You are not rich enough to buy cheap shoes.

In a recent renovation, we bought a rug from a man who taught a lesson in value. It was not just about rugs.

He described growing up in Iran as an apprentice farmer. It was not long before he knew he needed some work boots. The problem is he had little money.

His plan was to buy the cheapest shoes he could find. That’s when his supervisor stepped in. He told him,

“You are not rich enough to buy cheap shoes.”

He went on to explain that if you buy cheap shoes, they will wear out quickly and you will need to buy new ones. You will buy, replace, buy, and replace several times before an expensive pair of boots would wear out.

It was difficult but the apprentice took his advice. He looked at his money and used two weeks worth of wages (to him a king’s ransom) and bought pair of boots.

Ten years later, he still wore those boots.

The proverb illuminates a great principle. When something is important to your future, spend extravagantly on it.

If your health is valuable, spend the money on preventive medicine. If you prevent cancer with a $5000 test, you save the hundreds of thousands of dollars (along with the suffering) on the treatment. (For some reason, insurance companies are blind to this principle.)

If education and training will take you far, get as much as you can, even though it costs you time. The time invested in the training will pay a greater dividend than you can imagine.

This is true about all resources such as time, money, and effort. If it has long-term value, don’t cheap it out. Spend the time. Spend the money. Break the sweat.

After all, you are not rich enough to afford a cheap pair of boots.