An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

Do You Spend Money on Quality or Quantity? The $120 Pen Story

benchmade series 1100 pen

I’ll be the first one to admit that I have a fascination for pens. For as long as i can remember I have always been fascinated with them. I love dissecting them to see how they work, and I love holding a quality writing instrument in my hand, and feeling the superior craftsmanship. The only problem with this obsession is that pens can become very expensive, very quickly.

If you move past your big box store pen types, you automatically get into the mid 3-figures for a pen. Yikes! Yes, that means that the majority of quality writing instruments cost upwards of $100, and some a whole lot more.

I want to tell you a quick story about my decision to buy a $120 pen, and let you decide if it was smart or not.

The Benchmade 1100 Pen Series

From my pen research, this is one of the coolest pens that I have ever seen. Not only is it extremely awesome to look at, but it comes with a space pen refillable ink cartridge, it’s ergonomic handle reduces writing pressure, and it is made from hard anodized aluminum so it can be a self-defense weapon if need be. All in all, this is a rock star pen.

With that said, the pen does cost $120. If you visit the Benchmade site however, you will actually find that this is one of the cheapest models that they have for sale there. It’s a bargain right?

Not so fast.

What could possibly be a good reason to buy a pen that cost $120?

When I asked myself this question, and my wife asked me this question, we began to have a revealing conversation about quality versus quantity. This Benchmade pen comes with a lifetime warranty. So theoretically, it is the only pen I would ever have to buy for the rest of my life. Surely, that is worth $120.

This pen also uses Fisher space pens refills. This means that I will always have pen refills readily available, and this pen can write anywhere…even upside down and under water!

The pen is also virtually indestructible. It’s made of solid aluminum, and could literally be used in self-defense with the crazy point on the end of the pen.

That is my PRO list.

Here is the CON list, happily provided for me by my wife.

IT’S $120 FOR A PEN!

Really that is the only negative thought that we need to list, but I want to dig a little bit deeper. If I could pay $120 for one writing instrument and never have to spend money on pens again in my life, would it be worth it?

The short answer is not at all. Even with my obsession for pens, I would estimate that I spend roughly $5 on pens throughout the year. All of the pens that I like are ones that are left behind by customers in our office, or ones that I find randomly on the widewalk or in shopping carts. No, I’m not a cleptomaniac, pens are just something that seem to dissappear very easily. Which brings me to the deciding factor in this decision.

Yes, my $120 pen would theoretically last me for the rest of my life, but it won’t be worth anything if I lose it. One careless drop into my bag, and it’s on the floor and making someone else’s day. I am out $120 and my pride has taken a big hit.

So in theory, yes, a $120 pen that would last me for the rest of my ife would be a great value. However in reality, the risk of losing that pen vastly overshadows the benefit it provides.

Bottom line: I did not buy the pen, and I will continue salivating over it for years to come. Maybe someone else will leave theirs in a shopping cart one day…

Let the debate of quality versus quantity rage on!

 

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9 Comments

  1. Yes, if you know yourself good enough that you cannot hold on to an item that you are fascinated with that much, I think you took the right decision. However, think further. If you apply this thinking to everything in your live, you end up only with things (and people??) that are worthless to you and that you do not care to lose. Of course it is not like that. But wouldn’t $120 be a nice test to bring something into your life that you are really fascinated with and that you give all your attention to hold on to? I think you should go a get that pen.
    Van Beek @ Stock Trend Investing recently posted..Top 7 of How Not To Do the Stock MarketMy Profile

    • @Van Beek – Thanks for the perspective. I view this pen however, as more of an all or nothing object. If I lose it, it is gone forever. If I lose money in the stock market, or my business sales go down, I can recover from that. I also think it is good to be protective of the things that you have and safeguard them against loss (that is why I buy insurance) but I know myself too well, and I know how bad I would beat myself up if I were to lose something this expensive. Thanks for the great insight though!
      MoneyforCollegePro recently posted..76 Potential Vassar College Students Accepted then DeniedMy Profile

  2. My wife bought a $15 pen a few years ago which I kind of gave her grief for, until I actually started using it and realized how much I loved it. She got me one of my own and it’s the only pen I use at work now, I get mad when I run out of ink and can’t use it.
    Money Beagle recently posted..No Thanks, Magazine Subscription Service Company!My Profile

  3. $120 for a pen! I could go down to staples and probably get about 800 standard ballpoint pens for that price haha. Although, I suppose if you write often enough it could be worth it.
    Sean Rogers recently posted..Penny auction sitesMy Profile

    • @Sean — It’s true. But would your ballpoint pen be able to write upside down and in water?

  4. Nice story and fair arguments for and against. $120 is an obscene amount for a pen, but if you really love it then get it. Don’t just stick it on visa, or pay cash out of pocket, find a way to make the money on the side and you won’t feel the slightest bit guilty about rewarding yourself for the work. Do it occasionally and for the things you really love and want, without reward all the hard work really doesn’t feel like it is worth it!
    Shaun @ Money Cactus recently posted..The 10 Most Prestigious Credit Cards In The WorldMy Profile

    • @Shaun — That is a really good point. If you find something that truly would be a reward for you, then it is great to work hard to reach that goal and reward yourself along the way. As a PF blogger, I know I often find myself caught up in the daily mundane savings tips and it if easy to forget the long term goals. Rewards along the way make the journey much more enjoyable!

    • @Shaun — By the way, I really like your cactus logo. Did you design this yourself or did you have someone else do it for you?

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