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Do you choose quality over quantity?
Do you consider yourself a person that chooses quality over quantity? If you’re not sure, just look around you.
Maybe you see an uncluttered space with a few meaningful possessions. Or, you’ll look around and possibly feel a sense of disorder as you notice stacks of books, piles of clothes, or a collection of dust-covered trinkets.
It’s easy to recognize the person who follows a quality over quantity philosophy, because it reflects in their surroundings.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate spending more on something that will last, rather than going for the cheapest option. I’ve learned that buying one quality, higher-cost purchase is better in the long run than having to buy multiple, lower-cost replacements.
Sounds logical, right? And, yet, many people get stuck on paying the lowest price.
However, it’s not just about possessions. It’s also a mindset that permeates every area of an intentional life.
From possessions to hobbies to relationships, the quality vs quantity philosophy can simplify your life and help you make better decisions.
In this post, we’ll go over what the quality over quantity mindset and lifestyle means, what it looks like, its benefits, and how you can practice it in your own life. You’ll learn how the quality over quantity concept can create a high-quality life and help you discover what you really value.
What does quality over quantity mean?
The meaning of the phrase “quality over quantity” seems self-explanatory. However, when we take a closer look, it’s much deeper than what we see on the surface.
Typically, we apply this idea to things we can buy. When someone uses this principle with their spending habits, it simply means that a person is willing to spend more on one higher-cost, quality item than make a cheaper purchase that will need to be replaced sooner.
It could also mean that someone is content with one high-quality item and doesn’t need 5 less expensive ones. It’s the “value over volume” outlook. This could pertain to a person’s wardrobe, electronics, gadgets, tools, etc.
However, the quality over quantity mentality can also be applied to other areas of daily living. Here are a few examples:
- Believing that having a few close friendships is more satisfying than many acquaintances.
- Thinking that being an expert in one or two skills is better than being adequate at several.
- Understanding that you can spend less time doing a job and achieve better results than using up more time.
- Filling up on smaller portions of nutrient-dense foods rather than filling up on junk food that is less filling
Each of these beliefs leads to more meaningful, fulfilling, and intentional living.
And, although the concept is often associated with the minimalist life, you don’t have to practice minimalism to appreciate this principle. However, your life will likely be much simpler when you carry out this principle in your everyday decisions.
This philosophy also doesn’t mean you have to spend more money to have higher quality. It just means that you’re more intentional with spending your dollars on purchases that are meaningful and well-made.
Is quality better than quantity?
For most people, life experience is the only way to learn if choosing quality vs quantity is better.
As a young person, it’s easy to believe that having more is a symbol of success. You spend your money on acquiring a lot of stuff because you think it will bring satisfaction in life. Or, you build a busy social life thinking it will be fulfilling.
As you get older, you realize that a lot of things you invested your time or money in never amounted to anything. You ended up giving most of it away, or you never made any deep relationships.
This is when you understand that quality is better than quantity. You develop a strong grasp of what brings real meaning and joy into your life. And, you care less about keeping up with everyone else’s quest to be the winner with the most.
One way to think about this is imagining your house burning down. What would you want to save? Your family. Your pets. Your heirlooms, perhaps. Maybe your picture albums filled with past memories. It’s because these are the things that increase your quality of life. They are what you truly value.
If you feel like your daily living is too busy and too cluttered, you may be putting quantity over quality. If you’re surrounded with things and people and yet feel unfulfilled, maybe you need to make a change.
Let’s talk about some reasons you should choose a quality-over-quantity mentality, and how you can make that happen.
Why it’s important to choose quality over quantity
There have been many times when I thought more was better. More options, more clothes, more friendships. However, I’ve come to realize that less can actually be more fulfilling – as long I choose wisely.
The key to making wise choices is to know what you truly value. To be aware of what you find real joy in. To fully realize what brings deep meaning into your life.
This is why focusing on quality over quantity is so important – even life-changing. You’ll know exactly what your priorities are. You’ll be focused on what brings real value into your life. You’ll experience more peace, a happier life, and more fulfilling relationships.
If you’re not yet convinced, let me give you a few examples what choosing quality over quantity looks like.
