Respect the tools you use, buy the best you can afford

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade.

Photo via Unsplash

A gentleman buys the best tools he can afford. He doesn’t scrimp on tools that allows him to ply his trade. He will not purchase something that is of a lesser quality and sacrifice usability because he respects the tools he uses.

A prime example is a computer. In today’s age, if you are a knowledge worker, chances are you work from a computer. Do you use a subpar computer that is slow and clunky? Do you find yourself needing a more powerful computer? A computer allows the knowledge worker to ply his trade, which in turn generates income. Therefore shouldn’t a knowledge worker use the best computer they can afford since it’s an income generating machine?

I have been thinking about big ticket expenses. How do I calculate their value? There are material items, tools, and experience. I’m not going into investment. Here’s how I see it:

  • Material items: Makes me look nice and presentable
  • Tools: Makes my life easier, tools of my trade
  • Experience: Makes my life interesting and worth living

Experience is considered the most expensive, because once you live it, there’s no reliving the same experience anymore. Yes you could document it with photos and videos, but some moments are best in real life. For example, take a one week modest travel, it may cost between USD$500-1500. As compared to a computer that may cost USD$1500. If well taken care of, it could last 5yrs, and it will cost you $1500/5/12/4=$6.25/week. Or a luxury item that you only use 5 times a year, the cost of using the item increases the lesser you use it. (Side note: It boggles my mind to see people wasting real life experience away by being on their phones all the time.)

My logic has a lot of flaws, mainly because certain big ticket expenses have got good reasons, economic reasons is not the only biggest factor. For example, purchasing a luxury watch if you’re a salesman signifies you’re doing well, that brings tremendous ROI.

Coming back to tools, I also try to get a tool that only do one thing well, rather than mediocre on many things. Multi-tools are usually subpar quality products jumbled up and sold at a premium price. It appears to have ‘a lot’ of functions you can use to justify the ‘value’ it brings.



Like a sushi chef, the knife is his tool of the trade, it forms the whole of his work. As should we, respecting the tools of our trade.

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