My wife wanted to string globe lights around our patio for ambiance for a party we were hosting over the weekend. We found several lights were burnt out, and needed to be replaced. I found replacement bulbs at Walmart, two bulbs for $3. I needed four bulbs, for a total replacement cost of $6. Nearby I found a brand new strand of lights for $10. I gently placed the new strand of lights in my cart and headed for the self-checkout lane.

Why would I pay $10 for an entire new strand when I could replace my burnt out bulbs for $6?

Compare Options / Value

The answer is simple; Buying an entire new strand was a better value. Here’s the comparison:

The brand new strand of lights contains 20 new bulbs. Twenty new bulbs would be 10 packages of 2. Each package costs $3, meaning I would have to spend $30 to get 20 new bulbs.


I could just buy a new strand of lights and get 20 new bulbs for $10.

More lights will eventually burn out (or break) and need replacement. It would be nice to have extra on hand, for a cheaper price than buying replacement bulb packages. I’ll use the new strand, but keep the one with burned out bulbs for extras.

Repair Not Always Cheaper

Other items that sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a new/different product than pay for replacement parts:

  • Old cars : There comes a time when a car is so old and parts are hard enough to find that fixing a major problem may actually be more expensive than buying a different used car.
  • Computers : Computers become obsolete fairly quickly but can operate for a long time. If a major failure occurs (hard drive, processor), it may be cheaper AND you might just get an upgrade to buy a new one.
  • Appliances : Older appliances break down over and over again, resulting in repair bills exceeding the cost of a new appliance. At some point just bite the bullet and get a new one.

I talk a lot about being wise with your money. Being wise with your money means knowing when to repair something, and when it’s more cost effective to just buy a new one.

How about you, EOD Nation have you run into a similar situation recently?

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