Examples of using the quality over quantity principle
It’s easy to look back on life and identify those quality experiences you had, relationships you made, and purchases you bought. You remember them because they were meaningful to you. They inspired you, made you cry or laugh, or even changed your life.
However, unless you’re purposeful about it, you won’t necessarily think to choose quality over quantity in your future decisions. Perhaps you find it difficult to see how it could apply to many areas of life.
Let me outline a few examples for you, so you can have an idea of how the quality over quantity mindset can be used under a variety of circumstances:
- Paying higher prices for a few quality pieces of clothing, rather than spending money on several pieces of cheaper items
- Purchasing well-made shoes that will last for years, instead of a cheap pair that might last a few months (I’m guilty of this!)
- Eating nutrient-dense foods that will fill you up with less, instead of overeating junk food
- Investing deeply in a few quality friendships, rather than just being a social butterfly with a lot of superficial acquaintances
- Focusing your efforts on mastering one or two skills, as opposed to being a “jack of all trades but master of none”
- Writing an essay that is direct and succinct, instead of using a bunch of “fluff” words that add nothing of value to the content
- Owning one well-written book that you want to read again and again, rather than indulging in a never-ending series of romance novels
- Using a short, high-intensity workout as opposed to spending hours on the treadmill
- Giving your grandkids one or two well-made gifts for Christmas that they’ll cherish into their adult years, rather than buying a bunch of cheap toys they’ll break before next December
- Choosing to buy cheap electronics that need to be replaced often, instead of investing in high-quality items that will last for decades
- Decorating your home with a few meaningful and well-placed mementos, rather than cluttering your shelves with meaningless items you bought on sale
- Instilling in your kids a few principles that help guide their decisions, instead of trying to teach them every right and wrong thing to do
- Trying to change too many things at once in your life, rather than focusing on one successful change at a time
These are all examples that reveal how choosing quality over quantity comes down to prioritizing what you value, and eliminating what you don’t.
This is not always easy, especially if you’ve lived your whole life thinking more is better.
You’d have to be disciplined with how you spend your money. You’d have to cut out activities or relationships that aren’t as fulfilling. These sacrifices might leave you wondering if the benefits outweigh the efforts.
Let me outline 21 reasons why a quality over quantity lifestyle is worth applying to your life.
21 reasons to have a quality over quantity mindset
There are many reasons to choose quality over quantity, and I’ll go over them in this section. Overall, this mindset will help you focus on your values, experience a deeper level of meaning, make more conscious decisions, and simplify your life.
Let’s go over a few reasons why applying the quality vs quantity concept to your finances, relationships, and experiences can actually help you achieve more with less.
1. Quality leads to a more meaningful life
Whether it’s relationships, purchases, or how you decorate your home, choosing to make quality decisions can build deep meaning into your daily living. And, this meaning is forever etched in your mind as lifelong memories.
For example, when you think back on all of the gifts you’ve ever gotten for your birthday or Christmas, there are probably very few that you remember with fondness. Maybe it was a handmade gift, or an item that you used and kept for many years. The rest were probably used or enjoyed for a time, but you don’t remember them because they lacked meaning.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, a woman I barely knew gave me a gift basket. There were several items in the basket, but the only thing I remember is a cute little pink bunny. This is because my daughter, who is now 21, still has that bunny laying on her bed. I rarely bought her a stuffed animal when she was little, because she loved her bunny so much.
2. Quality inspires gratitude
Making quality decisions often requires sacrifice, investment, and thoughtfulness. They are not made lightly or without much consideration. As a result, they foster an appreciation that is uncommon with impulsive decisions.
The intention it takes to make a quality choice will inspire you to be more grateful for what you have. You will value the relationships and the things that you’ve mindfully included in your life, because you know they are at the exclusion of so many other options available.
3. Quality requires intention
As human beings, our natural inclination can be to choose more over better. This means we can make impulsive decisions in order to feel like we have enough.
Choosing quality requires a level of consciousness that allows you to be in control of those impulses. You are no longer driven by emotion, but instead by values.
This all leads to greater intention in your life, and making purposeful decisions that align with your priorities.
4. Quality provides longevity
This is one of the more practical benefits of choosing quality over quantity. Purchases that are well-made will probably have a higher price tag, but you expect them to last longer.
