don’t know what is).

Similarly, a few months ago I was looking for a circular saw.  I was talking over two saws with the sales guy and he said that I could save 40% buying the cheaper one, but I would probably regret my purchase every time I used it because it definitely feels like it cost 40% less.

In retirement, the benefit of having bought higher quality goods along the way, whether it’s tools or furniture or other stuff I’ve collected means less need for buying these kind of things.  Additionally, a quick (non-scientific) review of Kijiji shows the stuff that I’ve bought so far, has a fairly good resale value, if people pay anywhere near what the stuff is listed at.

My savings rate is fairly high, meaning I don’t have a ton of money to spend and still stay on course to meet my retirement goals.  I have tried to make sure I am spending it more efficiently, and buying less crappy waffle makers and more good saws.

Have you ever bought a “waffle maker” item and regretted it?  Would you just trade it in, give it away, or throw it out to replace it (one of these would probably be smarter than scowling at an unwanted waffle maker when I find it buried in the back of a cupboard).

8 thoughts on “Buying a “Waffle Maker””

  1. It takes a lot of stuff in the landfill before we figure out that quality pays for itself over and over. My Dad was a building contractor, and his tools saw a lot of use, but when he gave me his 20 yr old Makita skill saw last year, it might as well have been new in comparison to the piece of crap that I tossed in the garbage pile that same day. I spent years buying “crappy waffle irons” because they were cheap and within my means, and I still make mistakes, but I’m getting better. Every “waffle iron” teaches me a lesson. That is, throw it out, buy a good one, and keep it forever. Or just learn to live without waffles and make pancakes instead……

  2. I completely agree. It takes a while for most of us to figure out that fewer, but better quality things bring more enjoyment than a house full of consumer junk.

  3. As a frugal (not cheap!) person, it took me some time to realize quality products are actually cheaper than discount products over the life cycle of the item. And more environmentally friendly. Live and learn these things over time.

  4. My “Waffle Maker” was shoes. When I was younger, knowing that I wore shoes out quickly, I’d buy a cheap pair of heels or boots, wear them out and replace them 3 months later. As I got older, I started noticing some days my ankle, knee and hip joints would start to ache part way through the day.
    I started buying better quality shoes. They lasted longer, could be repaired, and I stopped aching at the end of the day.

  5. On the other hand, when my daughter was young and wanted to start a new interest, I would knowingly buy the cheaper equipment. If she was still interested by the time it broke or wore out, I would replace it with quality equipment at that point.

  6. @ Bill… Yeah, his life could be so much more awesome if he spent his time being an Internet bully *eye roll*

    I lucked in to an awesome waffle iron at Value Village. It was pretty heavy, so I reasoned that it would distribute heat well. As a bonus, nothing sticks to it even without grease.

    Sometimes the price of an item does not reflect its quality. I find even quality brands are becoming less reliable. I love being able to read customer reviews before purchasing an item. Knowledge, ultimately, is the best tool for scoring a good deal.

  7. We often end up buying a model or two better than the ‘cheapest’. It’s good to consider the cost per use as well – if you use it often then it’s worth getting a better quality item.

    Given how often you use the waffle maker, I’m sure you’ll be fine, even though it doesn’t make ‘perfect’ waffles.

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