Saturday, September 20, 2014

Will you buy a chair for 1.6k?

I read a very interesting article about the comfort principle this morning. It's about optimising your spending in such a way so that you maximise your comfort level. If not taken to the extreme, this provides a very good guide on spending on things that are of value to you, not merely to catch up with or impress others.

Similar to the author in the article, I also spent A LOT of money on a chair. When I renovated my current home, I knew I will be spending a lot of time at home. I'm constantly having back aches from sitting in ill adjusted chairs and because of the long amount of time spent sitting down, the chair gets hot very easily. It's very frustrating when you know you have to do work but you're suffering from back aches and hot butts. Hence, when I saw this awesome chair with mesh netting (to allow ventilation) with lots of adjustments to fit the chair on you, instead of the other way round, I wanted to get it immediately. But the price tag of 1.6k is what held me back.

This is the exact chair that I bought

That was when my wife came in and reasoned with me. This chair will probably last 6 years, probably longer. My previous chairs lasted about that amount of time too (imagine the aches I've to suffer!!). If I spend 8 hours sitting on it per day, it'll be a good 17,500 hours of usage, which works out to be about $0.10 cents per hour. Considering that this is the 3rd year of usage and it's still running strong, I think it can probably last a lot longer than 6 yrs, bringing down the usage cost per hour. Knowing myself, I will probably not buy another chair if this one can last that long.

And so I bought a super duper chair with a price tag of $1.6k. Sounds like a splurge, but I think it's one of the best buy because it's something I use every single day, bringing me a comfort level that I might not have if I've to get a chair which is way cheaper.

This principle is not a good excuse to buy anything because you only live once. The article mentioned that you must also combine it with knowing what is 'good enough'. Also, what is expensive need not necessary be the best, so don't go judging the quality of items with the price tag.

I think to balance this article, I must also mention that while I can spend so much on a chair, I'm loathe to spend on a watch. A watch is functional to me and it must have 3 things - lights, stopwatch, digital time. I can't wear metal watches (It'll be too heavy for me) and the weather is too hot for leather straps (it'll stink when sweat soaks in). That totally leaves me out of luxury watches, which is perfectly fine for me. I recently got a watch for $30 and I'm so very happy with it. So before you say it, I'm not asking everyone to buy everything that your money can afford.

This watch I got it from qoo10 for about $30

Spend crazily on the things that matter, and frugally on the things that don't.


Createwealth8888 said...

When the cost is breakdown into per unit of usage charge then it may not turn out to be costly.

Same like car, during working days, drive to office to park and drive home to park.

High usages happen during weekends and public holidays. Expensive leh!

Anonymous said...

i can empathize with you .

In fact i have been practising this concept of "comfort principle" too for a long time already because of backache too. But my problem is the bed i sleep on not the chair.
i really don't care how cheap or expensive the bed cost. If am going to buy a new bed, the shop must allow me to test sleeping on it until i am satisfied. In the west, they are lucky to have this exchange policy if found the bed not suitable or ideal. Is there a shop that has the same practice here?
And from experience the $2000+ to $3000+ bed i used was not the best though very reputable.
You are right-higher Price doesn't guarantee you will get the most suitability to your needs.
As for watch i have the same take too. In fact i can't have anything on my body for long. i will feel very "uncomfortable".
If i am to buy an expensive watch, it must have good resale value first. Can't help it must always think money in how much money can come out. Ha! Ha!
But i still can't wear it leh.

My 15HWW said...

Hi LP,

I think that's where frugality comes in. By being frugal in other aspects of our life, we can then set aside the sum of money to afford higher quality for the stuff which we value most!

I generally don't hesitate to pay for a better quality item which I use on a daily basis.

Shoes and the bed come immediately to mind. =)

And you are right about the chair. The one I used to sit in at work isn't really fantastic and it would have been something I hope to upgrade.

la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

Ya, agree. For cars, maybe it's that instance of convenience that when makes pple willing to pay. I also have a car, but I use it for work.

Business expenses lol

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

So, have you found your ideal bed yet? haha

For me, ever since I had that chair, I never had back pains anymore. It's really quite good because you can adjust it until it fits your own body curves. Is there cheaper alternatives? Maybe, but I don't want to try it out again. Get it done once and for all and live a life.

Haha, it's good that you think like that lah, it probably saves you from making unwise decisions!

la papillion said...

Hi 15HWW,

Apparently I'm not the only one with back problems with non ergonomic chairs ;)

As I get older, it's more important to have the correct things. The body just can't get used to repetitive stress anymore, I feel.

Sillyinvestor said...

Hi LP,

Ironically, when I first started a home, I bought a 3K bed. I have been sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor since I know when.

I told my wife it's good for the back, and deep inside, a voice call out that I have enough, I should live more comfortably now.

The joke is, I am still sleeping on the floor with the mat. One reason is for my son to sleep higher from the ground because the TCM sinseh says the floor got "Han qi", and I also enjoy the floor more, I can roll around more without worrying falling off, guess the growing up years of rolling around the floor is a habit hard to kick... I sleep on the bunk floor sometimes too during army time.

I seldom buy any clothes for myself, I usually go for the cheaper. I recently splurge on a $80 cloth at Marks and Spencer and I have been wearing it frequently. It looked nice and keep me warm. I never regret it.
In fact, I think I will get clothes from there when new year is near...

Cheng said...

I bought a similar one at v-hive for a fraction of the price (about $400). Made in Korea, similar design as the Human Touch Alpha 80, double-lung backrest etc. I tried them both and both are equally comfortable.

Check it out.

B said...


I saw one of these shops at frasercenterpoint and were tempted to buy. Was it really good? Similarly like you I had a back ache problem as well but will spend mosylt of my time sitting in the office. Wonder if its still worth it?

la papillion said...

Hi sillyinvestor,

This is called jian4 ming4 LOL

But I know exactly what you mean :) It's like you're used to this level of standard so much already, it's hard to change :) That means you 'locked' in that standard of living :)

Good for you!

But hor, I heard sleeping on floor really not too good.

la papillion said...

Hi Cheng,

Yup, I think I saw it before. I bought it way before this korea one came out. Believe me, I tried to save myself money by trying those imitation ones, but cannot make it. Hmm, maybe if I see this model I'll try again.

Can at least recommend to people who had back problems :) Thanks for the intro!

la papillion said...

Hi B,

Not sure whether it'll solve your back problems, but it did solve mine. I think my back problem comes from ill fitted chair and with a properly adjustable one that fits my body shape, my back pain is gone. To me, that is very very worth it!

You might want to try it out. But it's really a leap of faith, because you can't really tell by sitting on it for a while whether it'll remove back pain. You've got to sit for long periods of time.

Teenage Investor said...

Wow! 1.6K is expensive! It's worth it though when you phrase it like that haha

Rolf Suey said...

Hi LP,

Totally agree that if you buy something expensive, you must use it more often to make its "depreciation per day" cheaper!

My best ever investment is LASIK for my eyes 10 years ago. I use it everyday now as long as my eyes are opened! LOL

I also got a bed more than 4 years ago for over 3k. No regrets and still enjoy sleeping on it each night!

My wife has expensive handbag and keep in the cupboard and only use few times per year. I told her to use it more often! She now understands!

Your chair is definitely not expensive for you! :)


la papillion said...

Hi Rolf,

Haha, I'll keep my specs for now ;) Adds a touch of scholarly wisdom for my image lol

Some people, once they bought something precious and expensive, will use it sparingly...nah, not me :)