I used to buy particle board furniture and cheap shoes because I didn’t want to spend the extra money for more expensive options. I only focused on paying the lowest price, instead of getting the greatest value.
These days, I will gladly hand over two or three times as much because I’ve learned that quality-made items will serve me well for many years.
The same is true for people. Unfortunately, there are friends that don’t add much to your quality of life. Maybe they’re negative or jealous, and you’re not encouraged when you’re around them. It’s okay to release yourself from these relationships. Focus on those who are quality friends, who are there for you and support you. Those are the quality people that will still be there when you get old.
5. Quality supports sustainability
It’s a fact: quality products made with better materials simply last longer. They are built for longevity and you tend to take care of them better. This means they don’t get thrown away as often and add as much to landfills.
Quality items are usually worth fixing as well. If an expensive watch stops working, the owner is more likely to get it fixed rather than throw it in the trash.
This helps greatly with limiting waste in the environment, which helps to lessen the climate crisis, have a more positive impact on wildlife, and be better for our own health.
6. Quality helps to simplify
When you commit to choosing quality over quantity, you will be content with less. This results in less clutter for your home and less distraction in your life.
You’ll have fewer things to clean and maintain. You’ll have more space around you, which can foster a sense of calm and peace. You’ll be able to make decisions faster because you have fewer choices.
This all creates a simpler life that allows you to focus on those things that truly have value for you.
7. Quality saves time
Building a life on quality choices can actually save you time.
The quality purchases you make will last a long time, saving you the time to go shop for replacements.
Being fully aware of what you value will save you the time it takes to keep looking for new stuff that you think will make you happy.
You’ll spend less time picking an outfit from a few quality pieces as opposed to a closet full of clothes you rarely wear.
Surrounding yourself with a few quality items that you appreciate will save you the time you would spend cleaning and dusting and rearranging a bunch of knickknacks that don’t mean anything.
When you limit yourself to a few quality choices, you save precious time – but you also feel confident in your decisions.
8. Quality saves energy
When your house if filled with a large quantity of items, you spend more energy with cleaning, maintaining, and replacing.
This doesn’t just apply to purchases; it can also ring true for relationships. Low-quality friendships can use up more emotional and mental energy than quality ones.
Making strategic, quality investments will save you the energy of worrying about your retirement.
Having one quality job that you love is better than 3 meaningless jobs that zap all of your energy.
When you make quality decisions, you set yourself up to be able to rely on and enjoy them, which takes a lot less energy than worry or anxiety.
9. Quality saves money
You may feel a pinch in your wallet when you pay twice as much for those new work shoes. But, in the long run, that purchase will save you more money than buying the cheap pair.
This can be a tough principle for some to accept, because the price becomes the deciding factor. But, if you think of your spending decisions in terms of total cost, you’ll see that paying a little more will serve you better.
Cheap shoes wear out faster, not to mention hurt your feet. Cheap cars aren’t as reliable and require more maintenance. Cheap food can lead to poor health, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The cost of pouring your income into cheap products will ultimately mean you spend more money in the long run.
10. Quality gets you to your goals faster
Having goals is essential to achieving what you really want out of life. They give you a direction to move in, and they inspire your daily decisions.
But, it’s when you try to achieve too many at once that you can become frustrated with seeing little progress.
This is when it’s better to set just one or two major goals rather than targeting ten small objectives. If you try to achieve too many, you might give up on all of them.
Instead, prioritize your goals and start with the top two that will make the biggest impact. Focus all of your energy on them until you’ve achieved both.
Not only will you reach your goals faster, you’ll be inspired and motivated to crush the next two on your list.
11. Quality can help you develop new habits easier
Sometimes reaching a new goal requires developing a new habit.
Maybe you want to get in shape, so you have to learn to eat better. Or, you want to save more money, so you need to spend less.
Practicing new habits takes discipline and focus, which can both spread too thin if you’re trying to change too many things at once.
Just like with goals, pick one or two habits that you think will make the biggest difference. This will ultimately depend on your priorities.
If you feel you need to improve your health before anything else, then focus all of your energy on eating better and exercising. Or, perhaps your biggest objective is to get out of debt. Then you would maximize your efforts to start consistently following a budget.
