When We Knowingly “Overpay”

View from the bike bridge, one of my favorite parts of my commute

View from the bike bridge, one of my favorite parts of my commute

In general, Mr PoP and I are fairly frugal people. We’re no extreme couponers, but we definitely keep an eye on our spending and try to make sure that we’re getting a good value for the money that we do spend.

Because of that, you might be surprised that we recently just knowingly overspent on a purchase of about $110. We walked into the local bike shop and were not our typical shopping selves. Instead of researching all of our purchases online and aiming to get the best possible deal, we went in and said things like, “We want the complete solution” and “Can I buy another one of those, too?”

What Happened? My First Bike Flat

Last week, on my bike ride to work, I got my first flat tire ever. Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Luckily the flat happened when I was just a little more than a mile from my office (my commute is 9 miles, so this was a good place for it to happen), and I just walked my bike the rest of the way to work on the sidewalk. Heck, I usually get to work about an hour before the rest of the office, so I didn’t even arrive “late” by most standards.

Fixing it wasn’t even that big of a deal. One of my coworkers who is a pretty hardcore rider on the weekends showed me how to get my tire off. It was the rear tire, so I was nervous about the chain. Then on the way to the gym with a colleague at lunch, we dropped my tire off at the local bike shop. It was fixed and ready for pickup by the end of our workout, and $21 later I had a tire ready for action again.

All in all, the flat and the repair went as smooth as possible. I really can’t complain. But it was a bit of a wakeup call that life can and will happen at inconvenient times, so…


We Purchased a Flat Kit

This last weekend we went into the local bike shop (even knowing we were already over the “shopping budget” for the month) and went nuts. We bought:

  • A seat bag – I call it a “butt wedge”, a small pouch that you mount under your seat to store things like spare tubes and supplies
  • Tire levers – to help remove a flat tire from the rim
  • Two spare tubes for my bike
  • A spare roll of rim tape since a hole in my rim tape was the cause of my flat earlier in the week
  • A small hand pump with a built in pressure gauge that mounts on the bike (though this will be exchanged and a pricier CO2 cartridge model will probably be purchased)

We didn’t even look at the prices when we were picking things out. These items, along with the repair earlier in the week meant we spent about $110 at the local bike shop, mostly on supplies that we no doubt could have found online, had shipped (probably even free of charge) to our front door and spent a lot less.


So Why Didn’t We Go For Value?

On the surface it looks like we totally ignored our priority of getting the best value out of our dollars. After all, we could have spent less and gotten the exact same products.

The bike bridge.  A huge improvement over how it was before!

The bike bridge. A huge improvement over how it was before!

But there was something intangible about our purchase as well. We supported our local bike shop, a shop we know in turn supports the local biking community. They offer free clinics (I’ll be attending one on fixing a flat in a couple weeks!), and are huge advocates of cycling safety and awareness in our area.

In fact, one of the reasons that the route I use to commute to work on my bike is so pleasant is because of the work of the local cycling community. When a bridge was being redone along this route just a few years ago, the cycling community was very active in advocating for additional biking space on the bridge. As a result, the bike bridge is awesome. It’s safe and a seamless way to negotiate that area on a bike without worrying about cars. I’ve been enjoying it about 10x per week since I started riding again and I hope to continue enjoying and appreciating it for years to come.

They’re continuing this bike advocacy all the time, and now I’m noticing that all the newer construction that is being completed has nice wide cycling lanes compared to some of the older roads with skinny and/or non-existent cycling lanes.

We look at “overpaying” for bike supplies from these local shops as a way to keep supporting a priority we care about and appreciate. And that adds to the intangible value in our book. Same goes for “overpaying” at:

  • local running shops (I try to only buy shoes online when what I want isn’t available locally)
  • local music shops (could we bulk buy Mr PoP’s guitar strings for less online? Probably)
  • local restaurants (not chains!)

There’s a noticeable price premium we pay to bring our business to these local enterprises, especially when you start looking at “no tax” options (which shouldn’t really be no tax) by buying from retailers in other states. But we really do look at it as a way to help ensure the things we care about stay in our community. It’s our way of “voting with our dollars”.


I’m sure we’re not the only ones that do this.  So where do you “overpay” intentionally?

62 comments to When We Knowingly “Overpay”

  • Changing a tire is really easy and a must have skill if you bike often. I have started to overpay at the local store to make one more friend in the village, and often overpay when the item I need is placed right in front of me, like those people selling fruit by the side of the road will save me a trip to the supermarket so I buy from them.
    Pauline recently posted..Make money with a senior concierge serviceMy Profile

    • I followed a you tube video to change a flat and practiced once, but I still want to take the flat clinic once, too! Just in case they can show me something that would make it even easier on my own tire.

