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Avoid the Top

Avoid the temptation to buy a top-of-the-line model unless you have money to burn. In almost all categories of merchandise, the difference between the top of the line, and middle is not all that great in terms of features and quality, but very noticeable in price.  Lets look at some examples: A digital camera for $250 has the same features as the $600 model. It takes fine pictures and is very reliable. It may have half again more megapixels, a very insignificant difference. If you can take an award-winning picture with the $600 camera, you can take the same picture just as well with the $250 one.

How about bicycles? Middle of the line is reasonably lightweight and reliable and costs $400. Top of the line at $3,000 is a pound lighter and actually less reliable. In fact, you may find replacement parts for the less-common top of the line machine are hard to get. Will you notice the reduced weight? Not unless you are a serious bike racer. And even if you are a racer, you may not notice the difference. I know of one racer who screwed toe clips into the rubber pedals of a 38-pound three-speed bike, and won a ten-mile time trial with it just to prove this point.

Cars? Same thing. Can a Rolls Royce pick up groceries any better than a Toyota? However, for the Toyota it is easier to get parts and service.

Stereo equipment: I have a friend who has millions of dollars. He could afford anything he wants, so his sound system cost $20,000. Interestingly, I thought the treble was a bit mushy. In any case, it didn’t sound any better than my $600 system.

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