Don’t get distracted and overwhelmed trying to make too many small adjustments to your lifestyle. Focus on one or two new powerful habits at a time until they’re second nature, then move on to the next.
12. Quality improves productivity
If you want to get more done, the key is in the quality of your time versus the quantity of your time.
When you have a task to complete, and you think you have all day, then you will likely take more time to complete it. You might get distracted with checking your email, browsing Facebook, eating a snack, etc. There is no sense of urgency.
However, if you know you must get it down within an hour, then the task becomes a priority. Therefore, you become more focused on getting it done. You put forth your best focused efforts in a short amount of time rather than stretching out distracted work for hours.
The Pomodoro time-management method uses this strategy to increase productivity. Setting a time limit of 25-minutes to get a task done results in achieving more in less time. These short intervals create a sense of urgency because it eliminates the mindset that you have all day to get your work done.
This leads to more focused, quality work because you’re not distracted by other, less important tasks.
13. Quality improves relationships
You may hear this a lot as it pertains to marriages and parenting. Relationships deepen and grow according to the quality of the time you spend together, not the quantity.
It’s very possible to spend time with your kids watching TV all day, but this does nothing to build relationship. Or, maybe you look up and realize your whole family has been sitting in the same room for an hour, but everyone’s looking at their phones.
Spending just 30 minutes with a spouse or friend talking about topics that are meaningful to both of you will strengthen the connection you have with each other.
14. Quality develops wisdom
What do you allow into your head? If you’re browsing social media in your down time, you may allow criticism, negativity, or comparison to influence your thinking.
What kind of books do you read? What type of movies and shows do you watch?
You get to choose what you open up your mind to. And, if you put junk in, you’ll get junk out. (Think: romance novels, celebrity news, and tabloid newspapers.)
However, if you read quality content that teaches and enlighten you, you will gain invaluable wisdom that you can apply to all areas of your life. Investing your time in just a few quality books can have a huge impact on your mindset and future.
This also applies to your social circle. Hanging out with people who are always growing in knowledge and learning new things will inspire you to do the same. But, if your friends seem to be stuck in a rut of complaining and criticizing, you’ll get stuck there too.
15. Quality increases focus
Being surrounded by too much clutter can be a huge distraction. You may have this nagging feeling that you really need to start organizing, tidying up, and getting rid of stuff. This often leads to a lack of focus and motivation.
Many people get stuck here, and never deal with it. Instead, they avoid their cluttered life by watching too much television, overeating, or becoming apathetic.
If you struggle with this, I encourage you to get a trash bag and start cleaning house. Separate those quality items you treasure from all of the low-quality stuff that you don’t.
You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment, and free up your mind to be focused on what’s really important to you.
16. Quality reduces stress
Choosing quality over quantity ultimately results in less stuff, activities, and people to think about.
Quality purchases are reliable, and you avoid the stress of dealing with something that doesn’t always work when you need it to.
A few quality activities and hobbies take up less time, less energy, and less money than having too many (which can leave you feeling overwhelmed).
And, one or two quality relationships can offer more support and encouragement than a large social circle that likes to gossip and compare. Who needs to worry about people talking behind their back?
More is not always better. More can often create stress and anxiety. Making just a few quality choices in every area of your life will limit these negative effects.
17. Quality improves your health
Eating quality meals with the nutrients your body needs will prevent you from overeating processed and sugary foods that are bad for your health.
You’ll also find that a few quality strength exercises will get you closer to your fitness goals than an hour of walking around your neighborhood. (Don’t get me wrong, walking is very good for you – but it’s not as effective as building muscle!)
Choosing quality will improve your health when you’re intentional with making better choices for your own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. You’ll have more energy, fewer health issues, and you’ll feel better overall.
18. Quality increases happiness
Some people are on a hamster wheel chasing happiness because they think having more is the answer to a higher quality of life. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are many rich people who indulge in buying expensive houses and cars and vacations and they still aren’t happy. Unfortunately, some even struggle with depression.
The key to a happy life is in the quality, intentional choices you make to surround yourself with people and things that are meaningful to you.
You might live in a small house and own one vehicle that’s 20 years old. But, if your relationships and your job are rich and fulfilling, you don’t feel the need to surround yourself with superficial things.