  • It’s not been until recently that I was a supporter of locally owned shops. All purchases were based on price. I now will choose local over price every time. As you said, the intangibles outweigh the additional cost.
    Taynia @ The Fiscal Flamingo recently posted..Three Ways An Organized Closet Will Save You Money (Without Selling Your Clothes)My Profile

  • I don’t overpay for any services or local restaurants, but I definitely overpay when it comes to workout gear. I buy majority of my workout stuff from Lululemon, which is obviously overpriced, but I have my reasons: the clothes fit me well (I’m petite, but more muscular in certain areas),they last long, the company supports independent fitness studios and promotes them and they promote health and wellness.
    MakintheBacon recently posted..Random Observations and Rants About CostcoMy Profile

  • I can definitely identify. I pay more for car insurance because I know the company provides great service and I can 100% depend on them. I’ve done similar for other services, such as car repairs (though I’m try to learn how to do more of those myself). I think there’s absolutely value in paying more when you know you’re either supporting something that matters to you or getting a service you know is high quality.
    Matt Becker recently posted..You Have to Allow Failure in Order to Promote GrowthMy Profile

  • Yes, there are definitely businesses that I patronize despite the fact that they don’t have the lowest prices. I try to shop locally when I can and when it’s feasible. If we don’t, the world is going to turn into one giant Walmart!!!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..A Career in Sales Isn’t for EveryoneMy Profile

  • It sounds like you’re really turning into a hardcore biker with all that gear. I swallow the higher costs at my local running store as well as my local book shop. Amazon beats their prices every time, but you’ve gotta support local book stores!
    CashRebel recently posted..The most expensive meal I’ve ever eatenMy Profile

    • I don’t know about hardcore, but definitely persistent. Runkeeper just notified me today that I broke my previous record for time spent biking in a month this morning. 25 hours so far in August!

  • I buy nice bikes and tools. Bikes keep me healthy and what is more important than health? A heavy, Walmart bike would seriously cramp my mountain rides. I rely on good tools for all of my home improvement adventures and don’t want them to fail or do a crappy job.

    These are for the most part, one-time purchases. I’m not sure if I’ll ever buy another bike and good tools should last a long, long time.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Side Hustle Spotlight: Flipping Furniture with A Young ProMy Profile

    • Totally agree that high quality is important for the bikes, but I’m not sure the tire levers and butt wedge I bought are really that much better that I wouldn’t have been satisfied with a lesser brand. Some things are just commodities, right?

      • You probably would have been OK with the cheaper stuff found on nashbar.com. However, it’s cool that you’re supporting the local economy. I don’t think that saving money trumps everything. If you can support a local business and keep some dollars in your own ‘hood, that is a good thing.
        Mr. 1500 recently posted..Thursday Rant: Crazy People, Birds and FishMy Profile

  • I like to support local businesses, and we will pay more to do so. The service is almost always better.
    Michelle recently posted..Is A House Right For You?My Profile

  • Great post…I have to admit, I intentionally overpay in some cases like the one you mention, to support local companies. Thanks for the great read!
    Joshua Rodriguez recently posted..I’ve Finally Started To Invest…Off To Betterment!My Profile

  • When local shops actually have what we want/need, and when they have customer service that saves us time and gets us a better outcome. That does not happen as often as we would like!
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Where do you get academic mentoring?My Profile

  • Ivy

    What do you do when the price is double what you could get elsewhere? I have this dilemma with bookstores. I like browsing in a bookstore, if they have a coffee shop I always get a coffee or something to eat (not exactly sure who benefits from this but I hope the store gets something). But if I check the book prices against Amazon, they are pretty much always double. That’s an overpayment I can’t really justify.

    • We try not to compare when it comes to books, and luckily we buy so few (fabulous local library), that it’s not a frequent occurrence. But for bike stuff, we try not to look up the prices online. We just buy local as long as it’s not breaking the bank.

