Compare So That You Have Some to Spare

Remember Goldilocks? The sweet little girl who tried all the options before deciding which chair to sit in, which porridge to eat or which bed to sleep in? Thanks to her taking the time to check all the available options, she always found the perfect chair, porridge or bed.

Wish all of us could be this smart while choosing what to take or buy. Well we can be! All it takes is a little patience and some practice.

We just have to begin by deciding whether we want to get the best value for our money, buy what we really need or just settle for the first available option. The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

Here is a comparison cheat sheet that you can use while buying something:

S.No. Factor to Consider Consideration Check If Done
1. What are the options available? Books, sports goods, clothes, food, toys, video games, etc. What do you need more?
2. Quality and cost Which one is more important for you?
3. Quantity 50 gm for ₹ 8 or 100 gm for ₹ 15?
4. In-store or online Where will you get it cheaper? More trustworthy? What about after-sales service?
5. Recurring expenses Is a battery operatedcar better than the self-charging car that costs a little more?
6. Sale or regular price Is the item likely to be available cheaper during a sale? Can you wait?
7. Reviews Has anyone you know used the items(s)? How was the feedback?
8. Value for money What are you getting compared to what you are paying for it?
9. Impact on your health Should you buy a big pack of chips just because it is cheaper?

Pause to Ponder:

  • According to a 2014 study by Tufts University on the cost of cash in India, cash operations cost the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and commercial banks about ₹21,000 crore annually.
  • With the increase in digital transactions, cost of cash will reduce and this is expected to help us save ₹ 4.7 trillion between the years 2015 and 2025.
  • Word of caution: Internet security experts warn caution as India takes the cashless route, because this can be a big opportunity for cyber criminals to attack. This also presents an opportunity for growth in professions in areas like Cyber Security.
  • Caution: There is one form of comparison you must avoid or it will steal your joy. Unfortunately this is also the most common form of comparison. It is comparing what you have with what your friends may have.

The idioms ‘everything that shines isn’t gold’ or ‘look before you leap’ advise us not to go by first impressions, but stop to think about our decisions, weigh the pros and cons and then decide. And the phrase ‘spoilt for choice’ highlights the difficulty you face. There is always so much to choose from!

Pause to Ponder: What do you think ‘like a child in a candy store’ means?

In the beginning of human civilisation, when there was no money, comparison formed the basis of all trade. People traded items which had a practical value, such as food items (e.g., cattle, fish), decorative items (e.g., gold, shells), apparel (e.g., furs, cloth), tools, weapons, etc. This was called Barter trade. It was based on simple comparison of the value of what one was getting to what one was giving.
This comparison is still extremely relevant. This is what we call getting ‘value for money’.
Weigh all the alternatives carefully before making a purchase decision.
Do this every time. However big or small the purchase may be. This is how habits are formed.
Don’t buy something you don’t need just because someone else has it. Compareproducts in the market, not individual collections.
‘Value for money’ should be the guiding mantra.



  1. Print the cheat sheet and use it every time you buy something.
  2. After using the sheet a few times you will be able to compare your purchase even without the list.
  3. Remember always compare before you buy anything.
  1. Why don’t you try barter trade?
  2. Do you have something you don’t need anymore? Say a book you have read or a toy you have grown bored of? Your friends must also have some things they’d be happy to part with.
  3. You may exchange such item(s) with your friends. Base the exchange on the perceived value of the item for you.
  4. This is Barter Trade.

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