Buying new things may bring a temporary thrill, but it doesn’t last. You need those quality friendships and experiences to find true happiness.
19. Quality confirms self-worth
I have a dear friend who once told me about the time she realized she had been minimizing her self-worth.
She always dressed in second-hand clothes or cheap items. She never spent money on jewelry or makeup, and always got her hair cut at the $10 salon. She felt she was being frugal and responsible with her limited budget.
But, one day her friend took her shopping for a new outfit. They found a very fashionable one that she would never consider buying because of the price. But, when she tried it on and looked in the mirror, she burst into tears. It was then that she realized that how she had been presenting herself was a reflection of how unimportant she felt.
From that day forward, she decided to invest more in a few nice outfits and accessories. She went to a nice beauty salon and got a new hairstyle. She started wearing makeup and jewelry. Today, she looks much more confident in herself.
When you invest your money in quality items, you’re telling yourself – and others – that you’re worth it.
20. Quality stands out
Mass-produced items can afford a lower price tag due to what’s called economies of scale.This simply means that cost reductions can occur – resulting in lower prices – when production increases with efficient and low-cost manufacturing.
These purchases might be lighter on your wallet, but there is nothing unique about them.
Quality items are typically made in smaller quantities, with better materials. You won’t find them as easily as mass-produced products, which makes them more unique.
21. Quality is superior
In the end, choosing quality over quantity is just the better choice. Prioritizing value over volume results in so many benefits to all areas of life.
Just think about the quality of life you want to have, and the legacy you want to leave behind. When you consider how your choices today affect your future, you’ll appreciate how preferring quality creates a more fulfilling, meaningful, and quality life.
Why choosing quality over quantity can be a struggle
If surrounding yourself with quality choices can lead to a better life, then why don’t more people practice this principle?
I can speak from personal experience. I believe that being stuck in a quantity mentality is often a result of limiting beliefs or an unhealthy money mindset. Many times, it’s both.
Limiting beliefs are simply thoughts you’ve accepted as facts that limit your potential.
For example, maybe you believe that you don’t deserve quality friends, so you make up for that with a large but shallow social circle. In this way, you are limiting yourself based on something that isn’t true.
Or, perhaps you feel you don’t deserve a quality education because you’re not that smart. So, instead, you jump from job to job trying to find the right position that you enjoy. This is also an example of limiting yourself with a false belief.
An unhealthy money mindset works in a similar way. Maybe you’re deep in debt and you believe you’ll never get out. Or, you live paycheck to paycheck and don’t believe there’s a way to make more money.
Both of these negative mindsets can prevent you from making quality decisions in your life. They can lead to unhealthy relationships, impulsive spending, overeating, stress, and even depression.
To believe and trust that you are capable and deserving of having quality relationships, quality things, and quality experiences, you might need to adjust your beliefs.
To learn more about limiting beliefs, read my post here.
How to live a quality over quantity lifestyle
Once you trade your limiting beliefs for empowering ones, it’s time to be more intentional with your decisions. You might need to break a few bad habits before you learn how to adopt a quality over quantity lifestyle.
Here are a few actions steps to take, so you can start making more quality choices.
1. Raise your standards
This might be counter-intuitive for you if you’ve always struggled with valuing yourself. So, just start with one quality decision.
You could start with something as simple as buying a new pair of shoes or creating a healthier meal plan. Or, maybe you could withdraw from a few superficial friendships and spend more time investing in one that you really enjoy.
Make one quality decision at a time, and after you experience the benefits, it will start to become second nature.
2. Identify your values
Knowing what you truly value will be the guide you use for every decision you make.
Write down those relationships, activities, and belongings that are the most meaningful to you. Once you have them in writing, you can get clarity on what you can start removing from your life. Then, you can focus on making more quality decisions.
3. Declutter your life
Before you can fully embrace a quality over quantity lifestyle, it’s important that you get rid of those things that are distracting you from moving forward.
This can apply to your home, your relationships, your schedule, your mind, and even your past.
Make the effort to eliminate any excess baggage that is not serving you well. This might look like having a yard sale, or withdrawing from certain activities, or seeing a therapist.
