Should we ‘buy it for life’?

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Buy It For Life is a trend of buying good-quality, long-lasting products that never need to be replaced. But is it worth it? And can it actually save you money?

What is ‘buy it for life’?

In simple terms, Buy It For Life’ (BIFL) is about buying things once. Instead of buying cheaper items that don’t last, BIFL encourages you to buy less, but to buy better. 

Instead of an affordable kettle that might last a few years, buy a top of the range one that will last decades. Instead of getting a new coat every winter, buy one high-quality jacket that will last a lifetime. At least, that’s the theory.

Popularity of Buy It For Life

The BIFL idea has grown in popularity, with people taking to social media to share their longest lasting products, recommend brands that stand the test of time and post in an active BIFL subreddit with over 1.9 million members.

Does it actually save you money?

Buying less will of course save you money in the long-term. But that doesn’t guarantee BIFL will always work. 

There’s a chance you’ll spend big on an item that’s supposed to last forever, only to find it still needs replacing. There’s also a worry that brands will try to cash in on the trend, promising longevity its products can’t match.


Save money in the long term

Lifetime products may cost more at first, but if you pick the right ones, it could mean that you save money.

Helps the environment

65% of UK consumers worry about how their purchases affect the environment. Buying fewer products, and picking ones that last a long time, can help reduce your impact on the planet. This is because the demand for cheaper products that don’t last long may go down.
Low cost electronics that have to be thrown away after a few years can have a serious impact, leaving harmful chemicals behind.
To save could go a step further, try buying second-hand lifetime products, from places like eBay or Vinted.


Limited options

It may not be possible to buy lifetime products for every part of your life.

Higher initial cost

The higher upfront cost of products might not work for everyone’s budget. So, even if you like the idea of BIFL, it may not be feasible to spend big on products in the short term. 

Can encourage overspending

The ‘buy it for life’ approach may encourage you to overspend. If you only buy on high-end products, but get a lot of them on a regular basis, you may end up spending more. There’s also a chance you’ll pay a lot for well-known brands, when there are cheaper options of good or equal quality.

What items should I “buy for life”?

When shopping for long-lasting goods, think about those items that you’ll always need. A good winter coat, a bed, an item of furniture that you use every day – this is where you’ll get the most value.

Items you might buy for life include:
Kitchen items e.g. food containers, cast iron pans and tableware
Garden tools 
Hiking or camping gear
Electronics – camera, vacuum cleaner, laptop
Clothing – jackets, wardrobe staples
Shoes – walking boots, snowshoes, wellies

The verdict

How you spend your money is up to you! While investing in long lasting products can offer benefits, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. For some people, BIFL may be worth the initial cost. For others, owning the same items forever may not be as appealing.

Whatever you decide, buying out of season, understanding your spending habits and avoiding impulse buys could help you to build a strong savings habit.
The content on this page is for reference and is not financial advice.
For impartial financial advice, try MoneyHelper.