  • We overpay for local services and also for convenience. Sometimes the time and effort to research a purchase just isn’t worth the savings. If it’s a product we like and the price seems fair, we’ll often pay it.
    Julie @ The Family CEO recently posted..Investing Fun Money: Coca-Cola, Walmart, McDonald’s and More – 2 Years LaterMy Profile

  • Love that you support local businesses, I feel the same way! My faves are mom and pop restaurants since not only do you get quality service, but more home-cooked feel meals. Great post!
    anna recently posted..August Goals Recap (and Dress Peek!)My Profile

  • Glad to hear that the flat tire didn’t cause too much of an issue for you! I don’t blame you for wanting to prepare for the possibility of it happening again. That is a really nice bike lane in the picture, and it’s really neat that there is such a biking community around advocating for that. I have to say I don’t really overspend on purpose; sadly, there aren’t too many local business around that I would take advantage of, but we do try to eat at local restaurants.
    E.M. recently posted..What Our Day Trip Cost UsMy Profile

  • I think it’s totally worth it to overpay at local shops to support small business owners – especially if they’re doing great things for the community, which ultimately benefits you!
    Lisa E. recently posted..Weekend Recap: An Ode to ChuckMy Profile

  • I like to support local businesses as well. I probably don’t “save” on stuff like good quality items. For instance my “bike” would be good quality sunglasses. Not many people pay $160 for Oakley’s but they are great and they don’t hurt my face and head like the cheap ones do. So stuff like that.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Taking Risks: Failure has taught me as much as successMy Profile

  • I really like having the saddle bag on the back of my bike. It has been a life saver on numerous occasions. I would definitely recommend the CO2 cartridges. They are a lot easier to work with than slowly hand pumping up the tire if you happen to get a flat.
    Micro recently posted..Would you move to find work?My Profile

  • Yes, definitely! We paid about $2k for our bedroom set (bed, 2 nightstands, dresser/mirror). But it’s locally made, solid wood, dovetailed, and handmade. We’ll be sleeping on that same set for the rest of our days :)

    The flat tire class sounds like a great idea. Hopefully you won’t have to fix any flat tires for a while!
    Amanda @ the giraffe life recently posted..Cooler weather = cat in my lapMy Profile

  • I love supporting local businesses like that. The price may be a little more but you are also buying that small business environment that makes the city unique and interesting.

    That is why I moved to the town I live in, and I often times buy stuff that is way to expensive just to support my town and have a vote in what it should look like.
    Levi Blackman recently posted..When is the best time to buy a Washer and Dryer?My Profile

  • Debi

    After years of wasting money replacing couches that are made with inferior materials, who knows where, I just spent big bucks on a custom, Amish made, sectional made about 80 miles from where I live. This should be the last couch I ever need to buy and I feel good that I supported a fairly local business.

  • I think supporting your local shops is a great thing to do and that in itself is worth the odd overpay on items here and there. I tend not to overpay on anything at the moment but that’s just because everything is going towards the debts. My hobbies are felt making, knitting and jewellery making and in the past I have always bought from local shops rather than online because I’d rather support the local trade. Now though, my hobbies are taking a back seat for the time being. :)
    debtfreeoneday recently posted..August Debt Total UpdateMy Profile

  • I loved cycling when I was really active with it. And like you, I went through a local bike shop for almost everything. Sometimes the smartest financial decision isn’t always the most obvious one and this is one of those examples. Your business offers free cycling clinics; they support the cycling community that lobbied for a biking space on the bridge; and, no doubt, other things that making cycling possible for you.

    I know these aren’t the reasons you buy from them but sometimes frugal means the bigger picture – not the bigger, and cheaper, box store.
    Lindsey @ Sense & Sensibility recently posted..Financial Vertigo: Making Better Choices with Fewer OptionsMy Profile

  • Meg

    “Local and small” tends to be cheapest in my neighborhood, so it makes sense to shop there. Why would I go to Applebee’s when I can get amazing Shanghainese food for less?

    My main hobbies are books and knitting, and both cultures have a strong ethos of buying local. I personally haven’t found the value in local bookstores and yarn stores, so I tend to shop online. I know some people really gain value from their local yarn stores, so they make a point to shop there, but I’m a self-taught knitter and they’ve never really been a part of my experience.
    Meg recently posted..The USDA Thrifty Food PlanMy Profile

  • Supporting local shops is so important. People complain that they are all run out of business. Well, if you would have shopped there instead of Walmart maybe they wouldn’t be!

    We don’t really shop much, but we eat at local restaurants. The food is way better and it’s worth the premium to keep cool places around. We also recently bought a locally made mattress from a local shop. We got a great deal on it AND we were able to support the local economy :).
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted..I’m Sick of Paying Off DebtMy Profile

  • […] Our Pennies – When We knowingly “Overpay” A look at why paying more at your local shops can provide other tangible benefits to your […]

  • Actually I just posted an article about this issue.