This decluttering will free up your thoughts to focus more on what you value. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find it’s easier to not spend your time or money on superficial things.
4. Ask the right questions
One way to be intentional with making quality decisions is to first ask yourself two questions:
- Will this decision result in something that lasts?
- Is this decision essential?
- Does this decision better my life in a purposeful way?
Before you engage in that relationship or purchase that item, pause for a moment and consider your answers.
Sometimes a little mindfulness is all you need to avoid making poor decisions.
5. Practice gratitude
Developing a quality over quantity mindset can start with practicing gratitude. I use the word “practice” because this is not always a habit that comes naturally. We can get caught up in what we don’t have, rather than appreciating what we do have.
Get a gratitude journal and write down one or two things every day that you’re grateful for. This exercise will really help you clarify what you value, and differentiate between what is meaningful and what is superficial.
6. Downsize your life
As humans, we tend to fill up the space or time we have. We can fill it up with too much stuff, unnecessary words, or a busy social life.
One way to start choosing quality over quantity is by downsizing your life. Perhaps move into a smaller home that requires you to be very selective about your possessions. Or, limit your circle of friends so you can focus on spending more quality time with them. You could even downsize your job by finding a position that pays more per hour, so you don’t have to work as much.
These life changes might seem extreme, but they can be a very effective strategy to filtering out the extra baggage that is only weighing you down.
7. Consider becoming a minimalist or valuist
If you’re ready to fully commit to a quality over quantity lifestyle, consider becoming a minimalist or valuist.
A minimalist is a person who resists consumerism and clutter by limiting what they own. Their decisions are motivated by what is necessary, which isn’t always the cheapest option.
A valuist who intentionally spends their income on what they value. This might mean a wealthy valuist will spend thousands of dollars a year on traveling. Or, another valuist with a modest income will choose to spend their money on high-quality art materials.
For both, it’s not about the price. It’s about being intentional with what they spend their money on. For the minimalist, the degree of quality lies in its necessity and usefulness. For the valuist, the quality is seen in the level of fulfillment it can provide.
Both lifestyles, in different ways, choose quality over quantity.
What happens if I choose quantity over quality?
Excessively making decisions based on quantity often results in a lack of contentment. When you’re surrounded by too many choices, you can lose your sense of value and gratitude.
Always wanting more is also a sign of being dissatisfied with what you already have. Because of this lack of fulfillment, you’re always looking for another opportunity to feel some instant gratification.
If you struggle with impulsive spending or jumping from one unhealthy relationship to another, you’re probably trying to find happiness in the wrong places.
You can learn to break these destructive cycles by identifying what it is you truly want out of life. Then, create a few quality goals based on these things and focus your efforts on them.
When you continue to fill your life with people or things that don’t get you closer to what you truly want, you’ll never discover how little you actually need to be happy.
The quality of your life 5 or 10 years from now depends on the type of decisions you make today. If you’re not intentional about aligning your spending, relationships, and experiences with your values, you will always be chasing a better life.
Take some time to clarify what brings you joy and fulfillment and purpose. I imagine a few things on your list would be your family, your faith, and your good friends. These are what make life meaningful.
If you don’t think you’re investing enough time in these areas, maybe it’s time to do a little decluttering. Look around and start getting rid of things that aren’t contributing to your well-being.
You might find that you’re carrying around more stuff than you need to. That you’ve been looking for happiness in the wrong places.
If so, commit to making a change. You don’t have to do everything at once – just take one step in the right direction. Pretty soon, you’ll start to feel like you have more space for what’s important.
And, you’ll discover that happiness isn’t found in how much you have, but how much you treasure what you have.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- Money Values: How To Align Your Priorities With Your Spending
- 9 Powerful Benefits of Setting Financial Goals
- 5 Principles To Change Your Life After 50
- The Mexican Fisherman: 5 Lessons To Live By
- How To Create An Abundant Mindset
- 5 Ways Limiting Beliefs Harm Us
- 5 Money Lessons I Wish My Parents Had Taught Me
- 4 Surprising Obstacles To Achieving Goals (& How To Overcome Them)
- How To Meet Your Future Self and Change Your Life
- A Willingness To Change: Here’s the How & the Why
I hope you enjoyed reading