As we have established, I am a bit frugal. I like to buy just about everything I can for the least amount of money possible or better yet, used! Cars aren't the only thing that lose their value quickly! However, I have a few exceptions to my rules, a few items that I believe buying used or cheap isn't the best choice. Examples: car seats (no used ones for safety issues unless you know the owner well and know it hasn't been in an accident, after buying a few cheap-o's with our first kid and then going for a Britax with our second we learned the "you get what you pay for"), shoes (because shoes mold to the owners feet if it is a "heavy use" shoe we like to go for new ones) and backpacks which is what this post will focus on.
Let's be honest: kids are rough on their backpacks, they drag them, throw them and in general are rough with them. A typical Wal-Mart backpack runs $10 - $30. I doubt many of the $10 ones make it through the year, a few may but will surely show the wear of tear of 180 school days. The $30 ones may make it a a year or two but they may not, if I am shelling out thirty beans I want to know that it is going to last, a guarantee even. So, when my kids joyfully run through the doors of their school August 19th they will have a L.L. Bean backpack strapped to their backs.
A backpack with a 100% satisfaction guarantee! And a company that willingly stands behind it. We bought our oldest one 3 years ago and if her little sister hadn't taken scissors to it we would be using it again this year. Since we were so pleased we decided that we would replace it with a larger size.
L.L. Bean Deluxe Book Pack. It is recommended for ages 10+, but only a couple inches bigger than the one recommended for 7 years +. In the shocker of the century, our girly girl selected red, not pink. After making an audio recording ( I may need evidence of this conversation later) of her stating that she indeed wanted red, and me stating that she would need to use this for several years I placed the item in my cart, with 20% off it came in at $31, I added the monogram for $6 too. Some of the great features of this pack are: Ergonomically correct straps, 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material and great water resistance for those rainy mornings. LL Bean offers tons of color choices too to fit every personality.
Our youngest is headin' off to preschool this year so we had to get her set up as well. We opted to get her a smaller option, the Junior Original Book Pack, which is recommended for 4+. She decided that she wanted pink, which was shocking too. $18+ $6 for monograming
L.L. Bean backpacks have a notorious reputation for being strong and tough, lasting for years. L.L. Bean's backs it by stating that they will replace it if at anytime you aren't 100% satisfied. With a good scrubbing or trip to the wash machine every now and then they will even look great for many years.
Here is the price breakdown:
Backpack #1 - $31.96 + $6 for mono = $38.96
We plan to use this for at least 4 years $39/4 = $9.75 per year, but it is likely to last closer to 7 or 8 ($4.50 per year)
Backpack #2 - $18 + $6 = $24
$24 / 4 years = $6 per year
You may get lucky with the $10 backpack lasting more than a year but I would rather pay the same price for a product that I know will last the 4 years I plan for it to or I'll get a replacement. All L.L. Bean backpacks are 20% off through 9/2 and 2% cash back through ebates.com.
LL Bean has a great selection too, messenger bags, bookbags with wheels, small ones, big ones. Even coordinating lunch boxes.
Here is the legal stuff that would be said really fast if this were a commercial: All images are property of L.L. Bean.
The great folks at L.L. Bean have no clue who I am, have not paid me or otherwise compensated me for my "endorsement" of their fine products.