    I’m going to be making a much more conscious effort to support local and small business for my regular shopping – I’m a small business owner myself. I got out of the habit of going to the farmers market and locally owned health stores in favour of big-box supermarkets, but like you I’d rather see those dollars remain in the community.
    Nell @ The Million Dollar Diva recently posted..Does Your Spending Match Your Priorities?My Profile

  • Debbie

    Every Monday & Friday I pick up bagels for some of the people at work. I always buy my cream cheese at the bagel shop even though it costs more than I would pay at the grocer’s at the other end of the shopping center. I’ve been buying at the bagel shop for more than 20 years and hope to shop there for another 20.

    Recently a potter opened his shop about 4 miles from me. I’ve already purchased a bowl for a gift, a coffee mug for myself and custom ordered a yarn bowl for myself. For this coming Christmas I’ve commissioned him to make four drinking glasses, one for each of my adult children. I’m frugal enough in other areas that I have the extra money for this kind of extravagance.

  • I’d be more inclined if there was a local/personal connection. You know?

    Also, some things you just want to be able to see/try in person first, even if they’re cheaper online.
    eemusings recently posted..What I’ll miss about travelling – and what I can’t wait to leave behind…My Profile

  • I own a local business, so I hope everyone shops there. If there were no local businesses, no one would sponsor soccer teams, or the drama club trip to Ireland, or support local charity events. That being said, local businesses have to make up for their prices by offering excellent service. If you act like you could care less about the customer, they might as well go to WalMart. That’s a point I try to stress to my employees all the time.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Can You Recognize a Scam?My Profile

  • I always over pay for local businesses that have great customer service. However there is a price point I won’t exceed.
    I agree that good furniture is worth the money.
    charles@gettingarichlife recently posted..Complaints From A Negative Net Worth 47 Year OldMy Profile

  • […] PoPs knowingly overpaid for a bike part. I love that you ride to […]

  • CF

    I overpay every time I get my hair done. I know that I can get a free haircut pretty easily and I can pay about half of what I do for a decent cut and colour. But, I want to support my stylist and his salon. He does amazing work on my hair and I really don’t mind paying him a premium for good work.
    CF recently posted..Remembering to take care of yourselfMy Profile

  • Like CF, I overpay when I get a haircut. I appreciate the hardwork that my barber does, and it just good to know that you’re helping someone else out.
    Troy recently posted..How to Determine What Market to TradeMy Profile

  • […] When We Knowingly “Over Pay” at Planting Our Pennies. As a small business owner, I hope you over pay. […]

  • I’m pretty sure we just overpaid (a little bit) on our washer and dryer — I think I could have saved $100 or so by going to Lowe’s instead of the local appliance shop. But they delivered it a day and a half later, they do a year of free service calls (mostly manufacturer’s warranty, but they also eat some costs), and the owner was super helpful in helping me find the right machine for our awkward spot for machines.

    Plus, they said they would likely fix our old machine and sell it used, thus keeping a (mostly) good machine out of the landfill.

    Like you, we like to support our local businesses to support our town in general.
    Leah recently posted..Little Bathroom TrickMy Profile

  • I usually overpay when I get good service like when I have my hair done or have a body massage. This is my way of crediting a good service.
    Alexis Marlons recently posted..Help with Setting up a BusinessMy Profile

  • I am confused why you would pay $21 to fix a flat tire. I normally just buy a new tube for like $5.

    That is something I overpay for by the way. I know how to fix a flat because I fixed dozens when I was a kid, but I just don’t bother anymore. I could fix one, but it would take me about 30 minutes to do. I just pay the $5 and get a new one every time. I feel just a little bit bad about it.
    Andy@artofbeingcheap recently posted..Above ground tanksMy Profile

  • […] seem to like it when we knowingly overpay, like Eyes on the Dollar in her School Supplies Roundup, Budget Blonde in Writing Wrap Up, and […]

  • I like this post and the comments.

    All too often, we just think about the cost of a product. The numbers that are written down. However, its the value which is the important thing. If the product is better quality, or provides us better service or a more enjoyable experience, its worth more and we should pay more.

    If it makes someone else happy, which in turn makes us happy, we are receiving both the product and the happiness, and we should in turn be willing to pay for the smile!
    moneystepper.com recently posted..Personal Finance Podcasts – A review of business, finance & investing podcastsMy Profile

  • david

    really like your blog– great sense (common) and wonderful sense of humor and writing

    dont know if youve heard of them but I have been using them for decades : “Mr Tuffy”– they are a think gummy spool of rubber that is rolled out between the tube and tire and helps prevent flats. I swear by them and they last forever, look into it

  • Alan

    For everybody willing to overpay to support the local economy, why not extend this to Buy Made in America? It makes the same sense as buying local, except on a national scale. And in some cases, you won’t even pay.